Joan Didion, again. “Writing is an aggressive, hostile act.” Trysh Travis:
[In] graduate teaching, this means helping students figure out what they are arguing about complex and multifaceted topics with which they tend to have, in clinical mental health terms, deeply codependent relationships. . . .
. . . bell hooks calls the process “coming to voice”. . . . Confidence in their own authority allows them to say both “this is my argument” and “that could be my argument, but it is not.”
Making such claims is scary; they entail a lot of responsibility. Traditional feminist pedagogy — indebted to the ethics of care — provides an easy jumping-off point for discussing the responsibility an author has to sources and audience. . . .
But we lack a feminist discourse that grapples with the fact that, as Didion explains, writing is “. . . an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.” To be clear, that aggression inheres . . . in the act of clearing space (in one’s head, on the page, in the scholarly conversation) for one’s own vision and voice.
Writing in standard academic English, “the act of saying ‘I’” always already occurs over and against the voices of others. Writers dialogue with some of those voices, but to most of the others, they must say, “That could be my argument, but it is not.”