The Open Hand
160 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Nov 2013
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The Open Hand

Arguing as an Art of Peace

Utah State University Press
Based on five years of classroom experimentation, The Open Hand presents a highly practical yet transformational philosophy of teaching argumentative writing. In his course Arguing as an Art of Peace, Barry Kroll uses the open hand to represent an alternative approach to argument, asking students to argue in a way that promotes harmony rather than divisiveness and avoiding conventional conflict-based approaches.

Kroll cultivates a bodily investigation of noncombative argument, offering direct pedagogical strategies anchored in three modalities of learning—conceptual-procedural, kinesthetic, and contemplative—and projects, activities, assignments, informal responses, and final papers for students. Kinesthetic exercises derived from martial arts and contemplative meditation and mindfulness practices are key to the approach, with Kroll specifically using movement as a physical analogy for tactics of arguing.

Collaboration, mediation, and empathy are important yet overlooked values in communicative exchange. This practical, engaging, and accessible guide for teachers contains clear examples and compelling discussions of pedagogical strategies that teach students not only how to write persuasively but also how to deal with personal conflict in their daily lives.

'[T]his book and its author model the kind of learning, generosity, and risk-taking that Kroll clearly values for his students. In short, it would be difficult to regard Kroll’s The Open Hand as anything other than a generous offering in the vein that he prescribes here for a reconfigured approach to argumentation.'—Justin Nevin, Present Tense

'After reading, I am encouraged, and I think other compositionists might be as well, to write and develop work that not only talks or theorizes about contemplative practices but also provides transparent examples of how these practices (or concepts) may be enacted practically and critically.'Rachel Griffo, Composition Studies
Barry M. Kroll is the Robert D. Rodale Professor in Writing at Lehigh University. Specializing in the field of composition-rhetoric, he teaches courses on argument and nonfiction writing and also popular literature and film.
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