In writing 105 we started off the year examining how we write in our own lives. Then, we moved on to studying writing in a rhetorical sense and how to analyze this rhetoric textually and contextually. Now that we have finished this unit, we have switched gears to talk about writing in the community. To begin this unit, I read an article titled “The Idea of Community in the Study of Writing” written by Joseph Harris. Like some of the other academic articles I have read this year so far, the article was a little hard to follow, but I will do my best to break down what Harris talks about here.
At the start of the article, Harris introduces the definition of community developed by Raymond Williams who talks about community as an existing set of relationships that never is given any sort of bad connotation to seem unfavorable. Harris goes on to examine this and determines community as having strong rhetorical power that is very alluring. If one were to examine the definition Williams gives rhetorically, it can definitely be said that there is pathos appeal being used in the definition, since it elicits strong emotions of belongingness and shared purpose.
After establishing this, Harris analyzes how communities can be either interpretive or speech, where they are either among a profession or discipline, or a neighborhood or classroom respectively. Following, Harris focuses on how being part of a community comes with using different word choices and speech all together. This can be shown through the examples he uses of two people, Sylvia and Ron, who are part of multiple communities that consist of different discourses, or communication. Each of them is aware that they are part of vastly different communities that use discourse in very different ways, however this makes their writing more interesting to read.
One of the overall themes that Harris covers in this article is the concern of the academic community. This theme that is dispersed throughout the text addresses how students should be enforced to write a certain way to match the way of the academic community. However, by the end of the article Harris reaches the idea that while students should have to learn the standards of their new academic community when entering college, they should be allowed to reflect on past communities they were or are part of in their writing. I think that this is a very good idea to integrate into college writing in order to allow students to explore communities that they are interested in and hopefully make them more enthusiastic to write academically.