Shifting the scholarly conversation : a rhetorical reading of Peter Elbow's work Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rr172109c

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  • Shifting the Scholarly Conversation: A Rhetorical Reading of Peter Elbow's Work explores Peter Elbow's contributions to the field of writing and rhetoric. Over the course of his long career, Elbow’s scholarly and pedagogical work has been much praised and much criticized. Elbow's work has influenced generations of teachers and writers, but it has also met with criticism, particularly during the theoretical debates that dominated scholarship in rhetoric and writing in the late 1980s and 1990s. While scholars have debated whether Elbow is or isn’t an expressivist--and the theoretical and pedagogical consequences if he were--less attention has been paid to Elbow's efforts to engage and embrace multiple audiences. In this thesis, I attempt to shift the scholarly conversation surrounding Elbow's work by arguing that Elbow's attention to audience provides a compelling and rich lens through which scholars can consider his work. My thesis examines the rhetorical strategies Elbow uses in order to make his texts accessible to a variety of readers: students, teachers, scholars, and the general public. It draws connections between Elbow's first book, Writing Without Teachers, his more traditional academic textbooks, and his essay collections, demonstrating that Elbow has been motivated by the same rhetorical impulses throughout his career, even as his situation as a writer and scholar have changed. I argue that Elbow's commitment to reaching a diverse audience is a notable feature of his work and worthy of greater attention on the part of scholars.
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