Paul Prior – Visiting Speaker 2010-2011

writing/socialization::rhetoric/socialization::flat chat/socialization

In this presentation, Prior reflects on the notion of socialization and how—from a sociocultural, flat CHAT perspective—it fits centrally into questions of writing and rhetoric. Then he considers potential applications of this view of socialization to questions of writing/rhetoric practice and pedagogy. Drawing on current scholarship on literacy, learning, semiotics, and practice rather than relying on early formulations of rhetoric in certain domains of ancient Greek public life, Prior aims to re-conceptualize the space that became the rhetorical canons. The terms on his map differed in many ways from those of the classical canons. One addition that might be the most significant is the inclusion of socialization as a dimension of rhetorical activity.


Paul Prior is Professor of English and Professor and Director of the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Drawing on sociocultural theory and dialogic semiotics, he has explored connections among writing, talk, enculturation, and activity. This work has appeared in articles, chapters, and a book Writing/Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy (1998). He has co-edited with Charles Bazerman What Writing Does and How It Does It: An Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices (2004) and with Julie Hengst Exploring Semiotic Remediation as Discourse Practice (2010). For more information, see his website.