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National Healing
Claude Hurlbert
6x9, 303 pages

Published: 2012

ISBN 978-0-87421-835-0
paper $31.95

ISBN 978-0-87421-836-7
e-book $25.95

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Claude Hurlbert
is professor of composition theory and practice at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His teaching credits include regular courses in rhetorical traditions, theories of composition, the teaching of writing, theories of literacy, reading theory, and language in social context. Among Professor Hurlbert's books are Letters for the Living: Teaching Writing in a Violent Age (coauthored with Michael Blitz); Composition and Resistance (coedited with Michael Blitz); and Beyond English, Inc.: Curricular Reform for a Global Economy (coedited with David Downing and Paula Mathieu).

National Healing

Race, State, and the Teaching of Composition

Claude Hurlbert

In National Healing, author Claude Hurlbert persuasively relates nationalism to institutional racism and contends that these are both symptoms of a national ill health afflicting American higher education and found even in the field of writing studies. Teachers and scholars, even in progressive fields like composition, are unwittingly at odds with their own most liberatory purposes, he says, and he advocates consciously broadening our understanding of rhetoric and writing instruction to include rhetorical traditions of non-Western cultures.

Composition's intransigent Eurocentrism tends to support a teacher-centered, authoritarian, and hierarchical pedagogy. National Healing examines how both progressive and conservative approaches to the teaching of writing underwrite a nationalism that depends on a strict Western cultural centrism. As a consequence, American higher education lives with continuing vestiges of racism, limiting learning and relegating the cultures of some American and international students to second- or even third-class standing. Ultimately, Hurlbert advocates building curricula and pedagogies on an understanding of centrisms in the plural.

Hurlbert asks how the teaching of writing can help to move our world, nation, colleagues, and students toward health. Threading a personal narrative of his own experiences as a student, professor, and citizen through a wide ranging discussion of theory, pedagogy, and philosophy in the writing classroom, Hurlbert weaves a vision that moves beyond simple polemic and simplistic multiculturalism. National Healing offers a compelling new aesthetic, epistemological, and rhetorical configuration.