The writing center as bodega: Making a third space in academia for global Englishes and alternative discourses

Date

2011

Authors

Wilson, Nancy Effinger

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Abstract

Because global communication demands greater rhetorical/linguistic flexibility than the monocultural and monolingual academic writing model ("Standard" Edited American English and "standard" discourses) supplies, and because the testimonios of authors such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Victor Villanueva, and Keith Gilyard reveal the scarring that occurs when an individual's home language is denigrated, this dissertation argues that university writing centers must take the lead in encouraging the academy to recognize and value global Englishes and alternative discourses as valid rhetorical alternatives. Notably, writing center theorists such as Nancy Grimm, Elizabeth Boquet, and Rebecca Jackson have begun re-imagining the writing center as a counter-hegemonic space via counter-narratives. However, in addition to modifying internal writing center operations (e.g. tutor training and tutorial protocols), writing centers must re-imagine external writing center relationships with faculty, replacing the academy's top-down, interpellation model with collaboration among the university's writing partners. The metaphor of the writing center as a bodega in the ecological landscape of the university provides a meaningful and local way of conceptualizing this new paradigm for writing centers (and ultimately the university as a whole) as a panethnic, heteroglossic, communal, and transgressive third space--both a part of a larger system but apart from it. By shifting academic focus from the production of one hegemonic (big-box) product to the acquisition of (meta)knowledge of "standard" and global Englishes, alternative rhetorics, and linguistic, visual, and oral literacies, not only will the U.S. academy be accommodating a global world but also rejecting its legacy of linguistic imperialism.

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Keywords

alternative discourses, global Englishes, Writing Across the Curriculum, writing centers

Citation

Department

English