Discussion Notes: Republic of Letters


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Discussion Notes: Republic of Letters

  1. 1. The Republic of Letters CCR 633 ::: 3/29/11Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  2. 2. Structure and ContextWednesday, March 30, 2011
  3. 3. Kate: On the one hand, we do get a historicization of the federation of working class writers and some wonderful examples of the writing produced by federation groups. On the other, I kept feeling like there were so many other important aspects to the project that I wanted more information about. This made me reflect on my expectations as an academic reader—that I expect a particular genre to do particular things. What are some of the tensions that happen when writers break genre expectations? Breaking genre can be generative and exciting but there are also consequences. In regards to this text, what is gained and what is loss in the choices made in creating the text?Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  4. 4. Rachel: I find the examples of work that are laid out within this  text interesting as compared to the text of a zine.  While both texts push against the status quo with awareness, does one do it more effectively than the other?  In many ways, it seems like the literature throughout this text is very much mimicking that which it wants to challenge, it that it stays within genera that is valued in the world of publishing, and does not push into the vast array of possibility that zines do.  But then again, if these community published texts are more widely read, are they more effective?Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  5. 5. “Writing” as the work of publication:Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  6. 6. “We remain locally organised and federated because this seems one way of continuing to work together and share and develop skills, rather than to pass work over to others who will edit, illustrate, package and market it in a way that the writer cannot control” - 19Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  7. 7. Writing does have a very particular magic to it. The idea that you can, with very little equipment, set down something which only you have made, and which can give meaning to who you are and what has happened to you; and the idea that this can be reproduced in thousands of copies and come back to you in a form which can help you recognise yourself in a new way, be recognised by others as you wish to be recognised, and enable you to live without the normal constraints of waged work, i.e. make money... all that is, it must be admitted, a bit magic! - 48Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  8. 8. agency and bifurcationWednesday, March 30, 2011
  9. 9. It has taken labour and thought to move away from the forms of work of the publishing industry - one of whose characteristics is the division of labour to the point where responsibility for the shaping of the whole work gets removed from the writer, dispersed and lost. - 51 (See also 52)Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  10. 10. What are the technological factors in this equation? How do they collude/collide with aspects of rhetorical agency?Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  11. 11. When the community press started in the late 1960’s it did so very much on the basis of ‘we must control the means of production ourselves.’ The new offset litho technology has made it possible for many people to learn basic printing and plate-making on small A4 and A3 machines. Similarly, access to an electric typewriter with a carbon ribbon makes elementary typesetting easy. - 61Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  12. 12. LaToya: If this local, process- and cultural production-oriented model of publishing represents a more democratic process, and it is achieved by creating more alternatives to dominant modes, what are the rhetorical implications of such action? In other words, if we are not “arguing against the current system,” as we are accustomed to, in what ways can we use rhetoric [and technologies] to create more alternatives and spaces that challenge Literature and the power/ authority that comes along with it?Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  13. 13. Rachel: What does it mean for community publishing to be utilizing a technological system that they are also pushing against?  Is this an ethical issue?Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  14. 14. Kate: How does the Federation of Working Writers act or not act as an imagined community? What is the value of in thinking about these writers as an imagined community?Wednesday, March 30, 2011
  15. 15. Kate: [Duncombe] says he was a punk, he lived in the scene, and participated in zine subculture. Further, Duncombe is definitely trying to write in as non-academicy and a zine-respecting way as possible. In contrast, The Republic of Letters feels slightly more academic and theoretical at times, but nonetheless seems to me more like an authentic work of praxis. Did anyone else feel like this? Does this authenticity matter when we are talking about the democratic tendencies of communities of writers? Or, does the sense of authenticity stem more from the distinctions between zine subculture versus working class culture?Wednesday, March 30, 2011