Exploring Composition Studies: Sites, Issues, Perspectives
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Kelly Ritter and Paul Kei Matsuda have created an essential introduction to the field of composition studies for graduate students and instructors new to the study of writing. The book offers a careful exploration of this diverse field, focusing specifically on scholarship of writing and composing. Within this territory, the authors draw the boundaries broadly, to include allied sites of research such as professional and technical writing, writing across the curriculum programs, writing centers, and writing program administration. Importantly, they represent composition as a dynamic, eclectic field, influenced by factors both within the academy and without. The editors and their sixteen seasoned contributors have created a comprehensive and thoughtful exploration of composition studies as it stands in the early twenty-first century. Given the rapid growth of this field and the evolution of it research and pedagogical agendas over even the last ten years, this multi-vocal introduction is long overdue.
users of, say, Mandarin Chinese, who have learned English as an adult, it may take many years before they can fully acquire English-specific features such as articles, prepositions, and plural noun inflections, which do not exist in their native language. Another possible difference is that second language writers may be highly literate in their native language, and may be able to apply literate strategies from their native language as they write in English. The use of translation is also a
articulation to rhetoric, composition studies and professional writing also share attention to audience. In Cross-Talk, Victor Villanueva includes Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford’s “Audience Addressed/Audience Invoked: The Role of Audience in Composition Theory and Pedagogy” within a category of “givens” within the field of composition studies: attention to audience is a given within composition. Similarly, audience is cited by Allen and Benninghoff in their survey of professional writing programs
Extending the Conversation (Gillespie et al.) and The Center Will Hold: Critical Perspectives on Writing Center Scholarship (Pemberton and Kinkead). Likewise, the number of theses and dissertations produced after 2000 showed “remarkable growth,” exceeding the number of those from all previous decades combined (Lerner, “Introduction” 6). Summing up the current state of the field, Melissa Nicolas finds that “writing center scholarship is on the cusp of a new Writing Center Scholarship 75
Drawing on the work of, among others, Brian Street and the New London Group, Grimm points to the complicity of writing centers in unfair educational literacy practices, particularly when these centers do the institution’s dirty work of regulating nonstandard student populations. Rather than helping individual writers, our well-intentioned attempts instead manage to pin the blame on them. Using the metaphor of noise as a means of orchestrating a range of postmodern theories, Boquet echoes many of
Centers: Scenarios in Effective Program Management (Myers-Breslin) The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher: Inquiry in Action and Reflection (Rose and Weiser) The Writing Program Administrator’s Resource: A Guide to Reflective Institutional Practice (Brown and Enos) The Writing Program Administrator as Theorist: Inquiry in Action and Reflection (Rose and Weiser) Tenured Bosses and Disposable Teachers: Writing Instruction in the Managed University (Bousquet, Scott, and Parascondola)