Through a classroom moment in a graduate course in the teaching of writing, Particelli explores ways in which pointed inquiry into genre—satire, in this case—allows for a lesson design that encourages critical exploration of culture without burdening students with essentialist discussions. Using an inquiry-based approach to genre study, the students in this classroom explore many kinds of “text”—from stand-up comedy to fiction and narrative nonfiction—with an unavoidable eye toward critical theory but without the traditional approach that pushes students to apply a “critical lens” to a text in the way that a tool might be applied to an object. Particelli argues that those often didactic approaches push students to learn a specific script for a specific situation and can even push students to experience the world polemically and thus to become less willing to see complexity of argument, power, and position. Through this classroom example where the cultural habits and expectations of genre remain at the center of conversation, Particelli hopes to spark conversation surrounding the possibilities of expanding our approaches as we develop discussions at the intersections of cultural power, social politics, literature, writing, and students' personal experience.

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