9. Restyling Academic Discourse w/ Laura Lisabeth

In our ninth episode, we talk to Dr. Laura Lisabeth about developing critical pedagogy in a digital space, using social media for academic writing, getting mad at standardized English, and empowering our students to utilize different discourses.

NB: this episode was recorded on April 28. In the first few minutes, we discuss some pandemic-related issues, including hospitals and deaths. If you want to skip that part, jump to 6:12.

(Finally, if you’re wondering what happens around the 54-minute mark, take a look at the screenshot above.)

Laura is a Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University where she teaches undergraduate academic writing and professional writing, and a graduate writing seminar. Her research is a historiography that focuses on Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. She looks at the ways the book has participated in and often driven a culture of pundit-sourced White linguistic style in education, constructed through twentieth century literacies that still resonate in the teaching of writing, including the detached parodic style of E.B. White and the early New Yorker, the universalizing narratives of The Book-of-the-Month Club, the monocultural, monolinguistic prescriptions of the National Defense Education Act and the commercial interests of the educational publishing industry. These historically entrenched dispositions toward literacy fail to recognize the range of cultural knowledges and languages that arrive in our classrooms, keeping Strunk and White style a perennial text on syllabi. Her most recent publication can be found in the Anti-Oppressive Composition issue of Radical Teacher (fall 2019): “White Fears of Dispossession: Dreyer’s English, The Elements of Style, and the Racial Mapping of English Discourse.”

You can follow Laura on Twitter @lauralhny.

Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“These aspirational, middlebrow pieces of 20th literacy [like The Elements of Style] that are still with us are very much connected to systemic racism, the white supremacy of academic language and academic discourse.” @lauralhny

“I want students to be a little bit mad…I try to encourage students to think about injustice and inequity and how language is a part of that.” @lauralhny

“Some of the most successful classes that I’ve had are the ones where I was able to have the Instagram essay be the final assignment…Social media is great academic writing.” @lauralhny

“The problem is that it’s trying to mimic a real classroom, and it’s not. How can we do this better? How can we take advantage of the affordances [of online learning]?” @lauralhny

Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

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