compositionist cosmology?

Just read this review by Thomas Allbaugh of Azusa Pacific University of Where Writing Begins: A Postmodern Reconstruction, by Michael Carter (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2003). It’s cool that Carter is making a connection between process theology and process theory in composition (there’re definitely parallels) and between theological conceptions of beginnings/creation and rhetorical invention.

Whitehead’s ideas have been in circulation for a while, and a number of theologians have been refining his ideas. Certainly Whitehead’s process descriptions as received through the work of John B. Cobb Jr. and David Griffin would appear to be congenial with epistemologies current in our field. And certainly part 3, “Teaching Writing,” where Carter introduces his process God, could get conversations about religion going within the field of composition. Yet when Carter theorizes writing as involved in beginnings, I find that this would seem to be enough. As first-year writing is theorized as creative writing, we join our students in being language users who write from places of disruption in experience.

But I guess I should read the book because, from the review, I’m not quite getting what Carter is saying that is very insightful or helpful or how it could actually affect composition studies. And I don’t even get what Allbaugh’s last sentence means.

Heheh, so sounds very cool, but right now none of it is stickin’ to my brain matter.


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