A Call for Prototypes that Illustrate Praxis

E-publishing forums such as The PreText Conversations: REINVW and Kairos' CoverWeb can be seen as one way to address the "charges against research" that Eric J. Ziolkowski catalogues in "Slouching Toward Scholardom: The Endangered American College" (Sept. 1996 issue of College English) -- most specifically, the charge that there's no connection between research and teaching. However, I don't agree with Ziolkowski's claim that Boyer's call for a redefined and broadened sense of scholarship -- discovery, integration, application, and teaching -- "becomes a virtual recipe for scholarly mediocrity and dilettantism" (583), "[r]eflecting a kind of academicization of the 'I'm-okay-you're-okay' ethic" (584). The only kind of scholarship that Ziolokowski apparently values is what Boyer calls the "scholarship of discovery," research that is "work expected to make original contributions and additions to the body of knowledge" (Lacey 92, qtd. in Gebhardt 11) -- a narrow view of scholarship seemingly based on the following argument: if what makes scholarship valuable is its rarity, then expanding "what counts" as scholarship will cheapen it. But what of another economic principle -- that of demand? After all, Richard Gebhardt points out that "many in the professorate ... chafe at the present restrictions about acceptable research. (And governing boards, politicians, and the public certainly favor more concern with teaching.)" (13).

What I'm suggesting here is more in keeping with aspects of the June 1995 "what counts?" discussion thread on RHETNT-L, especially Eric Crump's arguing that "[o]n-line work -- everything from home pages to list conversations to MOO conversations -- is legitimately and defensively part of [our] scholarship" (9 June 1995). Better than print-bound publishing or electronic journals that are determined by traditional paper publishing constraints -- constraints that include the valuation of individual recognition and the ownership of knowledge -- such forums, since they break out of these constraints, may encourage a better "goodness of fit" between scholarship and teaching because they do open up greater possibilities. In them, our professional practice may have a better chance of reflecting and enacting our pedagogical theory, thus illustrating praxis.

Opening | Prototypes Exploring Possibilities | Prototypes Illustrating Writing Process |
Prototypes Illustrating Social Construction | Prototypes Illustrating Praxis | Conclusion (?) | Works Cited


Last updated: February 1997