most effective discourse = purposeful combination of experience and information

“Rather than privileging either experience or information as sources of subject matter, we should encourage students to use both. It is, I believe, this purposeful combination of experience and information that produces the most effective discourse.”

Jeanette Harris, Expressive Discourse (166-167)

The purposeful combination sounds like assignments that mix external sources and personal experience, like the one we assign in WR 121 in which students use three sources: two of their readings and their personal experience.

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4 thoughts on “most effective discourse = purposeful combination of experience and information

  1. I’m a big fan of including experiences (or narration) in discourse. Iris Marion Young, one of my favorite philosophers, argues that public discourse has three components: greetings, narrative, and rhetoric. Narrative is important, especially for those with less power, to relay their stories, and can be used rhetorically to make arguments. Your passage from Harris seems right on.

  2. Hi, Michael. Thanks! Where would I find Young making that point? I might want to use her in my paper, since that’s exactly what I’m probably going to argue in this paper — the ideal mix of experience and information in discourse (and in writing assignments).
    Laura

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