"Bridging the Comp/Lit Split with New Media"

Ball, Cheryl E. (2007, October 20). Bridging the comp/lit split with new media. The Purpose(s) of English: A Conference on the Future of English Studies, University of Illinois, Springfield, IL.

In “English Studies, Aestheticism, and the Art-Culture System,” Hardin (JAC: 1999) claimed that the split between composition and literature mimicked an unhealthy art-culture system of high (or valued) art versus low (or kitschy, nonvaluable) art within English departments. His purpose in making this comparison was not to say that composition studies, or its connection to rhetorical studies, was indeed a low form of art, but to suggest that English studies needed a bridge between low and high forms — one that would satisfy, or rather rectify, the traditional high/low, literature/composition, aesthetics/ rhetoric split but also one that would allow for students to take advantage of the both/and in their writing practices. New media production provides a 21st-century answer to this split. By having students produce new media texts, the departmental cultures of English studies can bridge the binaries of high and low, literature and composition, and aesthetic and academic discourse. In combining both aesthetic and textual (i.e., letterate) choices in meaning making, authors of new media texts draw on both academic and popular genres to make their points. I will demonstrate this possible bridge by discussing a student-produced new media text, focusing in particular on the rhetorical and aesthetic intentions the student demonstrated in his video, which uses academically styled voiceover, punk- and pop-rock soundtrack, original video and audio, and written text.

accompanying materials

  • none available

see also