“An important and timely project, especially in forwarding a vision of teaching writing that steps outside of threshold concepts, writing about writing, and teaching for transfer. There are many teachers who have been quietly hoping for a fully articulated vision of writing that offers an alternative to these disciplinary approaches, which are valuable but limited. I also believe there are many scholars/teachers who value emotion, bodily knowledge, storytelling, place, and social engagement as key elements of teaching writing, which are central to Transforming Ethos.”
—Paula Mathieu, Boston College
"Through a careful synthesis of theory, personal explication, and pedagogical example, Carlo offers insight into how a transformative ethos—rooted in place and the material—is central to writing that produces identification across difference"
—Community Literacy Journal
"There is something in Transforming Ethos for almost everyone in the modern English Department, and Carlo’s attempts to synthesize these important works and concepts across English studies deserves high praise."
In Transforming Ethos Rosanne Carlo synthesizes philosophy, rhetorical theory, and composition theory to clarify the role of ethos and its potential for identification and pedagogy for writing studies. Carlo renews focus on the ethos appeal and highlights its connection to materiality and place as a powerful instrument for writing and its teaching—one that insists on the relational and multimodal aspects of writing and makes prominent its inherent ethical considerations and possibilities.
Through case studies of professional and student writings as well as narrative reflections Transforming Ethos imagines the ethos appeal as not only connected to style and voice but also a process of habituation, related to practices of everyday interaction in places and with things. Carlo addresses how ethos aids in creating identification, transcending divisions between the self and other. She shows that when writers tell their experiences, they create and reveal the ethos appeal, and this type of narrative/multimodal writing is central to scholarship in rhetoric and composition as well as the teaching of writing. In addition, Carlo considers how composition is becoming compromised by professionalization—particularly through the idea of “transfer”—which is overtaking the critical work of self-development with others that a writing classroom should encourage in college students.
Transforming Ethos cements ethos as an essential term for the modern practice and teaching of rhetoric and places it at the heart of writing studies. This book will be significant for students and scholars in rhetoric and composition, as well as those interested in higher education more broadly.