Rhetoric and Composition as Intellectual Work
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In response to those who insist that rhetoric and composition should remain only a service discipline, editor Gary A. Olson’s Rhetoric and Composition as Intellectual Work demonstrates that it already is an intellectual discipline, that for at least a quarter of a century the field has developed an impressive tradition of intellectual work in a remarkable assortment of subject areas. Rhetoric and Composition as Intellectual Work suggests the diversity of intellectual projects that have and will continue to make rhetoric and composition more than a service to the university, more than a field devoted solely to improving writing pedagogy, and more than a preliminary to literary studies.
This collection of nineteen essays by some of the most distinguished scholars in the discipline illustrates that rhetoric and composition has much to contribute to the intellectual milieu of the contemporary university, as the field continues to push its disciplinary borders and discover new sites of investigation.
struggle. Since the beginnings of composition as a field, we all have been struggling over how to define it, over its heart and soul. Certain people—with good intentions and pure motives—labored to make it a social science, drawing heavily on developmental psychology and related fields. Others—with equally pure motives—disagreed, insisting that composition should be a more humanistic discipline that draws on the work of "creative" writers and on our own self-reflection about the writing process.
they say or write doesn't matter very much beyond its immediate scene of production. Composition becomes the manipulation of words for its own sake. (168) Crowley's persuasive argument for invention follows in the tradition of work by Richard Young and Janice Lauer, who found in invention a rhetorical launching point for composition studies, connecting it with philosophy, cognitive science, physics, and process writing in composition. Why, then, in the face of these persuasive and historically
the views of "left-wing Liberals,... Marxian Christians in our churches, and . . . NeoSocialists, teachers and preachers in the schools." And Eastland added to his attack the charge that "the country has entered an era of judicial tyranny" and that "the Court has responded to a radical, pro-Communist political movement" (qtd. in Blaustein and Ferguson 8).3 Besides such receptions noted in the mass media, there began a calmer interpretive history of Brown within professional law journals. In one
(36; Kennedy's bracketed terms). In a lengthy footnote, Kennedy points to the word "dynamis," saying that it signifies "ability, capacity, faculty, and potentiality," and the word theoresai signifies "to see." Together, then they signify "ability to see" (36-37). I Am a Theorist As a member of the field of rhetoric and composition, I have always (all ways) considered myself to be a theorist, a theoretician. I am solely, yet boundlessly, concerned with theorEYEzing. When I write "boundlessly," I
questions. What does rhetoric have to do with composition? Why should anyone want a degree in rhetoric? Do you have a degree in rhetoric? Why do you study and teach literature? Is critical theory the same as rhetoric? How are linguistics or discourse studies (variously defined) related to rhetoric, or composition, or both? Now, as at the beginning, some faculty and students openly scorn and discourage graduate courses and degrees in rhetoric and composition unless rhetoric is strongly aligned