What do Germ Theory, self-psychology, the entrepreneur and the
Bertillion Card have in common? They comprise a part of the
historical dispositif for the emergence of the writing portfolio.
This riveting Foucaultian-inspired genealogy travels through the
history of medicine, criminality, psychology, political economics
to reveal the epistemologies and practices of power/knowledge of
the contemporary portfolio. In so doing, it challenges previous
held beliefs about the germination of the secondary school,
prevailing views of the dawning of secondary English as a
discipline, and most important, the costs and effects of
progressivist's writing pedagogies and assessment instruments.
Carlson & Albright offer fresh and far-ranging examinations of
the rise and development of composition studies and assessment
practices in U.S. secondary schools, thereby challenging major
English education scholars' long-held interpretations of such.
Composing a Care of the Self: A Critical History of Writing
Assessment in Secondary English Education posits, for example, an
elucidation of the history of writing assessment that I believe is
most compelling and original, particularly in its analysis of
historically dominant medical discourses and metaphors of the late
19th century and their influences on secondary English educators.
Further, the authors, inspired by Foucault's uses of genealogy as
means to expose practices and rationalities of power/knowledge
dynamics and their relations to matters of governance, dramatically
advance theoretical orientations within the field of English
Education. They do so through their intricate weaving of
Foucauldian theoretical perspectives into analyses of crucial and
yet often taken-for grantedforms and functions of composition
studies and writing assessments in the secondary English classroom.
As such, this book is a remarkable achievement. - Janet L. Miller,
Ph.D. Professor, Programs in English & Education Teachers
College, Columbia University In COMPOSING A CARE OF THE SELF: A
CRITICAL HISTORY OF WRITING ASSESSMENT IN SECONDARY ENGLISH
EDUCATION, David Carlson and James Albright problematized secondary
school assessment practices in the late nineteenth century and
provide a fascinating genealogical study of English education.
Together and under the mantle of Foucaultian genealogy they explore
the relationships among the body, health, and secondary education
exploring how epistemology in medicine spread to educational
discourse. This is a highly readable account and one that disturbs
the standard histories. It is a highly recommended text for all
those interested in the history of English studies and writing
assessment. - Michael A. Peters, Professor Emeritus, University of
Illinois, Professor, Policy, Cultural & Social Studies in
Education, University of Waikato
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