Writing Tutors Providing a Safe Space

Jonathan Doucette’s “Composing Queers” brought up an interesting point that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought about if a relevant situation hadn’t arisen. He brings up a good point that the writing center, or composition studies in general, can be a limiting place, unconsciously ruled by “dominant culture”. He also paints a worthy vision, however, of a writing center where individuals can “find ways to claim a sense of agency in and through writing”. I would like to employ the approach of openness that Doucette suggests to help make any tutoring time I have with students a safe and open space that gives students the opportunity to feel free to engage in any kind of discourse, normative or not.

Caroline Hernandez, Stanford 2015

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One Response to Writing Tutors Providing a Safe Space

  1. Blog Response for May 15TH – Composing Queers: The Subversive Potential of the Writing Center

    The quote suggesting that queerness provides certain students a way of writing their stories into the bigger story of American society reminded me of many of the arguments that I have read and seen enacted by proponents of ethnic studies in my home community of Tucson, Arizona. In fact, many of the allusions to hegemony in academic discourse brought me back to thinking about the very real, pressing issue of allowing ethnic studies curriculum and writing in Arizona high schools. Just as this article argues that queer and non queer students seeking to explore sexuality and different approaches to gender in their writing should be able to do so freely and with the support of an academic institution or community, so too do proponents of ethnic studies argue that students (mainly those of Mexican descent in the case of Arizona) be able to learn and write alongside and from the perspective of their cultural background.

    This article also made me think about a student at Stanford who told me that he took a film class in which student essays were not allowed to use the universal “he” under and any circumstances and would actively be docked grade points for doing so. I was interested by the fact that the teacher stipulated that students could use the universal female rather than just generally gender ambiguous language. Going to what is (and I hope I speak for many of us Stanford students) a fairly “liberal” or “conscientious” school, I wonder if there are examples that someone from our class can provide of situations of academic hegemonic discourse or situations like the one that I just mentioned.

    This is an interesting little article I found about the use of the universal he: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/01/14/the-long-overdue-death-of-the-universal-he

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