Tag Archives: power

Barlow, J.P. (1996, February 8). A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Retrieved from https://projects.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html

John Perry Barlow was a libertarian who helped write lyrics for the Grateful Dead and who was involved in shaping the political identity of cyberspace in the early 90s. He published an essay titled “The Economy of Ideas” in a 1994 issue of Wired magazine and his declaration of independence in 1996. The Declaration, which was widely distributed after its publication and was both celebrated and strongly critiqued, is described about a decade later as Barlow’s “Thomas Jefferson moment” in a 2004 interview with Brian Doherty of Reason Magazine.

In this interview, he explains that his political philosophy was one of passivity; that his beliefs centered around the idea that taking care of oneself and raising consciousness was better than confronting authority directly. He changed his mind at the beginning of the 2000s, saying in this interview that civil liberties were in grave danger. He joined the Democratic party in hopes of confronting what he saw as issues very damaging to intellectual property and a free society.

Copyright and intellectual property are the most important issues now. If you don’t have something that assures fair use, then you don’t have a free society.

If all ideas have to be bought, then you have an intellectually regressive system that will ensure you have a highly knowledgable elite and an ignorant mass.

In explaining his comments on how Microsoft was operating an information monopoly, he said,

Anytime you engage with information, the reality that you extract from that information is shaped bu the tools that deliver it.”

This statement supports what I am trying to demonstrate and articulate in these exams.

Barlow’s Declaration was hailed by many triumphantly, but it was also called “hogwash” by critics who viewed Barlow with skepticism as an idealogical hippie who was out of touch with the economic and political realities of the internet. His lifelong fight for the freedom of information online, however, has played an important role in helping define (and relax) boundaries around the free exchange of knowledge on the internet.

Bizzaro, Resa Crane. “Making Places as Teacher-Scholars in Composition Studies: Comparing Transition Narratives.” College Composition and Communication 53.3 (2002): 487-506. Print.

This article is essentially about how Bizzaro, as a Native American woman from a working class background, feels a sense of identification with literature scholars who made the transition to teaching composition because of the similar feelings of isolation and alienation and the experience of having to negotiate one’s identity in an often hostile environment.

The lack of power and employment opportunities and the feeling of being “neither earth nor sky” she experienced as a Native American woman coming to the academy is compared to the material and institutional realities encountered by converted composition professionals like Sharon Crowley, Peter Elbow, David Bartholomae, and others. She reported not really knowing what she was getting into, much like Bartholomae, who said that he

did not have a very solid or serious sense of what was involved in the profession as a profession. Other than that, I liked the idea of spending my time in an academic setting. It just seemed congenial.

She has adopted the Foucauldian view that scholars and historians don’t tend to accept traditional categories that claim to identify universal conditions because they tend to serve those in power, preferring instead to name themselves and categorize themselves in ways which do not adhere to previously prescribed delimitations. Though this mentality has its own set of complications and pitfalls, including the fact that even the most aware scholars and historians still largely spring from the worldview that created those power-serving categories in the first place, that awareness is important for recognizing one’s place in the complex institutional milieu.

Fun fact: In his first attempt at graduate school, Peter Elbow quit before he got kicked out.

Bizzaro equates teaching composition with cleaning the toilets of academia, another low-level, under-respected job she performed in order to keep herself afloat.

Bernard-Donals, Michael. “Interchanges: Solidarity Forever–Why TA Unions Are Good for Writing Programs.” College Composition and Communication 61.2 (2009): 437-451. Print.

He asks: “Should the work of grad student TAs be seen exclusively as a part of their apprenticeship as preprofessionals?” (440).

He says: Those who make this argument badly misunderstand both the nature of the current academic marketplace and TA work.

The fundamental argument here seems to be that though the traditional arrangement of TAs as that one prof designed a course and TAs helped run it, TAs now are mostly responsible for designing, teaching, and evaluating. Same responsibilities as tenure track profs, no protection or compensation.

3 ways unions work to the benefit of writing programs:

  • specify workload and terms of appointment (U of Wisconsin’s “workload worksheet” w/ specific duties & expected hours of completion
  • professional support of TAs (some programs offer no training to their students; TA union contracts can specify required training
  • process of bringing unfair practices to admins (“the phrase ‘benign neglect’ often characterized the way in which a faculty member oversaw teaching assistants” under the apprenticeship model (447)

Bernard-Donals claims that having a TA union made running the program much easier because there were clear boundaries and his decision making powers were constrained by contract. Says that exploitative relationships are almost inevitable given contemporary economy.

Duffey, Suellynn et al. “Conflict, Collaboration, and Authority: Graduate Students and Writing Program Administration.” Rhetoric Review 21.1 (2002): 79-87. Print.

This article offers a narrative of the struggles faced by eight graduate student who were charged with the task of facilitating peer groups of writing instructors in the first year writing program at The Ohio State University under program director Suellynn Duffey. Desiring a collaborative approach, the writers chronicle the challenges to implementing strategies which adhere to the principle of decentering authority but which are still meaningful and productive.

Like Sullivan et. al., who disagree with Crowley’s argument that FYC should be abolished because of its historically disadvantaged institutional position, Duffey et. al. acknowledge that all intellectual activity in the university must take place within its own bureaucratic structure. They point to the need to resist their own “inner-bureaucrat” while fostering collaborative, rather than hierarchal, teaching methods and pedagogies. They write:

Our collaboration as writing program administrators did not and could not escape hierarchy, but our experience does suggest that faculty members and graduate students can, if they choose, engage in collaborative practices. Such an engagement allows for a transformation of, rather than a resistance to, our inner bureaucrats. (85)

The refusal to submit to their inner-bureaucrats, who demanded clear authority, and immediately identifiable results was borne of a realization by the TA facilitators that they had to model the kind of “collaborative, critical pedagogy that [they] espoused… [and] resist adopting the directive authority that many TAs believed they needed” (83).


Duffey, Suellynn et al. “Conflict, Collaboration, and Authority: Graduate Students and Writing Program Administration.” Rhetoric Review 21.1 (2002): 79-87. Print.