Writing and Language Studies Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Book Review

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Compositionists (a community in which I include myself) often work with a chip on our shoulders. Perhaps we find the chip during grad school or when we are asked to teach an overload or when a literature professor’s summer course does not make and they demand a section of first year writing instead or because so many of us remain contingent faculty. Whenever and however the chip appeared, many of us have felt or discussed its presence: we, and our courses, are the misunderstood and much maligned. In fact, this is “the field’s conventional historical narrative, [that] composition is marginalized in higher education because instructions are ambivalent at best and hostile at worst to composition as a scholarly and pedagogical object” (19). The conventional response to this conventional narrative has been (ultimately for the better, probably) efforts of legitimation: philosophies, scholarships, journals, societies, conferences, methods, research—activity that Sharon Crowley has called “the topos of improvement = appreciation” (qtd in Skinnell 20).


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