All right. Here's the situation. I spent the semester reading about rhetoric, emotion, affect, and motives. We read Adam Smith, Burke, Massumi, Sedgewick, Worsham, Hardt, Schell, Albrecht-Crane, and others. And everything I picked up reminded me of reader response theory. Now, I noticed that sometimes when I said the phrase "reader response" that people might have what Massumi might call a bodily vibration--this was usually a negative affective response, but I wondered why in rhetoric and emotion, when Boler would talk about finding an "expressivist pedagogy of emotion" why no one mentioned reader response. It just seemed like reader response theory fit. Well, my professor told me that she leaned more toward reception theory rather than reader response. She explained that reception theory had more to do with how groups or cultures were affected by a reading, something like that. So I thought it was interesting that there was this alternate literary theory, that seemed like reader response that was out there and I knew nothing about. But trying to write the paper seemed impossible until Donna gave us the option to map the paper using Cmap. It's free! And actually, mapping is just as difficult but in a different sort of way. Because I'm not really even sure what my question is.
I think it is strange that these people talk about reception theory and it is so very similar if not identical in some ways to Rosenblatt, but no one cites her. Actually, several of the articles mention a book about critical theory and only in the introduction does she mention Rosenblatt who she just discovered at the end of her research, and she wasn't able to include her in the book. Actually, Harkin in her College English article mentions that same book.
Isn't that strange though? So, I was reading this rhetoric stuff and thinking that they saw it important for people to have personal emotion or affective responses to events or readings. My professor's perspective was that there really is not universal emotional response, so it's not really a "true" response. I think she might have meant that reader response theory does not include a cultural perspective or critique.
Cynthia Lewis cautions that reader response can allow people to focus too much on their universal personal experiences at the expense of understanding the cultural perspective. Her example was that when a pre-service class read Watson's Go to Birmingham that they were so caught up in the fact that they were reminscing about their Buster Brown shoes that they missed the point that the girl was almost killed in a bombing.
Okay, so I understand that. I don't want them to not interpret or not do some kind of cultural critique. I'm not sure that Rosenblatt does not say this. But what's wrong with having a personal response that is rooted in the text. What if you then analyze that "personal" response and may be create an awareness that it is not so personal at all.
I don't know. I need help with this.