Today’s major task is to work on a revision (third draft) of an article that I want to publish in Radical Teacher. After the better part of 15 years learning to write as an academic, this essay and process are demonstrating that some struggles just don’t go away.
The piece, which has sort of lost the timeliness of its frame (that’s something to consider in the revision), was reacting to Horowitz-ish attacks on academic freedom, and considering the notion of a political classroom the politics of which are *emergent* rather than imposed. In many ways, what I’m arguing is quintessentially Freirean and as such isn’t all that complicated or original. What I’m trying to do, though, is to show that establishing democratic process in pedagogy works better to establish democracy than beginning with divisive issues.
The editors and reviewers are certainly open to that argument and seem to find something interesting in the way I’m approaching it. However, they seem not to like my style, which is very informal (they use the word “discursive,” and the fact that they use that as a denigrating term should probably be more instructive to me than it has been); the response, in general terms, is that they get lost in the rambly nature of the exposition. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. So maybe the first step in the revision is to work through it (again) with a hatchet, seeing how far I can cut down the word count without gutting the argument. The other issue seems to be that they want a clearer, earlier articulation of a “thesis,” which, as an ethnographer, feels like anathema (anathemic?). The inductive nature of the method/thinking is kind of its soul, and my urge is always to want readers to go through that process with me. Seems like most readers don’t want to go there. Someday I should probably just learn to respect that.
[Side note: For some reason, my MP3 player seems to be in a Pixies mood this morning. Hmm…]
In the last couple of days on the WPA listserv, I’ve been talking with somebody about organizing/reorganizing exercises, one of which requires chopping up a draft with a pair of scissors. I had to do that once with a seminar paper in grad school, and although I hated every minute of it while I was doing it, the results were good. I suppose this project will require much the same technique. Time to get over my resistance to this.
Alright. Here goes nuthin’…