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CCR 611: Composition Histories & Theories

Fall 2011, Wednesdays 5:15-8:05 p.m., HBC 020/HBC 227


Course Overview What is composition studies? How have our understandings of its boundaries and possibilities changed over time? How has its name evolved? In this course, we’ll explore the development of composition studies by concentrating on pivotal historical, theoretical, and pedagogical developments, including issues of gender, race, and class; the invention of first-year composition; the problems of basic writers; the process movement; critical pedagogy; and the emergence (and recognition) of multimodal and digital literacies. We’ll pay close attention to disciplinary narratives: how they have shaped and challenged our understanding of the work we do as researchers and teachers. Highlights of the semester include your own research presentations and a collaborative multimodal review essay on a pressing issue in the field. The class will culminate in an online portfolio that each of you will construct over the course of the semester. Each week, our seminar will begin in HBC 020. Often, we will move to HBC 227 for the last hour of class to work with digital media tools needed to create your digital portfolio. Readings Susan Miller, ed. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. New York: Norton, 2009. Joseph Harris. A Teaching Subject: Composition Since 1966. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997. Additional readings will be provided. Requirements 1) weekly responses to readings (approximately 2-3 pages) Bring two extra copies of your responses to class. We’ll begin each class with your sharing one copy with me and one with a partner. 2) introductory essay (approximately 3-5 pages) Your essay should describe how you found your way to Syracuse’s CCR doctoral program and include a discussion of emerging teaching and research interests. 3) serving as discussion leader You will lead one day’s discussion on the assigned readings (during weeks 3-6). Your job will be to help illuminate key ideas of the text. You are encouraged to connect this work with other work that you have read or other situations you have encountered. Patrick W. Berry, office: HBC 235 office hours: Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 p.m. and by appointment  



4) multimodal presentation: @ Syracuse You will produce a short multimedia essay (8-10 pages) and presentation that connects the theories of composition, literacy, and social justice with the Syracuse community. The purpose of this assignment is to examine scholarship in action and to experiment with producing a presentation that incorporates multiple media. 5) writing project (approximately 15-20 pages) that relates to your scholarly interests 6) online portfolio that includes your writing project and collaborative multimodal review essay, as well as several other writings from the semester and an introduction to the material in your portfolio

Policy Statements
Disability   If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS),, located in Room 309 of 804 University Avenue, or call (315) 443-4498 for an appointment to discuss your needs and the process for requesting accommodations. ODS is responsible for coordinating disability-related accommodations and will issue students with documented disabilities Accommodation Authorization Letters as appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible. Academic Integrity The Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Students should be familiar with the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work. The policy also governs the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments as well as the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verifications of participation in class activities. Serious sanctions can result from academic dishonesty of any sort. For more information and the complete policy, see the Academic Integrity Policy at



Course Schedule 1. Introductions (August 31) Review course requirements; participate in writing process activity; sign up to lead discussion; and discuss the articles below: Martin Nystrand, Stuart Greene, and Jeffrey Wiemelt. “Where Did Composition Studies Come From? An Intellectual History.” Written Communication 10 (1993): 267-333. Merrill Sheils. “Why Johnny Can’t Write.” Newsweek 92 (8 Dec. 1975): 58-65 “Why Johnny Can’t Write.” YouTube. 2. A Teaching Subject (September 7) Joseph Harris. A Teaching Subject: Composition Since 1966. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997. 1-75. Assignments due: 1) Introductory essay in which you describe your background in writing studies and your research and/or teaching interests; 2) open response to the readings 3. First Year Composition and Revolutions (September 14) Joseph Harris. A Teaching Subject: Composition Since 1966. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997. 75-124. Maxine Hairston. “The Winds of Change: Thomas Kuhn and the Revolution in the Teaching of Writing” (1982). NBCS. 439-50. Sharon Crowley. “A Personal Essay on Freshman English.” Composition in the University: Historical and Polemical Essays. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1998. 228-49. James Berlin. Rhetoric and Reality: Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1900-1985. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1987. 1-57. Discussion Leader 1 Assignment due: Open response to the readings 4. Taxonomies and Paradigms (September 21) James Berlin. “Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class” (1988). NBCS. 667-84. Maxine Hairston. “Diversity, Ideology, and Teaching Writing.” College Composition and Communication 43 (1992): 179-93.



John Trimbur, Robert G. Wood, Ron Strickland, William H. Thelin, William J. Rouster, Toni Mester, and Maxine Hairston. “Responses to ‘Diversity, Ideology, and Teaching Writing.” College Composition and Communication (1993): 248-56. Patricia Bizzell. “Cognition, Convention, and Certainty: What We Need to Know About Writing” (1982). NBCS. 479-501. Discussion Leader 2 Assignment due: How useful are Berlin’s taxonomies to present day discussions about pedagogy and theory? 5. Basic Writers, Shaughnessy, and Inventing the University (September 28) Mina P. Shaughnessy. Introduction to Errors and Expectations: A Guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing (1977). NBCS. 387-96. Min-Zhan Lu. “Redefining the Legacy of Mina Shaughnessy: A Critique of the Politics of Linguistic Innocence” (1991). NBCS. 772-82. David Bartholomae. “Inventing the University” (1985). NBCS. 605-30. Mike Rose. “The Language of Exclusion: Writing Instruction at the University” (1985). NBCS. 586-604. Discussion Leader 3 Assignment due: Open response to the readings; share one-page proposal for presentation 6. Composition and Historiography (October 5) David Gold. Rhetoric at the Margins: Revising the History of Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1873-1947. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2008. 1-62. Steven Mailloux. Disciplinary Identities: Rhetorical Paths of English, Speech, and Composition. New York: MLA, 2006. 1-37. Robert J. Connors. From Composition-Rhetoric: Backgrounds, Theory, and Pedagogy (1997). NBCS. 685-705.

Assignment due: Open response to the readings; share preliminary video footage 7. Composition, Community, and Critical Literacy (October 12) Paula Mathieu. Tactics of Hope: The Public Turn in English Composition. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2005. ix-24.



Margaret Himley. “Facing (Up to) ‘the Stranger’ in Community Service Learning.” College Composition and Communication 55 (2004): 416-38. Ira Shor. “What is Critical Literacy.” Journal for Pedagogy, Pluralism, & Practice 4 (1999): Steve Parks and Eli Goldblatt. “Writing Beyond the Curriculum: Fostering New Collaborations in Literacy.” College English 62 (2000): 584-606. Assignment due: Open response to the readings 8. Labor, Gender, and Independence (October 19) Special guest: Laura Davies, CCR doctoral student Louise Wetherbee Phelps. “Mobilizing Human Resources.” Administrative Problem-Solving for Writing Programs and Writing Centers: Scenarios in Effective Program Management. Ed. Linda Myers-Breslin. Urbana: NCTE, 1999. 73-96. Louise Wetherbee Phelps. “Fitting the Institution That’s There.” National Conference of Teachers of English, Los Angeles, November 1987. Eileen E. Schell. “Gender, Contingent Labor, and Writing Instruction: Why They Matter.” Gypsy Academics and Mother-Teachers: Gender, Contingent Labor, and Writing Instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Boyton-Cook, 1998. 1-19. Chris M. Anson. “Who Wants Composition? Reflections on the Rise and Fall of an Independent Program.” A Field of Dreams: Independent Writing Programs and the Future of Composition Studies. Ed. Peggy O’Neil, Angela Crow, and Larry W. Burton. Logan: Utah State UP, 2002. 153-169. Assignment due: How you understand the intersection between labor and independent writing programs? 9. Literacy, Place, and Identity (October 26) Anne Ruggles Gere. “Kitchen Tables and Rented Rooms: The Extracurriculum of Composition” (1994). NBCS. 1081-96. Robert Brooke. “Underlife and Writing Instruction” (1987). NBCS. 721-32. Linda Brodkey. “On the Subjects of Class and Gender in ‘The Literacy Letters’” (1989). NBCS. 631-46.



Juan C. Guerra. “Putting Literacy in Its Place: Nomadic Consciousness and the Practice of Transcultural Repositioning” (2004). NBCS. 1643-54. Assignment due: Share drafts of presentation I 10. Multimodality, Process, Post-Process, and Beyond (November 2) Jody Shipka. Toward a Composition Made Whole. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2011. 1-38. Collin Brooke and Thomas Rickert. “Being Delicious: Materialities of Research in a Web 2.0 Application.” Beyond Postprocess. Ed. Sidney I. Dobrin, J.A. Rice, and Michael Vastola. Logan: Utah State UP. 163-79. Krista Kennedy. “Textual Machinery: Authorial Agency and Bot-Written Texts in Wikipedia.” The Responsibilities of Rhetoric. Ed. Michelle Smith and Barbara Warnick. Long Grove, IL: Waveland P, 2009. Assignment due: What is your understanding of process and post-process? What is at stake in these conversations?; share draft of presentation II 11. Pedagogical Approaches (November 9) Rebecca Moore Howard. “Collaborative Pedagogy.” A Guide to Composition Pedagogies. Ed. Gary Tate, Amy Rupiper, and Kurt Schick. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. 54-70. Lois Agnew. “Teaching Propriety: Unlocking the Mysteries of Political Correctness.” College Composition and Communication 60 (2009): 746-64. Susan C. Jarratt. “Feminist Pedagogy.” A Guide to Composition Pedagogies. Ed. Gary Tate, Amy Rupiper, and Kurt Schick. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. 113-31. Jonathan Alexander. Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy: Theory and Practice for Composition Studies. Logan: Utah UP, 2008. 1-30.

Assignment due: draft proposal (get items in place on site) 12. Presentations (November 14) Thanksgiving break (November 20-27) 13. Literary, Postcolonial Studies, and Globalization (November 30) Pandey, Iswari. “Literate Lives Across the Digital Divide.” Computers and Composition. 23.2 (2006): 246-57.



Andrea A. Lunsford. “Toward a Mestiza Rhetoric: Gloria Anzaldúa on Composition and Postcoloniality” (1998). NBCS. 1401-28. A. Suresh Canagarajah. “The Place of World Englishes in Composition” (2007). NBCS. 1617-42. Assignment due: Open response to readings. 14. New Media, Digital Literacies, and Composition (December 7) Cynthia L. Selfe. “Technology and Literacy: A Story About the Perils of Not Paying Attention” (1999). NBCS. 1163-85. Cynthia L. Selfe, Gail E. Hawisher, and Patrick W. Berry. “Sustaining Scholarly Change: The Challenge of Digital Media.” Technological Ecologies and Sustainability. Ed. Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Heidi A. McKee, & Richard Selfe. Logan: Utah State UP, 2009. Web. Byron Hawk. A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2007. 12-48. Assignment due: Final projects and portfolios