Wednesday, January 28, 2009

55.0 On Writing...

What Editors Want

A journal editor reveals the most common mistakes academics make when they submit manuscripts


The pressure to publish is a fact of daily life in academe, not only in research universities but increasingly in teaching-focused colleges. Professors are expected to demonstrate that they are active researchers and that their work has been vetted by peers and disseminated in reputable scholarly forums.

That increase in expectations has led to an increase in the competition to publish in a finite number of available forums. While research quality is the single most important factor in determining whether your article will be published, a number of procedural mistakes can help tip the balance against you...

Friday, January 23, 2009

56.0 On Journals

Reposted from a comment I left on Blogos...

s an interdiscipline, one of the things we have suffered from, of late, is the effects not only of disciplinary centralization (if it's not NCA/NCTE, it doesn't count), but of a clash of cultures in terms of how new ideas and new journals get disseminated/created.

When a critical mass of scholars in an emerging field of communication studies manifests, they organize and they strongarm NCA into creating venues for their work. Historically, we can see this I think in both CSMC and C/CS -- they seek legitimation through the major association and the publication venues created therein. It is a very, very slow process, but maybe a strong one.

The second tier, in Communication, are the journals that function as microcosms of the NCA journals -- the regional journals that publish a heterogeneous mix of the types of articles that are more efficiently segregated in the NCA journals.

Composition, on the other hand, has worked with an outsider ethos from the beginning. I just have to say it: when rhetoricians in Comp wanted to legitimize their work, they created venues, and the venues they created were maybe weird, maybe off-kilter, and maybe took a while to find themselves, but they did stuff waaaaay ahead of its time. I am thinking here of Rhetoric Review, JAC, Pre/Text, and more.

The second tier in Composition, are the journals published out of the back pockets of schools committed to the project (who sometimes support the editors with a grad assistant) and senior faculty with vision. I would not want to be an assistant professor today in a field that never had Theresa Enos, Lyn Worsham and Victor Vitanza in the 1980s -- or the people who continue those kinds of projects today. I am thinking, here, of journals like Writing on the Edge and even the next generation of this kind of project, Parlor Press.

When we talk about merging rhetorical cultures in Comp and Comm, this is a big difference -- and one I have no idea how to talk about much beyond what I have said here. But I think that working through this difference could go a long way to creating rhetorical research venues that match in selectivity, in quality, and in prestige in tenure meetings the NCA/NCTE forums.

Below, a list I compiled for the ARS a few years ago of journals that, at one point since 2000, published at least one article germane to rhetorical studies. (Some have gone online -- economic issues, I think.) What do you take away from this list?

Journals with Rhetoric in the Title:
Advances in the History of Rhetoric (American Society for the History of Rhetoric)/ Philosophy & Rhetoric (Pennsylvania State University Press)/ Rhetorica (University of California Press for the International Society for the History of Rhetoric)/ Rhetoric and Public Affairs (Michigan State University Press)/ Rhetoric Review (Taylor & Francis)/ Rhetoric Society Quarterly (Rhetoric Society of America)

Publications of the National Communication Association
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (National Communication Association)/ Quarterly Journal of Speech (National Communication Association)

Regional Journals in Communication Studies
Communication Studies (formerly Central States Speech Journal; Central States Communication Association)/ Southern Journal of Communication (Southern States Communication Association)/ Western Journal of Communication (Western States Communication Association)

Publications of the NCTE
College Composition & Communication (NCTE)/ College English (NCTE)/ Teaching English in the Two-Year College (NCTE)

Other Publications Germane to Rhetorical Studies
Argumentation (Springer Netherlands)/ Argumentation & Advocacy (American Forensics Association)/ ”Composition Forum (Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition)/ Composition Studies (Texas Christian University)/ Computers & Composition/ Informal Logic/ Issues in Writing/ International Journal of Listening (Journal of the International Listening Association; International Listening Association)/ JAC (Journal of Advanced Composition; Independent)/ Journal of Business & Technical Communication (Sage)/ Journal of Teaching Writing/ Journal of Technical Writing & Communication/ Popular Communication (Erlbaum)/ Speaker & Gavel (Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha National Honorary Forensic Society)/ Technical Communication Quarterly (Technical Writing Teacher; Association of Teachers of Technical Writing /LEA)/ Works and Days/ Writing Center Journal (International Writing Centers Association)/ Writing Program Administration/ Women’s Studies in Communication/ Written Communication (Sage)/ Writing on the Edge

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why I Have few Suggestions on What to Read on Richards in 20th Century Theory

I got nothing. I just finished writing a section of the MS in which I describe Richards as the 8-track tape of the rhetorical tradition: from today's iPod, there is no way to reverse-engineer your way back to the 8-track (Richards). The only way to understand the 8-track is to start from a different starting point, treat it as a response to an exigence that no longer exists, and work forward.

Richards was answering questions we don't ask anymore -- as if a rhetoric could be built by understanding the relationship between mind, language, and world.

Rhetoric since 1945 at least, in Comm and since 1960 in Comp has been about inventing the narrative of the classical tradition in the 20th century, which has never really been about mind/language/world. We have been busy pretending that Bromley Smith and Fred Newton Scott knew what the classical tradition meant for criticism and pedagogy -- inventing that narrative so that we can claim a narrative from the births of the fields...

...when in fact what we are erasing are the messy bits, like Richards and his awkward, indirect American inheritors, the General Semanticists. Composition in 1950 WAS about language, mind and world, every time a teacher yelled that "the map was not the territory." And while not as pronounced in Comm, it appeared in the journals as was reflected in some pedagogy.

We don't ask those questions anymore, so there is little that Richards can speak to, directly.

That said,
1. If you're using Lakoff, excerpt the bits about the failures of the interactionist theory of metaphor in "More than Cool Reason" and pair them with the bits in Philosophy of Rhetoric. Does Lakoff's critique of the Richards/Black model hold, or... is Lakoff impoverished against the Interactionist model?

2. The most interesting thing I've read is "Coleridge on Imagination," in which Richards rethinks his early, naive psychology thru the "Subject-Object Coalescence" in Coleridge -- the claim that the separation of subject/object in philosophical discourse is a fiction of convenience, because the mind fashions the object in the process of thinking about it and the object participates in the processes of self-constitution of the mind. Richards works thru defs of "nature" with this in mind -- a literary Anglo complement to Adorno/Hork on the domination of nature. Apparently once taught often in lit crit grad classes, now forgot.