Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sort of semi-annual end of the semester post

We had the last day of class yesterday, so I now have to get caught up on grading so that I can turn in final grades before the due date. Fortunately, I don't have to give any final exams, so I don't have that to worry about. (I should be working on grading now, but for some reason I can't access Blackboard.)

Once I get my grading done, I want to work on a few projects, including revisions on a paper that I've been writing on and off since 2013 and a few blog posts on various topics. One post that I'm writing concerns some questions I have about the circulation of English- and Chinese-language research on recent Taiwan history. Basically, I'm wondering how much researchers writing in Chinese are using recent English-language research, and vice versa. I don't have the resources to do really involved citation analysis, though. I've found a couple of English-language articles about Taiwanese journals' citations of English-language journals, but they're not talking specifically about Taiwanese history.

I also have to start thinking about the two writing courses I'll be teaching the second summer session. I'm supposed to teach one section of first-year writing for multilingual writers, and I'm thinking that I want to try something different (or perhaps go back to something different). I think I've exhausted--or I'm exhausted by--the work on the university's Academic Plan.

I'm also going to be teaching a new course (for me) next fall: "Writing in Global Contexts." The official course description (with one slight correction from me) reads,
Explores the various ways that linguistic diversity shapes our everyday, academic, and professional lives. Offers students an opportunity to learn about language policy, the changing place of World English[es] in globalization, and what contemporary theories of linguistic diversity, such as translingualism, mean for writing. Invites students to explore their own multilingual communities or histories through empirical or archival research.
The previous instructor, Mya Poe, has provided me with her course materials, so I need to spend some time studying them and thinking about what I might do similarly and differently. I'm thinking of trying to do some cross-course projects if I can also teach First-year Writing for Multilingual Writers next fall. I'm also thinking about something related to the use of sources in other languages when writing. I had some thoughts about this after reading Ingrid Piller's article, "Monolingual Ways of Seeing Multilingualism," in which she critiques monolingual (and English) biases in the ways that multilingualism is discussed in academic research. I was also thinking about my conference paper, "Formosa Translated," and what it suggests about the uses of translation for different audiences and contexts. I recall that Xiaosui Xiao wrote a couple of articles back in the mid-1990s about the rhetoric of translations between English and Chinese:

  • Xiao, Xiaosui. "China Encounters Darwinism: A Case of Intercultural Rhetoric." Quarterly Journal of Speech 81.1 (1995): 83-99.
    Abstract: "An important but neglected path to understanding intercultural communication is to explore how influential works of one culture are adapted to the needs, circumstances and thought patterns of another. Yan Fu's Heavenly Evolution, a rhetorical 'translation' of Thomas Huxley's Evolution and Ethics, the publication of which resulted in a rapid spread of a version of Darwinism in Confucian China at the turn of this century, is analyzed as a case study. It shows the conditions for the rhetorical role of the native interpreter in dealing with Darwinian ideas and terms that were originally in conflict with Chinese modes of thought."
  • Xiao, Xiaosui. "From the Hierarchical Ren to Egalitarianism: A Case of Cross‐cultural Rhetorical Mediation." Quarterly Journal of Speech 82.1 (1996): 38-54. 
    Abstract: "A Study of Humanity (Ren), the first Chinese 'manifesto of egalitarianism,' written by Tan Sitong in 1896–97, was one of the most important spiritual contributions to the republican movement toward the end of China's last imperial dynasty. This essay argues that the particular persuasiveness of its nontraditional egalitarian argument is explained by the writer's skills in exploiting the humanistic and organic ethos of Chinese tradition. This case reveals the interaction of rhetoric and culture. It shows how a dynamic process of rhetorical mediation led to change and also how the fundamental experience of Chinese culture remained intact as long as the Confucian organic world views remained operative in dictating the writer's choice of the appropriate channels, means, and modes of moderation."
Anyway, I have to do some thinking about all this over the break.