Sunday, February 15, 2009

Importing Composition: Three Questions

Just read an article almost 14 years old but newly relevant to my interests in global collaborations. Muchiri, Mulamba, Myers, and Ndoloi's "Importing Composition: Teaching and Researching Academic Writing Beyond North America" (CCC 46.2 1995: 175-98) ends with a provocative set of questions:

Imagine you could pack something of the world of composition, just enough to fit in a small box that would fit under and airline seat. It is not for foreign aid, or for trade, both of which can be exploitive; let us think of it as barter. What would you pack in this box; what is essential in the composition enterprise? That's the fun part. Now here comes the hard part: Where would you send it? And even harder: What would you expect to get in return? (196)


I've been working on setting up an exchange of ideas / stories / essays between NDSU students and United States International University students in Nairobi, Kenya; I don't know if that is the ideal place to "send" this important aspect of the composition enterprise (writing for audiences other than the teacher), but it comes out of a connection / relationship. I imagine most importations of composition will be done on the basis of friendship / relationships / convenience, not necessarily ideal destinations. What do I expect in return? A raising of global awareness, student engagement on both ends, possible faculty collaborations.

How would you answer these questions?

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