A Hybrid Discussion of Multiliteracy and Identity Politics




Ballingall, Timothy

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Much discussion has taken place in composition and writing center studies regarding “multi-”s: multimedia, multiliteracy, multimodality, even multiwriting. The “multi-” that has received the most attention in writing center studies specifically is multiliteracy. This attention has manifested in some scholars calling for the writing center’s evolution to a multiliteracy center, or MLC (Trimbur; Sheridan, “Introduction”; Sheridan, “Words, Images, Sounds”; McKinney; Balester et al.). This call is contemporaneous with but virtually distinct from another important discussion in writing center studies. I am talking here about the politics of identity. The major questions in this discussion have been: What are the ways we can put into pedagogical practice a theory of identity that is based on discursive practices and intersectionality as opposed to one based on fixed, isolated definitions? Additionally, how can we ensure that this kind of pedagogy provides the grounds for subverting and resisting hegemonic discourses (Cooper; Bawarshi and Pelkowski; Grimm; Denny, “Queering the Writing Center”; Denny, Facing the Center)? While I do not propose here a comprehensive cultural studies pedagogy nor a comprehensive multiliteracy pedagogy, I do see an opportunity for consultant training in making these discussions talk to one another.

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