Toward transcultural rhetorics: A view from hybrid America and the Puerto Rican diaspora
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractI theorize about cultural hybridity; specifically, I theorize about transcultural rhetorics to consider the positive capabilities those rhetorics encourage in students within composition classrooms. People in our society frequently ignore and devalue hybridity and multiplicity, which are facts in our culture. Therefore, minority students, who are more likely to display transcultural elements in their rhetorics, also face devaluation of their use of language. People associate minority members of society with poor language use because their rhetorics "differ" from the USAmerican standard. This contributes to dismissal of transcultural rhetorics in classroom settings. Teaching standard uses of language negates other possible language strategies. Yet transcultural rhetorics provide a means to encourage students to value their potential and contributions to the communities with which they engage. I argue that teaching language and writing skills should use multiple approaches and encourage students' abilities to negotiate multiple discourse communities. Allowing people to move and to fit into more than one or two cultures will enhance success and survival in both dominant and non-dominant cultural groups. I use discussions by and about women-of-color to illustrate some of the real and significant issues revolving hybridity and acculturation/assimilation practices. Doing so helps to illustrate the psychological, social, and other political issues surrounding hybrid-USAmericans as they engage with education. While an increasing number of writers and teachers value and use rhetorics that represent multiplicity, teachers and writers need to understand and address the political and psychological processes hybrid people experience. The fact that many teachers encourage the kinds of writing research that I advocate does not negate the need for broader use of transcultural rhetorics. I present various ways that teachers can teach and encourage transcultural rhetorics within the dissertation. Although transcultural rhetorics can work for all teachers and all students, I focus on Latina writers because they frequently need greater understanding of their literate foremothers and the value of their Latina skills in USAmerican education. The work that follows urges teachers of composition and their students to use the transcultural rhetorics as one of many possible ways of transforming the world of academia and beyond.
Degree ProgramGraduate College