The Essay, Belief, and Composition

Jeff Rice has written two posts, Why I'm Through with the Essay and Genre. Both of these deal with what is taught in first-year composition and other writing courses. In the former, he argues that "the essay has become more of a ritual than a pedagogy," which has "undermined the practice of response." In the latter, he asserts,

Academics need faith, so they believe. They believe in one argument for saving the Humanities (even as that argument has little influence). They believe in argument. They believe in the essay. Beliefs are needed, but beliefs must shift and change or you end up with fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is the politics that can not change because its belief rests in a higher order, an order above belief itself.