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The materiality of language - David Bleich

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The materiality of language - gender, politics, and the university
David Bleich
Paperback / softback
Indiana University Press
UK Publication Date

David Bleich sees the human body, its affective life, social life, and political functions as belonging to the study of language. In The Materiality of Language, Bleich addresses the need to end centuries of limiting access to language and its many contexts of use. To recognize language as material and treat it as such, argues Bleich, is to remove restrictions to language access due to historic patterns of academic censorship and unfair gender practices. Language is understood as a key path in the formation of all social and political relations, and becomes available for study by all speakers, who may regulate it, change it, and make it flexible like other material things.

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David Bleich is Professor of English at the University of Rochester and author of Know and Tell: A Pedagogy of Disclosure, Genre, and Membership and The Double Perspective: Language, Literacy, and Social Relations, among other books.

The scope and depth of Bleich's work in The Materiality of Language are impressive. This book offers intriguing views of historical developments in language philosophies, the ways in which rigid views of language have supported institutional hegemony and androcentrism, and the positive implications of acknowledging language's materiality. The systematic links he draws among language, gender, institutions, and politics offer generative insights that will certainly be of interest to scholars in rhetoric and composition.

Rhetoric Review

[The author's] thesis is interesting and provocative. He argues forcefully for the relevance of language, construed as a material entity, across a wide range of disciplines (and to life in general), and challenges the focus on treating language as a cognitive phenomenon and studying it in abstract terms.11/7/13

New Books in Language

Keyword Index
Sociolinguistics.|Language and languages - Political aspects.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages
xiv, 557

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