In typical academic circles, texts must be critiqued, mined for the obfuscated meanings they hide, and shown to reveal larger, broader meanings than what are initially evident. To engage in this type of writing is to perform an authentic version of scholarship. But what if a scholar chooses instead to write without critique? What if they write about travelling, their children, food, grocery shopping, frozen garlic bread, sandwiches, condiments, falafel, yoga, and moments that normally wouldn’t be considered scholarly? Can the writing still be scholarly? Can scholarly writing be authentic if its topics comprise the everyday?
In Authentic Writing, Jeff Rice uses this question to trace a position regarding critique, the role of the scholar, the role of the personal in scholarship, the banal as subject matter, and the idea of authenticity. He explores authenticity as a writing issue, a rhetorical issue, a consumption issue, a culture issue, and an ideological issue. Rather than arguing for a more authentic state or practice, Rice examines the rhetorical features of authenticity in order to expand the focus of scholarship.
About the Author
Jeff Rice is the Martha B. Reynolds professor of writing, rhetoric, and digital studies and department chair of writing, rhetoric, and digital studies at the University of Kentucky.
“Rice achieves three feats in this engaging meditation on authenticity. He narrates the banal without being boring, questions 'the scholarly' without using critique, and makes a book about writing mercifully light on 'about' and sustainably rich in craft: through sandwiches and bus stations, Tel Aviv and Kentucky, parenting, professoring, and pissing in cornfields, the elusive artisanal.” —Douglas Hesse, The University of Denver
“Rice is an important scholar in ‘rhetoric and composition’ working today, and this book’s rigorous research on different claims to authentic academic writing might reinforce that reputation or put a target on his back; from this book, filled with his personal life, one might dislike the author and his personal life even as one is moved by the bravery of the argument against the current forms of often cloying autoethnographic cultural criticism.” —Rhizomes