David J. Bartholomae is an American scholar in composition studies. Bartholomae has served on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association and as president of the Conference on College Composition and Communication and president of the Association of Departments of English. David Blaton originally published this piece.

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Welcome to Mere Rhetoric, the podcast for beginners and insiders about the ideas, people and movements who have shaped rhetorical history. Welcome to MR the podcast for beginngs and insiders aboutt he ideas, people and movements who have shaped rhetorical history. For many of them, this was the first time they had been asked to write a rhetorical analysis and this assignment always makes me nervous. I give them sample papers. We practice writing a rhetorical analysis together.

We discuss in depth examples and abuses of ethos, logos, and pathos, but many of them struggle tremendously. I know I could write a 3-page rhetorical analysis in 20 minutes; why do my students take hours and still fail the project?

Writing in the early 80s, Bartholomea, like a score of composition scholars like Mina Shanessey and Linda Flower, were interested in the needs of a population sometimes called Basic Writers. Not having been exposed to reading or writing much of it, they must fall back on what they think academic writing is supposed to sound like.

It impacts big-picture ideas, too. And every time the task changes, students can find themselves flummoxed. A student can write smooth, error-free prose in a form that makes sense to them, but asked to assume new authority, and they panic in the new register. And who can blame them? Imagine being asked to give a public speech in Japanese without knowing the language.

Certainly I saw that in the rhetorical analyses I read. The background research on the author was good, relevant and cited appropriately.

The articles were summarized fairly, with occasional quotes from the text. But when I ask them to apply their knowledge of rhetorical terms to argue how the articles were working and they fall to pieces, just as Bartholomae says.

But students who are outside of the academic discourses they write also recognize that it is not fair that they have to be outsiders. Being put into a position of insider to which they beleive they have no claim, some students doggedly imitate while others also subtly criticize. What is the solution then? This can seem quixotic, especially when a grade is on the line. This can mean anything from pointing out the expectations of MLA citation to providing templates of academic discourse.

Another strategy is to look broadly at where students are all falling short together--is everyone falling back on summary instead of moving into analysis? Is everyone asserting the opinion of the audience without reasoned conjecture?

Seeing where students depart, like a big-picture Error and Expectation, can give insight into where students feel uncomfortable acting as insiders. Batholomae, however, wants to to consider they way they write and what they want to write about. A podcast for beginners and insiders about the people, ideas and movements that have defined the history of rhetoric.

Login Email Password Having trouble logging in? Toggle navigation. Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode. Inventing the University--David Bartholomae. Nov 14, [intro] Welcome to MR the podcast for beginngs and insiders aboutt he ideas, people and movements who have shaped rhetorical history.

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Inventing the University

Here's a link to his faculty "about" page from the University of Pittsburgh. Based on the number of times that I've been assigned readings by Bartholomae, I think it's safe to assume he's a well respected, big deal in composition circles. This post is about his most cited work, "Inventing the University. He begins with this quote by Foucault.


David Bartholomae

Writing on the Margins pp Cite as. Every time a student sits down to write for us, he has to invent the university for the occasion — invent the university, that is, or a branch of it, like history or anthropology or economics or English. The student has to learn to speak our language, to speak as we do, to try on the peculiar ways of knowing, selecting, evaluating, reporting, concluding, and arguing that define the discourse of our community. Or perhaps I should say the various discourses of our community, since it is in the nature of a liberal arts education that a student, after the first year or two, must learn to try on a variety of voices and interpretive schemes — to write, for example, as a literary critic one day and as an experimental psychologist the next; to work within fields where the rules governing the presentation of examples or the development of an argument are both distinct and, even to a professional mysterious. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content.

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