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thresholds and concepts
Benjamin Miller EngLit 2525-1300, Class Number 30805
email: Spring 2017, Th 2:00–4:50pm
office: Cathedral of Learning 617-N class location: CL 512
office hours: TuW 1:00-3:00pm, or by appointment

Our course website:
All this information and more is posted there. Please sign up as soon as you can!

Table of Contents
I. Course Description
II. Required Textbooks
III. Welcome Letter
IV. Avoiding Plagiarism
V. Available Resources at Pitt
The Writing Center
Special Assistance
Counseling Services
VI. Class-by-Class Schedule

This seminar will offer an introduction to Rhetoric/Composition/Writing Studies as an academic
discipline – including some of the reasons for, and consequences of, its difficulty finding a name for
itself. Drawing on both historical and current scholarship, we will explore threshold concepts of the
field and consider the range of both methodologies and subjects engaged by RCWS research. Over
the course of the semester, a series of short projects will help students locate themselves in relation
to the field, whether they identify as compositionists or not. The final project for the semester will
be a colloquium, with students presenting revised versions of their earlier work.

1. Please obtain the following textbook, which has been ordered at the University Bookstore:

Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle, eds. Naming What We Know:
Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. 1st edition. Logan: Utah State
University Press, 2015.
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 2

I've ordered it to the Pitt bookstore, but it should be readily available on Amazon. Please get a copy
at your earliest convenience.

2. Please choose one of the following three books, depending on your anticipated needs in the

Miller, Susan, ed. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. New York: W. W. Norton & Company,

The most comprehensive of the three, with summaries and headnotes for each included text and
alternate tables of contents for easier remix. Especially strong on history and theory, so go with this if
you're aiming to do or teach that kind of research and/or you're a fan of extremely thin pages. I've
ordered this one to the Pitt bookstore, too.

Villanueva, Victor, and Kristin L. Arola. Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. 3rd edition.
Urbana, Ill: National Council of Teachers of English, 2011.

Like the Norton, it's intended as a thick entree into the field for graduate students. As the title
suggests, this is more oriented toward debates within the field, but not in any particularly heated way.
As the title might not suggest, the book is mostly oriented toward how we might or do teach writing,
including digital writing. A good option for any compositionist (it's what I used in grad school),
perhaps especially if you're interested in writing program administration.

Johnson, T. R., ed. Teaching Composition: Background Readings. 3rd ed. New York NY:
Bedford/St. Martins, 2008.

A decidedly slimmer volume, but still including a lot of key scholarship on writing process and writing
pedagogy, including assessment. If you don't see yourself especially invested in the field of comp/rhet per se,
but suspect you will be involved in teaching it, this is a solid choice.

3. You will also be responsible for locating, printing (if online), and reading additional relevant
texts using the library database system (again, see links at lower left of the website). I and Pitt’s
reference librarians will happily assist you in this process.
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 3

Dear members of Pitt’s Finest Graduate Programs,
Welcome to room 512, and to Composition Studies: Thresholds and Concepts!
In giving the course this title, I’m mindful of a few adjacent courses – alternate possible
futures for our next 15 weeks – that I’ve tried to remain distinct from. This is not a pedagogy
course, though I think there are some clear pedagogical implications of the concepts we’ll be
studying. And though I expect we’ll encounter many of the wide range of research methods and
approaches to knowledge-making in composition, it’s not really a research methods course, either.
It is, in some ways, a history course, although that’s also not quite right, because I’m less focused
here on what happened, when, than I am on the big picture that emerged. I guess what I’m hoping
you’ll take away from the course is a sense of being-in-composition – what the world might look
like from that perspective, and what your colleagues or future colleagues might mean if they say
they’re “in composition,” and why.
The course takes its subtitle and general structure from a recent book, which I’ve asked you
to buy: Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts in Writing Studies, henceforward NWWK. As
the editors explain in their introduction, the book is collaboratively authored: 29 leading scholars
participated in an extended conversation on a wiki (NWWK 3-4) to determine what declarative (and
transformative) knowledge they could agree on. All together they proposed 51 statements, edited
them extensively, and put into the book the 37 most “final-for-now definitions of some of what our
field knows” (4). Now, you may already know this, or you may come to realize it soon, but this is
not a neutral thing to do: there will be (have been) people within comp/rhet who oppose any sort of
codification or generalization of knowledge, no matter how many hedge-words get attached to it.
A little background on these two editors: Linda Adler-Kassner is the current chair of CCCC
(the Conference on College Composition and Communication), and the title of the conference she
led last year was Writing Strategies for Action. She’s also the author of The Activist WPA (that’s
“writing program administrator,” not “works progress administration”), and she was for several
years the coordinator of something called the WPA Network for Media Action, which worked to
promote the voices of composition scholars on the national stage of education policy. She’s not one
to shy away from a fight. Elizabeth Wardle is the author of quite a number of things, but she’s
perhaps best known for her work with Doug Downs on Writing About Writing, now a textbook into
its second edition, advancing the somewhat radical idea that students in first-year composition
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 4

should read scholarship about rhetoric, literacy, and writing process, so that the subject matter of the
writing class is actually how people write and learn to write.
Full disclosure: I tend to agree that the field has content, that we’ve learned things in
studying composition for the last 75 years. (Not everyone does! Ask Steve North, or David Smit, or
that guy who wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Ed last year and whom Doug Hesse respectfully
smacked down this week.) My sense is that even as things change over time, even as the local
context may be infinitely varied in its particulars, there is still value in producing some kind of
picture, or map, or set of principles, if only so we can understand and know what’s changed. But
more than that, I’m someone who has at various points in his life felt like everyone around me knew
far more about what was going on than I did, and so I make a point of offering guideposts, ways of
orienting newcomers within the overwhelm.
And that’s what this course is intended to provide. It doesn’t cover every conversation in the
field – the map can’t be the terrain – but it does try to give you ways in to a number of those
conversations, whether active research areas or assumed understandings.
Each week I’ll ask you to read about 80-100 pages, mostly articles, most of which you can
find online. (At this point, those of you who’ve already bought the huge anthologies are probably
wondering why you did so. Two reasons, at least. First, because they’ll be good companions to you:
many’s the time I’ve stumbled into some new area of inquiry and thought, “Um, was I supposed to
know this?” and then turned to the anthologies and found some orienting starting point. Second,
they’re a way of signaling just how many areas of inquiry there are in this field: we’ll leave more of
their pages unturned than turned.) Many of the texts I’ll ask you to read will be “classic” texts in
composition studies: the award-winners, the highly cited, the pieces that changed a lot of minds.
Some will be later arguments or studies by similarly major players. And some will be more
contemporary pieces, with which I’ll try to show how the conversation has evolved, or where it
seems to be heading now. The selections are, unavoidably, somewhat idiosyncratic; they show
where my mind has been or gone. But I hope you won’t hold it too much against me.
Each week we’ll follow one thread through the threshold concepts, but not in the order
recommended by Adler-Kassner and Wardle. This is a highly interlinked set of concepts (it started
as a wiki, after all), and I’ve tried, where I could, to double-count them toward a loose historical
overview of the field. So we’ll start, after one week of the big picture, back in the process era, the
late 1970s to early 1980s, to get at the fundamental idea that “Writing is a knowledge-making
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 5

activity” (among others).
(This may be a good time to flip to the schedule, if you haven’t already.)
We’ll spend some time thinking about writer’s block, error, and what is generally called
Basic Writing, before making “the social turn” to audience, ideology, and identity. The week before
Spring Break, we’ll revisit the so-called “Elbow-Bartholomae debate,” which you should know
about before you leave here – if only because you’re now associated with Pitt, and thus with Dave,
and it may shape the way you’re heard.
I have some well-laid plans for after Break, but really, I should know by now to wait and see
what happens with the people in the room!

All of this, I say, is how the readings are arranged; but this is, still, a composition class, and
so there will be writing, all the way through. Here’s how it’ll work. By next week, you’ll be divided
into three groups. For any given week, each group is responsible for a different role:
 Serve. In no more than 1-2 paragraphs, get the conversation started. Pose questions
you don’t already have the answer to. It may help to focus our attention on a
particular passage or two, or offer a lens through which to consider the readings.
What struck you that you hope your classmates will help you think through?
 Return. Choose two of the serves, and respond to the questions, provocations,
enticements, incitements, whatever you find. Directly responding to other return-
posts is optional but heartily encouraged. These posts, taken together, will become
the starting points for our next in-class discussion.
 Project. This one’s kind of a pun: it has to do with projecting outward from the
readings, but in doing so you’re also building something, a project. Twice before
Spring Break, when it’s your turn to have this role, you’ll do some outside
investigation to contextualize the pieces, places, people, or publications that make up
the disciplinary landscape. (I have some suggestions for what that might look like,
which we can talk about later.) After Spring Break, when this role comes around,
you’ll bring in a work-in-progress revised from something you wrote earlier: a serve,
a return, or a project. (We should talk in conferences around midterm about what you
might want to pursue, and what form it might take.)
At the end of the semester, we’ll have a symposium, or a mini-conference, to present a
final-for-now version of that revised piece. And the final assignment for the course as a
whole is a digital portfolio collecting your best work from the semester, and introducing
it with a reflection.
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 6

To make these roles function, serves will be due by Sunday at 6pm; returns will be due by
Wednesday at 6pm; they’ll all be posted to a discussion board on our site. This timeline is not my
way of being mean, but rather a means of making time to find ways into the conversation. The
general shape I’m imagining for each lesson will have time at the end of every class for groups to
prepare: for those on serve in the coming week to read ahead, and divvy up their approaches; for
those on return to begin thinking about a project; and for those on projects to get feedback or get
work done. The first half of class will be discussion, ideally led by those on serve.
For the coming week, I’ll be on serve, and you’ll all be on return; the rotation will start for
the following week (lesson 3).

It’s a lot of moving parts, I know, but I can honestly say that I’m excited to see what it all
builds into!

Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 7


This is a collaborative class, in which we offer each other suggestions and constructive criticism.
However, the goal of all this collaboration is to clarify the expression of original ideas – never to
substitute someone else's ideas for our own, or to impose our ideas on someone else.

To misrepresent the origins of an idea is plagiarism, and it will not be tolerated.
If you want to cite an outside source, there are ways of giving credit to the original author; section
33 of the Pocket Style Manual presents one standard method of documenting sources, and the
English department has some useful resources at

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask, because Pitt takes a very hard stance on plagiarism.
It could get you expelled. Here's an excerpt from the official Policy on Academic Integrity, to give
you the flavor:

Cheating/plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students suspected of violating the University of Pittsburgh
Policy on Academic Integrity, from the February 1974 Senate Committee on Tenure and Academic
Freedom reported to the Senate Council, will be required to participate in the outlined procedural
process as initiated by the instructor. A minimum sanction of a zero score for the quiz or exam will
be imposed.

A student has an obligation to exhibit honesty and to respect the ethical standards of the profession in
carrying out his or her academic assignments. Without limiting the application of this principle, a
student may be found to have violated this obligation if he or she: […]

8. Depends on the aid of others in a manner expressly prohibited by the faculty member, in the
research, preparation, creation, writing, performing, or publication of work to be submitted for
academic credit or evaluation.
9. Provides aid to another person, knowing such aid is expressly prohibited by the faculty member,
in the research, preparation, creation, writing, performing, or publication of work to be submitted
for academic credit or evaluation.
10. Presents as one's own, for academic evaluation, the ideas, representations, or words of another
person or persons without customary and proper acknowledgment of sources.
11. Submits the work of another person in a manner which represents the work to be one's own.
12. Knowingly permits one's work to be submitted by another person without the faculty member's

You have the right to a fair hearing, and I’ll talk to you before I talk to anyone else, but it’s far
easier just to avoid plagiarism in the first place. All clear cases of deliberate plagiarism will be
referred to the appropriate Dean for disciplinary action, including an Academic Integrity Board
hearing. For the University's full policy on Academic Integrity and the adjudication process for
infringements, including plagiarism, go to
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 8


The Writing Center
The Writing Center, located at 317B O'Hara Student Center, is an excellent resource for working
with an experienced consultant on your writing. Although you should not expect consultants to
“correct” your paper for you, they can assist you in learning to organize, revise, and edit your work.
Consultants can work with you on a one-time basis or throughout the term. In some cases, I may
require that you go to the Writing Center for help on a particular problem; otherwise, you can
decide on your own to seek assistance. To make an appointment, come to the Writing Center or call
412-624-6556. For more information, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit

Disability Resources
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are
encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Disability Resources and Services, 140
William Pitt Union, 412-648-7890 / 412-624-3346 (Fax), as early as possible in the term. Disability
Resources and Services will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for
this course. For more information, visit

Counseling Services
Pitt also offers free counseling for students who are experiencing personal or emotional difficulties.
The Counseling Center, located on the 2nd Floor Nordenberg Hall, offers Psychological Services
and Sexual Assault Services (412-648-7930) (8:30 am-5:00 pm, Monday-Friday) or (412-648-7856)
(after 5 pm, Monday-Friday or on weekends). For more information, see
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 9


The following schedule is just a preview; the full and most up-to-date version will be posted on the
course wiki (, including more detailed explanations of each
homework assignment and full lesson plans with space for collaborative notes. This gives me more
flexibility to adapt the specifics to our needs as a reading and writing community.

Reading assignments are listed on the day they are due to be discussed, not the day they are assigned.
Unless specified as [scan], all assigned texts not in Naming What We Know should be retrievable online,
either through PittCat+ or Open Access journals and websites.

"Serves" for these readings are due by 6pm on the Sunday before that class; "returns" are due by 6pm
on Wednesday. (See welcome letter, above, for more on what that means.) This timeline is not my way
of being mean, but rather a means of making time to find ways into the conversation.

In addition to posting to the wiki, you should in general also bring a copy of assigned readings and
your written work to class, so that we have access to it for in-class discussion and/or revisions.
Electronic copies are fine, as long as you can take notes.

Class meeting: By this day, read…
Theme(s) of the

Thursday,  Emig, Janet. "The Composing Process: Review of the Literature." The
January 5 Composing Processes of Twelfth Graders. NCTE, 1971. 7-31. [Norton or
Google Books]
Structures; Plans

Thursday,  Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle. “Naming What We Know: The
January 12 Project of This Book.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of
Writing Studies. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle. 1st edition.
Writing is an Logan: Utah State University Press, 2015. 1–11.
Activity and a  Hairston, Maxine. “The Winds of Change: Thomas Kuhn and the Revolution in
Subject of Study the Teaching of Writing.” CCC 33.1 (1982): 76–88.
 Foster, David. “What Are We Talking About When We Talk About
Composition?” JAC: Journal of Advanced Composition (1988): 30–40.
 Haswell, Richard H. “NCTE/CCCC’s Recent War on Scholarship.” Written
Communication 22.2 (2005): 198–223. Sage Journals Online. Web.
 Phelps, Louise Wetherbee, and John M. Ackerman. “Making the Case for
Disciplinarity in Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies: The Visibility
Project.” CCC 62.1 (2010): 180-215.
 EXT for eager readers
o Yancey, Kathleen Blake. “Introduction: Coming to Terms:
Composition/Rhetoric, Threshold Concepts, and a Disciplinary
Core.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing
Studies. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle. 1 edition.
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 10 Projects

Logan: Utah State University Press, 2015. xvii–xxxi.

Thursday,  NWWK 1.1: "Writing is a knowledge-making activity." 19-20
January 19  NWWK 1.9: "Writing is a technology through which writers create and
recreate meaning." 32-34
Writing and  NWWK 5.0: "Writing is (also always) a cognitive activity." 71-74.
Revision are  NWWK 4.4: "Revision is central to developing writing." 66-67
Knowledge-  Britton, James et al. “Shaping at the Point of Utterance.” Reinventing the
Making and Rhetorical Tradition, eds. Aviva Freedman and Ian Pringle. Ontario: Canadian
Meaning-Making Council of Teachers of English and L & S Books, 1980. Reprinted in The
Activities Norton Book of Composition Studies. Ed. Susan Miller. New York: W. W.
Norton & Company, 2009. 461–466. [Norton, scan]
 Berthoff, Ann E. “Learning the Uses of Chaos.” The Making of Meaning:
Metaphors, Models, and Maxims for Writing Teachers. Boynton/Cook
Publishers, 1981. [Norton, TC:BR, scan]
 Perl, Sondra. “Understanding Composing.” CCC 31.4 (1980): 363–369.
 Perl, Sondra. “The Composing Processes of Unskilled College
Writers.” RTE 13.4 (1979): 317–336. [CTCT]
 Flower, Linda, and John R. Hayes. “The Cognition of Discovery: Defining a
Rhetorical Problem.” CCC 31.1 (1980): 21–32. [Norton]
 Sommers, Nancy. “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced
Adult Writers.” CCC 31.4 (1980): 378–388. [Norton, CTCT, TC:BR]
 Murray, Donald M. “Writing and Teaching for Surprise.” College English 46.1
(1984): 1–7.
 Delagrange, Susan H. “When Revision Is Redesign: Key Questions for Digital
Scholarship.” Kairos14.1 (2009): 11.
 EXT for eager readers
o Flower, Linda, and John R. Hayes. “A Cognitive Process Theory of
Writing.” CCC 32.4 (1981): 365–387.

Thursday,  NWWK 1.6: "Writing is not natural." 27-29
January 26  NWWK 4.2: "Failure can be an important part of writing development." 62-64.
 NWWK 5.3: "Habituated practice can lead to entrenchment." 77-78
Writing is  Flower, Linda. “Writer-Based Prose: A Cognitive Basis for Problems in
Neither Natural Writing.” College English 41.1 (1979): 19–37.
Nor Learned  Rose, Mike. “Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language: A
Only Once Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block.” CCC 31.4 (1980): 389–401. [TC:BR]
 Berkenkotter, Carol, and Donald M. Murray. “Decisions and Revisions: The
Planning Strategies of a Publishing Writer, and Response of a Laboratory Rat:
Or, Being Protocoled.” CCC 34.2 (1983): 156–172.
 Bartholomae, David. “The Study of Error.” CCC 31.3 (1980): 253–269.
 Williams, Joseph M. “The Phenomenology of Error.” CCC 32.2 (1981): 152–
168. [Norton]
 EXT for eager readers
o Murray, Donald M. “The Essential Delay: When Writer’s Block
Isn’t.” When a Writer Can’t Write: Studies in Writer’s Block and
Other Composing-Process Problems. Ed. Mike Rose. Guilford Press,
1985. 219–226. [Norton]
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 11 Projects

Thursday,  NWWK 4.1: "Text is an object outside of oneself that can be improved and
February 2 developed." 61-62
 NWWK 2.1: "Writing represents the world, events, ideas, and feelings." 37-39
Error,  NWWK 2.6: "Texts get their meaning from other texts." 44-46
Expectation, and  Shaughnessy, Mina P. “Introduction.” Errors and Expectations: A Guide for
Contested Terms: the Teacher of Basic Writing. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. 1–13.
Complicating [Norton]
Basic Writing  Lu, Min-Zhan. “Redefining the Legacy of Mina Shaughnessy: A Critique of
the Politics of Linguistic Innocence.” JBW (1991): 26–40. [Norton]
 Ray, Brian. “A New World: Redefining the Legacy of Min-Zhan
Lu.” JBW (2008): 106–127.
 Flores, Nelson. “Beyond Charity: Partial Narratives as a Metaphor for Basic
Writing.” JBW 29.2 (2010): 31–49.
 EXT for eager readers
o Harris, Joseph. “Error.” A Teaching Subject: Composition since 1966.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997. 76–90. Prentice Hall
Studies in Writing and Culture. [TC:BR]

Thursday,  NWWK 1.0: "Writing is a social and rhetorical activity." 17-19
February 9  NWWK 1.2: "Writing addresses, invokes, and/or creates audiences." 20-21
 NWWK 1.3: "Writing expresses and shares meaning to be reconstructed by the
Writing is Social, reader." 21-23
Rhetorical, and  Ong, Walter J. “The Writer’s Audience Is Always a Fiction.” PMLA 90.1
Transactional (1975): 9–21. [CTCT]
 Ede, Lisa, and Andrea Lunsford. “Audience Addressed/Audience Invoked: The
Role of Audience in Composition Theory and Pedagogy.” CCC 35.2 (1984):
155–171. [CTCT]
 Lunsford, Andrea A., and Lisa Ede. “Representing Audience: ‘Successful’
Discourse and Disciplinary Critique.” CCC 47.2 (1996): 167–179. [Norton]
 Elbow, Peter. “Closing My Eyes as I Speak: An Argument for Ignoring
Audience.” College English 49.1 (1987): 50–69. [TC:BR]
 DePalma, Michael-John, and Kara Poe Alexander. “A Bag Full of Snakes:
Negotiating the Challenges of Multimodal Composition.” Computers and
Composition 37 (2015): 182–200. CrossRef.

Thursday,  NWWK 3.0: "Writing enacts and creates identities and ideologies." 48-50
February 16  NWWK 3.3: "Writing is informed by prior experience." 54-55.
 NWWK 4.3: "Learning to write effectively requires different kinds of practice,
Writing Enacts time, and effort." 64-65
and Creates  Bartholomae, David. “Inventing the University.” When Writers Can’t Write:
Identities and Studies in Writer’s Block and Other Composing Process Problems. Ed. Mike
Ideologies, Rose. N.p., 1985. 134–165. [Norton, CTCT, TC:BR]
Drawing on and  Berlin, James. “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class.” College
Leading To English 50.5 (1988): 477–494. [Norton, TC:BR]
Different Kinds  Harris, Joseph. “The Idea of Community in the Study of Writing.” CCC 40.1
of Experiences (1989): 11–22. [Norton]
 Moore, Jessie. “Mapping the Questions: The State of Writing-Related Transfer
Research.” Composition Forum 26 (2012): n. pag. 2 Jan. 2017.
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 12 Projects

 EXT for eager readers
More on transfer research:
o Robertson, Liane, Kara Taczak, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. “Notes
Toward a Theory of Prior Knowledge and Its Role in College
Composers’ Transfer of Knowledge and Practice.” Composition
Forum 26 (2012): n. pag. 6 Aug. 2014.
More classics from the social turn:
o Bizzell, Patricia. “Cognition, Convention, and Certainty: What We
Need to Know About Writing.” Pre/Text 3.3 (1982): 213–243.
[Norton, CTCT]
o Faigley, Lester. “Competing Theories of Process: A Critique and a
Proposal.” College English 48.6 (1986): 527–542. [Norton]
A flare-up over cultural-critical pedagogy:
o Hairston, Maxine. “Diversity, Ideology, and Teaching
Writing.” CCC 43.2 (1992): 179–193. [TC:BR]
o Trimbur, John et al. “Responses to Maxine Hairston, ‘Diversity,
Ideology, and Teaching Writing’ and Reply.” CCC 44.2 (1993): 248–
And another, ten years later, over social-epistemic research:
o Rhodes, Keith, and Monica M. Robinson. “Sheep in Wolves’
Clothing: How Composition’s Social Construction Reinstates
Expressivist Solipsism (And Even Current-Traditional
Conservatism).” The Journal of the Assembly for Expanded
Perspectives on Learning 19.1 (2013): 8-22.

Thursday,  NWWK 3.1: "Writing is linked to identity."
February 23  NWWK 3.2: "Writers' histories, processes, and identites vary." 52-54
 NWWK 1.8: "Writing involves making ethical choices." 31-32
Writing Involves  NWWK 4.6: "Writing involves the negotiation of writing differences." 68-70
the Negotiation  Royster, Jacqueline Jones. “When the First Voice You Hear Is Not Your
of Differences, Own.” CCC 47.1 (1996): 29–40. [Norton, CTCT]
Including  Delpit, Lisa. “The Politics of Teaching Literate Discourse.” Freedom’s plough:
Differing Teaching in the multicultural classroom (1993): 285–295. [Norton, TC:BR,
Identities and scan]
Histories  Villanueva, Victor. “‘Memoria’ Is a Friend of Ours: On the Discourse of
Color.” College English 67.1 (2004): 9–19. [CTCT]
 Canagarajah, A. Suresh. “The Place of World Englishes in Composition:
Pluralization Continued.” CCC 57.4 (2006): 586–619. [Norton]
 EXT for eager readers
o Flynn, Elizabeth A. “Composing as a Woman.” CCC 39.4 (1988):
423–435. [CTCT]
o Flynn, Elizabeth A. “Composing ‘Composing as a Woman’: A
Perspective on Research.” CCC 41.1 (1990): 83–89. [CTCT]
o Matsuda, Paul Kei. “The Myth of Linguistic Homogeneity in U.S.
College Composition.” College English 68.6 (2006): 637–651.
o Conference on College Composition and Communication. “Students’
Right to Their Own Language (with Bibliography).” Apr. 1974,
updated Nov. 2003, Aug. 2006, Nov. 2014. 5 Jan. 2017.
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 13 Projects

Thursday,  NWWK 3.4: "Disciplinary and professional identities are constructed through
March 2 writing." 55-56
 NWWK 3.5: "Writing provides a representation of ideologies and identities."
Revisiting the 57-58
Bartholomae–  Elbow, Peter. “Reflections on Academic Discourse: How It Relates to
Elbow “Debate” Freshmen and Colleagues.” College English 53.2 (1991): 135–155.
about the  Bartholomae, David. “Writing with Teachers: A Conversation with Peter
Nature and Role Elbow.” CCC 46.1 (1995): 62–71.
of Academic  Elbow, Peter. “Being a Writer vs. Being an Academic: A Conflict in
Discourse Goals.” CCC 46.1 (1995): 72–83.
 Bartholomae, David, and Peter Elbow. “Responses to Bartholomae and
Elbow.” CCC 46.1 (1995): 84–92.
 Mlynarczyk, Rebecca Williams. “Personal and Academic Writing: Revisiting
the Debate.” JBW 25.1 (2006): 4–25.
 Schwartz, J. Brian. “Fear of Narrative: Revisiting the Bartholomae-Elbow
Debate through the Figure of the Writing Teacher in Contemporary American
Fiction.” Rhetoric Review 26.4 (2007): 425–439.
 EXT for eager readers
More background:
o Elbow, Peter. “The Process of Writing – Growing.” Writing without
Teachers. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. 12–47.
o Elbow, Peter. “The Process of Writing – Cooking.” Writing without
Teachers. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. 48–75.
More responses:
o Bialostosky, Don H. “Romantic Resonances.” CCC 46.1 (1995): 92–
o Bishop, Wendy. “If Winston Weathers Would Just Write to Me on E-
Mail.” CCC 46.1 (1995): 97–103.
o Welsh, Susan. “Writing: In and with the World.” CCC 46.1 (1995):


Thursday, March 16: No class today: CCCC.

 Write a review for Kairos:
If you'll be attending, write up a session; if you won’t be attending, follow the twitterstream (#4c17
plus various session and event hashtags) and report, if only to us, on the experience.
 Post a draft to the wiki.

Thursday,  NWWK 5.1: "Writing is an expression of embodied cognition." (74-75)
March 23:  NWWK 5.2: "Metacognition is not cognition." 75-76
Sondra Perl visit  NWWK 2.4: "All writing is multimodal." 42-43
 Perl, Sondra. “Composing Texts, Composing Lives.” Harvard Educational
Writing Involves Review 64.4 (1994): 427-449.
Both the Body  Yergeau, Melanie et al. “Multimodality in Motion: Disability and Kairotic
and the Mind Spaces.” Kairos18.1 (2013): n. pag. 4 Jan. 2017.
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 14 Projects

 further texts t.b.d. in conversation with Sondra Perl

Thursday,  NWWK 1.5: "Writing mediates activity" 26-27
March 30  NWWK 2.5: "Writing is performative." 43-44
 Miller, Carolyn R. “Genre as Social Action.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 70.2
Writing Performs (1984): 151–167.
Work in Activity  Grant‐Davie, Keith. “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents.” Rhetoric
Systems Review 15.2 (1997): 264–279.
 Brandt, Deborah. “Sponsors of Literacy.” CCC 49.2 (1998): 165–185.
 Jones, John. “Network* Writing.” Kairos20.1 (2015): n.p.
 EXT for eager readers
o Miller, Carolyn R. “Genre as Social Action (1984), Revisited 30 Years
Later (2014).” Letras & Letras 31.3 (2015): 56–72.

Thursday,  NWWK 2.0: "Writing speaks to situations through recognizable forms." 35-37
April 6  NWWK 2.2: "Genres are enacted by writers and readers." 39-40
 Carter, Michael. “Ways of Knowing, Doing, and Writing in the
Writing Speaks to Disciplines.” CCC 58.3 (2007): 385–418.
Situations through  Russell, David R. “Rethinking Genre in School and Society: An Activity Theory
Recognizable Analysis.” Written Communication 14.4 (1997): 504–555.
Forms and  Bawarshi, Anis. “Beyond the Genre Fixation: A Translingual Perspective on
Meaningful Genre.” College English 78.3 (Jan 2016): 243-249.

Thursday,  NWWK 3.4: "Disciplinary and professional identities are constructed through
April 13 writing." 55-56
 NWWK 2.3: "Writing is a way of enacting disciplinarity." 40-41
Writing is a Way  Goggin, Maureen. “A Pot-Bound Garden: Some Thoughts on the Present State and
of Enacting and Future Directions of Rhetoric and Composition.” Authoring a Discipline: Scholarly
Constructing Journals and the Post-World War II Emergence of Rhetoric and
Disciplinary and Composition. Mahwah N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000. 185–209. [scan]
Professional  Mueller, Derek. “Grasping Rhetoric and Composition by Its Long Tail: What
Identities Graphs Can Tell Us about the Field’s Changing Shape.” CCC 64.1 (2012): 195–
 Skim the table of contents at, then read
the excerpts at and and click through on at least one article.
 Kennedy, Kristen. “The Fourth Generation.” CCC 59.3 (2008): 525–537.
 EXT for eager readers
o Coffey, Daniel. “A Discipline’s Composition: A Citation Analysis of
Composition Studies.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 32.2
(2006): 155–165.
o Miller, Benjamin. “Mapping the Methods of Composition/Rhetoric
Dissertations: A‘ Landscape Plotted and Pieced.’” CCC 66.1 (2014): 145-
o Yancey, Kathleen Blake. “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a
New Key.” CCC 56.2 (2004): 297–328.
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 15 Projects

Thursday, April  NWWK 4.0: "All writers have more to learn." 59-61
20  NWWK 5.4: "Reflection is critical for writers' development." 78-79
 NWWK 4.5: "Assessment is an essential component of learning to write." 67-68
All Writers Have  NWWK 1.7: "Assessing writing shapes contexts and instruction." 29-31
More to Learn  Yancey, Kathleen Blake. “On Reflection.” Reflection in the Writing
Through Classroom. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1998. 1-22.
Assessment and <>.
Reflection  White, Edward M. “The Scoring of Writing Portfolios: Phase 2.” CCC 56.4 (2005):
 Sommers, Nancy. “Responding to Student Writing.” CCC (1982): 148–156.
 Sommers, Nancy. “Between the Drafts.” CCC 43.1 (1992): 23–31.
 Sommers, Nancy. “Across the Drafts.” CCC 58.2 (2006): 248–257.


As part of the assignment rotation, every third week you will be expected to do some projecting
out from or onto the course material. Choose one of the following exercises, or propose
alternatives to Ben with enough lead time to refine and revise. For each, write a brief report (3-4
pages or the equivalent), so that you can present for 5-10 minutes and get feedback and questions
from the class. Post these to the wiki, starting from the Gallery page.

First Rotation: Fertile Soil / Backgrounds

1. Journal scope and features. Publication venues are important for circulating your own
academic work, for understanding the context of what you read, and for locating the most
likely sources of interest to you. Select a journal within Rhetoric / Composition / Writing
Studies and learn more about it by skimming tables of contents, article abstracts, calls for
submissions, editors’ introductions, lists of works cited, etc. What kinds of work does this
journal publish? What features do they have that strike you as conspicuously different
from others you’ve encountered? Have these things changed over time?

Journals to consider include: CCC, College English, Research in the Teaching of English,
Journal of Basic Writing, Written Communication, Rhetoric Review, Kairos, Computers
& Composition, Enculturation, JAC, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Composition
Forum. There are certainly more; let me know if you’d like to do one not on this list.
(Writing on the Edge comes to mind as one we're not reading from this semester, but
which might be of interest to creative writers.)

2. Academic Genealogy. Part of orienting yourself to the field is learning the associations
that accrue to people and places. In economics, saying "University of Chicago" means
something larger than individual faculty members; in criticism, saying someone was
Derrida's student is likely a comment on their critical approach, not just their letters of
rec. For this exercise, research the connections around one of the assigned authors:
Where did/do they work or go to school? Who else went there? Who did they study with
and who studied with them?
Miller 2017 Spring Syllabus – Composition Studies – page 16 Projects

You can use the Writing Studies Tree as a place to discover or record these connections.
(There are a few bugs in the interface; talk to me and I'll walk you around them. Sigh.)
Write about any patterns that emerge, or links to other authors or ideas in our syllabus.

3. Source Analysis. Formal citation of sources, one of the more conspicuous features of
academic texts, offers a way to reconstruct some of the materials that authors had on hand
when they were composing. Starting with one of the assigned pieces, go back down the
bibliographic trail and read cited text(s): what moves does the author make with this
source material? Does that change your understanding of how the original argument
works, or how well?

It may be particularly informative to look at Joseph Bizup calls argument sources: pieces
to agree or disagree with. (Other categories in Bizup's schema of source-use,
are background, exhibit, and method. The relevant Rhetoric Review article, "BEAM: A
Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing," also provides a good
model of analyzing source uses.)

Second Rotation: What Grew / Consequences
Further project descriptions coming soon!

1. Bibliometrics. What life have these pieces had since they were published? Who cites
them, when, and where? Google Scholar's reverse citation search is a good place to begin.

2. Keywords. Is that striking and uncited phrase unique to this author? Does that buzzword
really buzz? When other people use it, do they mean the same thing?

3. Long Careers. Suppose you write one of these best-of articles, and now you're
Academically Famous. What happens next? Find out what else this author has worked
on, whether they're still working, and if they're still working on the issues we read about.
Set yourself up to have more to say to these people in the halls at CCCC than "You're
Nancy Sommers!" etc. (She already knows.)

Third Rotation: Toward an Expansion
I want to say "annotated bibliography," but I don't want to bury you in work. Let's see how the
first half of the course goes, and adjust at midterm as needed.