Paul Lynch’s latest article in College English, “Composition’s New Thing: Bruno Latour and the Apocalyptic Turn,” which I found on Twitter over the weekend, is not only helping me put my RSA paper together, it has moved me to begin two new conferences proposals.
First, I want to emphasize that I learned of this article via Twitter, which I am on thanks to Bill Wolff and Michelle Szetela. I have gotten so many useful teaching tips and research leads via Twitter.
Second, I want to say how Lynch’s work connects to my research and this class. Lynch uses Bruno Latour’s thing theory to argue that composition studies must move beyond critique and imagine a bolder role for our work- a role that included ideological and material realms. This attention to material, which in Lynch’s article means listening to things, such as the great garbage patch the size of Texas whirling through the Pacific Ocean. What does it mean to live in a world, to write in a world, to study and teach in a world where our actions create holes in the ozone, contribute to biodiversity loss, release massive amounts of oil into the sea and chemicals into the land and air? The typical answer is to critique these cases…to look at the cases. But, Lynch says critique is not enough. Instead we need to acknowledge these problems as material consequences of our lives, to listen to these consequences, and to take action.