Composition StudiesComposition StudiesUniversity of Cincinnati

Composition Studies

Spring 2001, 29.1

Articles

Richard McNabb Making the Gesture: Graduate Student Submissions and the Expectations of Journal Referees
Candace Spigelman Reconstructing Authority: Negotiating Power in Democratic Learning Sites
Richard Marback Learning to Inhabit Writing
Granville Ganter The Art of Prophecy: Interpretive Analysis, Academic Discourse, and Expository Writing
Jeffrey Carroll Repellent Culture

Course Design

David Seitz English 780: Teaching Research Writing

Review Essays

Alice M. Gillam The Road to Hell: Good Intentions and their Unintended Effects
Laura R. Micciche Writing through Trauma: The Emotional Dimensions of Teaching Writing

Exchanges

Gray-Rosendale/Horner

Abstracts for Composition Studies 29.1

McNabb, Richard. "Making the Gesture: Graduate Student Submissions and the Expectations of Journal Referees."  Composition Studies (29.1): 9-26.

Graduate programs in rhetoric and composition studies often fail to discuss a graduate studentâs life as a publishing scholar. Despite their success at writing seminar papers, graduate students have not always learned the discursive conventions governing the ways of arguing and evaluating well enough to turn these papers into publishable articles. This essay argues for the importance of gesturing to the fieldâs discursive conventions when writing for publication.  Using graduate student submissions to Rhetoric Review (RR), this essay discusses two forms of gesturing, concluding that recognizing these gestures leads to important discoveries about how knowledge is constructed in the field and how emerging scholars can participate in that construction.

Spigelman, Candice. "Reconstructing Authority: Negotiating Power in Democratic Learning Sites."  Composition Studies (29.1): 27-49.

To further complicate the problem of power relations in democratic classrooms, Candace Spigelman describes her efforts to develop a model of shared classroom authority using peer group leaders in a first-year basic writing class. Drawing upon learning center theory, she examines the student mentors' positionings within their groups, their group members' constructions of their authority, and their conflicted status in the seminar class.  Spigelman shows that in these democratic classroom settings, power was repeatedly resisted, negotiated, and re-centered.  She argues that, like traditional models, newer practices are subject to institutional figurations which continue to concentrate power in teachers and limit students' authority at every level and instructional site.

Marback, Richard. "Learning to Inhabit Writing." Composition Studies (29.1): 51-62.

Many compositionists are currently exploring the relationship between real places such as cities and acts of writing. In disciplines such as geography and urban planning, researchers are also exploring the relationship between real places and acts of speaking and writing. The mutual interest in language and space provides an opportunity for compositionists to refine their thinking and to enrich their teaching practices. Drawing on theories of literacy and rhetoric that have been developed in geography and urban planning, Richard Marback proposes a richer spatial vocabulary for composition studies. He concludes with a description of several assignments based on this vocabulary.

Ganter, Granville. "The Art of Prophecy: Interpretive Analysis, Academic Discourse, and Expository Writing." Composition Studies (29.1): 63-79.

Granville Ganterâs essay, "The Art of Prophecy: Interpretive Analysis, Academic Discourse, and Expository Writing," argues that composition students would benefit from an introduction to interpretive analysis. Both a rhetorical protocol (a type of writing) and a cognitive practice (a habit of mind), analysis is a central part of academic discourse. The essay points out the scarcity of discussions of critical analysis in contemporary writing textbooks and syllabi, and offers several ways to highlight skills in analysis in class exercises and readings. The essay concludes that skills in prophecy, or analytic interpretation, are the tools with which writers change the future.

Carroll, Jeffrey. "Repellent Culture." Composition Studies (29.1): 81-93.

Writing about culture dominates much composition pedagogy today, yet much of culture is viewed as sites of injustice and violence, and often inspires only retrospective critiques from the margin.  The essay analyzes newspaper accounts of the Patrick Dorismond case as the author argues for writing about the keywords of cultural texts in such a way as to exchange personal visions for public ones. Student texts reflect experiences that both precede and follow the specific moments of our cultural histories; such an approach may increase students' abilities to frame concepts of personal and social freedom within acknowledged cultural constraints.

Gillam, Alice M. "The Road to Hell: Good Intentions and their Unintended Effects." Composition Studies (29.1): 123-129.

Micciche, Laura R. "Writing Through Trauma: The Emotional Dimensions of Teaching Writing." Composition Studies (29.1): 131-141.

In "Writing Through Trauma: The Emotional Dimensions of Teaching Writing,"Micciche reviews Writing and Healing: Toward an Informed Practice (Anderson and MacCurdy) and Bodily Discourses: When Students Write About Abuse and Eating Disorders (Payne).  She writes that the dual personal and social function of agency is at the heart of both books as they foreground connections between student writing about trauma and the social contexts in which trauma happens and is understood.  The editors and contributors convincingly argue that teachers need to have a repertoire of skills for responding to such writing and an approach to pedagogical theory that takes this reality into account.  In addition, both books suggest very promising possibilities for further studies of how pathos might inflect our understandings of writing, teaching, administration, and professional life.