Francois on Time

Francois offers an extremely helpful thought in his response to my recent misreading of his comment. He points out that “There are three moments in the [gift] transaction: giving, receiving, using what has been received,” and this lines up in remarkable synchronicity with the attention I give to notions of temporality in the latter portion of my dissertation. In Chapter 3, I point to how Raymond Williams and Pierre Bourdieu use time as an aspect of the overdetermination of class, and how composition’s definitions of class are conspicuously silent regarding the function of time, especially in the discourse of the “working-class academic,” because — of course — acknowledging time and historical change eliminates the possibility for the so-called “working-class academic” to collapse the difference between class position and class background in order to invoke the argument of authenticity.

The attention Francois offers to the temporally distant commodification of writing skills is important, as well, in the way that what he calls “using what has been given” aligns with Bruce Horner’s ideas about the ways in which we theorize the value of student labor contribute to that labor’s necessary and inherent commodification. Setting the temporal horizon of valuation as distant rather than present is a commodifying act. But in his temporal taxonomizing of the components of the gift transaction — gift, receipt, use — Francois has offered me a useful supplement to the ways I use Mariolina Salvatori’s work on the temporal synthesis of the hermeneutic and deconstructive moves to show that writing that holds truly diverse and heterogeneous value for the students is at once temporally distant and present. This also offers me a way to come back to my argument for a diachronic rather than synchronic way of seeing the economy of the writing classroom: if we don’t look at the classroom as processual, as functioning in trajectories of overdetermined historical change, we completely and abjectly fail to construct a pedagogy that goes beyond mere vocationalism or the teaching of good manners in prose.

This is why I love blogging: for the opportunity to engage with fierce, smart folks like Francois, like Clancy, like Curtiss, who call me on my bullshit and make me clarify my thinking.

Francois on Time

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