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"Fighting for Life is a book about contest, the agonia of the Greek arena, and its roots in male life, especially academia. Ong describes this work as an 'excavation' which was prompted by his previous explorations of such areas as the characteristics of oral and literate cultures, Peter Ramus and his 16th-century intellectual milieu, and the early dominance and more recent decline of classical rhetoric in education. In Fighting for Life, he weaves the results of a year's study of agonistic structures running through the biological, social, and noetic worlds. Describing his text as an 'essay in noobiology,' the biological roots of human consciousness, Ong claims that 'contest has been a major factor in organic evolution and it turns out to have been a major, and seemingly essential, factor in intellectual development.' . . . The work is a valuable synthesis of a wide body of research and theory."-Rhetoric Society Quarterly
This collection is about writing contests, a vibrant rhetorical practice traceable to rhetorical performances in ancient Greece. In their discussion of contests’ cultural work, the scholars who have contributed to this collection uncover important questions about our practices. For example, educational contests as epideictic rhetoric do indeed celebrate writing, but does this celebration merely relieve educators of the responsibility of finding ways for all writers to succeed? Contests designed to reward single winners and singly-authored works admirably celebrate hard work, but do they over-emphasize exceptional individual achievement over shared goals and communal reward for success? Taking a cultural-rhetorical approach to contests, each chapter demonstrates the cultural work the contests accomplish. The essays in Part I examine contests and riddles in classical Greek and Roman periods, educational contests in eighteenth-century Scotland, and the Lyceum movement in the Antebellum American South. The next set of essays discusses how contests leverage competition and reward in educational settings: medieval universities, American turn-of-the-century women’s colleges, twenty-first century scholarship-essay contests, and writing contests for speakers of other languages at the University of Portsmouth. The last set of essays examines popular contests, including poetry contests in Youth Spoken Word, popular American contests designed by marketers, and twenty-first century podcasting competitions. This collection, then, takes up contests as a cultural marker of our values, assumptions, and relationships to writing, contests, and competition.
Walter Ong pioneered the study of how orality and literacy mutually enrich each other in the evolution of human consciousness, arguing that verbal communication moves from orality to literacy and on to what he has termed the "secondary orality" of radio and television. The original essays in this volume explore the implications of Ong's work across the diverse fields of cultural history, literary theory, theology, philosophy, and anthropology. These scholars maintain that Ong's view of orality not only changes our readings of ancient and medieval texts, but that it also changes our understanding of the differing epistemologies of oral and literate cultures and of the coexistence of the oral and literate within a given culture.
Probes the interrelationship of violence and space in 10 contemporary American novels. James R. Giles examines 10 novels for the unique ways they explore violence and space as interrelated phenomena. These texts are Russell Banks’s Affliction, Cormac McCarthy’s Outer Dark and Child of God, Lewis Nordan’s Wolf Whistle, Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Don DeLillo’s End Zone, Denis Johnson’s Angels, Sherman Alexie’s Indian Killer, Robert Stone’s Dog Soldiers, and Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. These stories take place in settings as diverse as small towns, college campuses, suburbs, the brokerage houses and luxury apartments of Wall Street, football stadiums, Appalachian hills, and America’s no-man’s-land of Greyhound bus stations and highways. Violence, Giles finds, is mythological and ritual in many of these novels, whereas it is treated as systemic and naturalistic in others. Giles locates each of the novels he studies on a continuum from the mythological to the naturalistic and argues that they represent a fourthspace at the margins of physical, social, and psychological space, a territory at the cultural borders of the mainstream. These textual spaces are so saturated with violence that they suggest little or no potential for change and affirmation and are as degraded as the physical, social, and mental spaces out of which they emerge.A concluding chapter extends the focus of The Spaces of Violence to texts by Jane Smiley, Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat, and Chuck Palahniuk, who treat the destructive effects of violence on family structures.
With Writing without Teachers (OUP 1975) and Writing with Power (OUP 1995) Peter Elbow revolutionized the teaching of writing. His process method--and its now commonplace "free writing" techniques--liberated generations of students and teachers from the emphasis on formal principles of grammar that had dominated composition pedagogy. This new collection of essays brings together the best of Elbow's writing since the publication of Embracing Contraries in 1987. The volume includes sections on voice, the experience of writing, teaching, and evaluation. Implicit throughout is Elbow's commitment to humanizing the profession, and his continued emphasis on the importance of binary thinking and nonadversarial argument. The result is a compendium of a master teacher's thought on the relation between good pedagogy and good writing; it is sure to be of interest to all professional teachers of writing, and will be a valuable book for use in composition courses at all levels.
The Family Communication Sourcebook provides an in-depth examination of contemporary theory and research in the area of family communication. This unique collection offers a state-of-the art approach by pairing conceptual pieces with original studies in the same general topic area. Editors Lynn H. Turner and Richard West present readers with a thoughtful and thorough exploration of the critical issues facing family communication researchers today.
Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand spent nearly four years (in cloth and paper) on The New York Times Best Seller list and has sold over a million and a half copies. Clearly, Tannen's insights into how and why women and men so often misunderstand each other when they talk has touched a nerve. For years a highly respected scholar in the field of linguistics, she has now become widely known for her work on how conversational style differences associated with gender affect relationships. Her life work has demonstrated how close and intelligent analysis of conversation can reveal the extraordinary complexities of social relationships--including relationships between men and women. Now, in Gender and Discourse, Tannen has gathered together six of her scholarly essays, including her newest and previously unpublished work in which language and gender are examined through the lens of "sex-class-linked" patterns, rather than "sex-linked" patterns. These essays provide a theoretical backdrop to her best-selling books--and an informative introduction which discusses her field of linguistics, describes the research methods she typically uses, and addresses the controversies surrounding her field as well as some misunderstandings of her work. (She argues, for instance, that her cultural approach to gender differences does not deny that men dominate women in society, nor does it ascribe gender differences to women's "essential nature.") The essays themselves cover a wide range of topics. In one, she analyzes a number of conversational strategies--such as interruption, topic raising, indirection, and silence--and shows that, contrary to much work on language and gender, no strategy exclusively expresses dominance or submissiveness in conversation--interruption (or overlap) can be supportive, silence and indirection can be used to control. It is the interactional context, the participants' individual styles, and the interaction of their styles, Tannen shows, that result in the balance of power. She also provides a fascinating analysis of four groups of males and females (second-, sixth-, and tenth-grade students, and twenty-five year olds) conversing with their best friends, and she includes an early article co-authored with Robin Lakoff that presents a theory of conversational strategy, illustrated by analysis of dialogue in Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage. Readers interested in the theoretical framework behind Tannen's work will find this volume fascinating. It will be sure to interest anyone curious about the crucial yet often unnoticed role that language and gender play in our daily lives.
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