Home Campus Directory | A-Z Index

Producing Public Memory: Museums, Memorials, and Archives as Sites for Teaching "Writing"

Editors: Jane Greer and Laurie Grobman

We invite proposals from teachers, scholars, and researchers in composition, literacy, and rhetorical studies for an edited collection that investigates museums, memorials (permanent, temporary, and spontaneous), and archives as sites of rhetorical education. More particularly, we seeks essays that can help to initiate a new pedagogical phase in the study of public memory by moving beyond rhetorical analyses of museums, memorials, and archives to focus instead on the rich pedagogical and public work that can take place when faculty and students collaborate with museum founders, curators, exhibit designers, archivists, librarians, and others.

In recent years, scholars and teachers in rhetoric, print culture, and writing studies have increasingly been fascinated by the persuasive work accomplished by museums, memorials, archives, and similar sites (e.g., Bernard-Donals; Dickinson, Blair, Ott; Halloran). This diverse, interdisciplinary body of scholarship has certainly enriched contemporary understandings of how public memory is created and preserved. Rarely, though, have museums, memorials, archives, and other sites been seen by teachers as sites for the production of public memory and the teaching of writing. We believe consequential and collaborative pedagogical and public work can be undertaken at sites of public memory.

While the following list is not exhaustive, possible chapters in this collection might take the following forms:

Curricular arguments and analyses of how courses in public memory can contribute to the rhetorical education of undergraduates in general and writing majors in particular.

  • What new research skills and processes might students develop when working at sites of public memory—conducting oral history interviews, creating finding aids, etc.
  • What new genres of “writing” will students engage in and how might those genres transfer to other writing tasks?
  • How might working at sites of public memory allow students to develop a more integrated sense of speaking and writing?
  • How can students expand their understandings of object-based rhetorics, visual rhetorics, and/or rhetorics of space and place?
  • How does constructing public memory complicate traditional forms of academic writing?
  • How can writing teachers take advantage of opportunities to teach about multimodal forms of communication in museums, memorials, and other public memory spaces?
  • What issues of narrative and voice arise at sites of public memory?
  • How might rhetoricians and their students distinguish between the work of composing public memory and the writing of history?
  • How might these pedagogies enhance multicultural education and literacies?
  • How can pedagogical collaborations with professionals who work at museums, memorials, and archives enrich the ways in which students are engaged in curatorial work on the Web or the rapidly proliferating practices of digital exhibition?

Research studies (classroom-based, archival, ethnographic, qualitative, quantitative, etc.) on projects that have engaged students in the production of public memory at museums, memorials, and archives)

  • How has student learning been impacted by courses situated at museums, memorials, and archives? How can learning outcomes be determined and measured when students are working at sites of public memory?
  • What teaching strategies have teachers successfully (or not so successfully) deployed when teaching writing and rhetoric at museums, memorials, and archives?
  • How have students and communities engaged in acts of vernacular memorialization and exhibit design in ways that both align with and disrupt the practices of professional curators and educators working at museums, memorials, and archives?
  • What historical antecedents might exist for contemporary projects of rhetorical education situated at museums, memorials, and archives?

Discussions of the relationships between the academy and the community at sites of public memory

  • How are students able to rewrite public memory and challenge master narratives when their course work focuses on museums, memorials, and archives involving marginalized populations and groups?
  • How might these pedagogical community partnerships focused on projects of public memory expand on compositionists’ efforts to implement community literacy and service learning projects?
  • What challenges—logistic and intellectual--are faced in collaborations between rhetoricians and staff who are working at museums, memorials, and archive staff?

Essays that are collaboratively authored by faculty and students and/or faculty and professionals who work in museums, memorials, and archives are particularly welcome.

Please submit a proposal, approximately 500 words, that discusses the proposed chapter to the editors—Jane Greer (greerj@umkc.edu) and Laurie Grobman (leg8@psu.edu). Questions and queries are welcome as well. The deadline for proposal submissions is July 15, 2013.