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Fall 2000, 28.2



James Sledd Return to Service
Gary A. Olson The Death of Composition as an Intellectual Discipline
Lynnell Major Edwards What Should We Call You? Women, Composition Studies, and the Question of Eminent Authority
Chris W. Gallagher "Just Give Them What They Need": Transforming the Transformative Intellectual
Maureen Daly Goggin and Susan Kay Miller What is New About the "New Abolitionists": Continuities and Discontinuities in the Great Debate


Review Essays

Beth Burmester Writing (into) the Academic Past, Present, and Future: Graduate Students, Curriculum Reform, and Doctoral Education in English Studies


Book Reviews

  Rethinking Basic Writing: Exploring Identity, Politics, and Community in Interaction, by Laura Gray-Rosendale
  Good Intentions: Writing Center Work for Postmodern Times, by Nancy Maloney Grimm



Horner and Lu / Gaillet; Seitz


Abstracts for Composition Studies

Sledd, James. "Return to Service." Composition Studies (28.2): 11-32.

Olson, Gary A. "The Death of Composition as an Intellectual Discipline." Composition Studies (28.2): 33-41.

Olson claims that composition studies is currently experiencing a revitalized backlash against a two-decade-long tradition of substantive theoretical scholarship. While he argues that hegemonic struggle over the identity of a discipline is healthy, he takes issue with the meanspiritedness of several commentators.  As an example, he examines the assumptions and allegations in an essay by Wendy Bishop.  He contends that if composition is to continue as an intellectual enterprise scholars need to adopt Chantal Mouffe's notion of adversarial relationships, which advocates respect for ideological differences.

Edwards, Lynnell Major. "What Should We Call You? Women, Composition Studies, and the Question of Eminent Authority."Composition Studies (28.2): 43-59.

 This narrative essay examines the difficult process of "naming" the subject as it unfolds both in the author's professional life in her first faculty appointment, and as the field of composition studies has struggled to define itself as an academic discipline.  Drawing on personal experience, feminist and historical studies of composition, and the work of Italian feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero, the author describes how composition studies and the woman in the classroom can occupy a position of eminence that recovers its strength from both the margins and the origins of history.

Gallagher, Chris. "'Just Give Them What They Need': Transforming the Transformative Intellectual." Composition Studies (28.2): 61-83.
This essay explores how concepts of "critical literacy' and "transformative intellectual" have been taken up in composition and critical pedagogy.  Although supportive of the goals of critical composition, the essay argues that this discourse often tends to theorize "critical literacy" projects for and around teachers and students, rather than with them, and that it posits ãtransformationä in sweeping and unrealistic terms.  In response, this essay offers a rewriting of these concepts to account for everyday acts--by students and teachers--of "institutional literacy."  Weaving institutional narratives with readings of critical composition scholarship, the essay calls on composition scholars and teachers to attend to the necessary dialectic between envisioning and enacting ãcriticalä pedagogical and scholarly projects.

Goggin, Maureen Daly and Susan Kay Miller. "What is New About the 'New Abolitionists': Continuities and Discontinuities in the Great Debate." Composition Studies (28.2): 85-112.

This essay examines and describes some of the positions held by those arguing for systemic change in the teaching of writing. These arguments, coming primarily from those who have been called new abolitionists, do not seem to be well understood. The primary purpose of this essay is to dispel apparent misconceptions about the goals and motivations of those challenging the status quo. More specifically, we outline the discontinuities between earlier abolitionist calls and recent new abolitionist arguments to illustrate that in these newer calls lies the potential for heading off in new directions and for carving multiple systemic paths for writing instruction in response to local institutional exigencies. Instead of proposing yet another alternative, we argue that those of us in the field of rhetoric and composition need to move beyond efforts to create a univocal position on the teaching of composition and make space for multiple options for writing instruction.

Burmester, Beth. "Writing (into) the Academic Past, Present, and Future: Graduate Students, Curriculum Reform, and Doctoral Education in English Studies." Composition Studies (28.2): 113-135.

This essay reviews Stephen M. North's Refiguring the Ph.D. in English Studies: Writing, Doctoral Education, and The Fusion-Based Curriculum (NCTE, 2000). North's text makes central graduate student writing, particularly at SUNY-Albany, and the role of graduate students in changing doctoral education. Placing North's evocative proposals into the context of other scholarship on graduate education and the representation of graduate students, this review traces the ways academics talk about what they do, and suggests how to change our language practices, as well as curriculums, in order to better integrate doctoral students into their own educational process, as well as socialize them into the field.