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Rewriting: Forwarding and Countering

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AR Hamilton

on 26 January 2015

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Transcript of Rewriting: Forwarding and Countering

: When you look to other texts for examples of a point you want to make. Proving the reading with material to think about (anecdotes, images, scenarios, data).

: When you invoke the expertise/status of another writing to support your thinking.

: Drawing on terms/ideas from other writers to use in thinking through your subject.

: When you put your own spin on the terms/concepts that you take from other texts. Select, excerpt, comment, and change/inflect the meaning of the text.

The Four Moves of Forwarding
"As I write this book, I am sitting in a small room, before a laptop computer, surrounded by books, papers, and magazines-all of which I am, in some metaphorical sense, "in conversation with" (n much the same way I am also in conversation with you, my imagined reader). But what I am actually doing is working with a set of materials-looking for books on my shelves and flipping through them, folding pages over or marking them with Post-its, retyping passages, filing and retrieving printouts, making notes in margins, and composing, cutting, pasting, formatting, revising and printing blocks of prose" (37).

You are having a conversation through the process of trying to say something through your writing.
What does this "Conversation" actually look like?
Comes from the assumption that the goal of writing is not to have the final word/bring the conversation to a close, but to push it forward, to say something new, something that seems to call for further talk and writing.

“Put your oar in and redirect/diverge the flow of talk if needed.”

Think of this as writing to a third party: you aren’t actually responding to the author, but rather, to others who have said something about it.

You forward a text by taking words, images, or ideas from it and putting it in new contexts by shifting the focus away from what the author is saying (what you did in coming to terms) and toward your own project.

In order to counter a text it is essential you note its limits.

It's more than identifying what they've gotten wrong and then showing them how to get it right.

Think of other texts/views not as wrong, but as incomplete.

You must suggest a different way of thinking.

"On the other hand..."
"Yes, but..."
In order to develop a new line of thinking in response to the limits of other texts you need to first come to terms with the author's project and offer a sense of its aims and strengths.

If you are going to identify what a text fails to do, you need to be clear about what it achieves.
Before you Counter:
Argue the other side
: showing the usefulness of an idea that a writer has criticized or noting the problems with the one they argued for

Uncovering values
: analyzing a concept that a text has left undefined/unexamined

: identifying a shared line of thought on an issue in order to note its limits
How to Counter
Rewriting: Forwarding and Countering
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