Based on extensive archival research conducted at six American universities and using the specific cases of institutional mission, regional accreditation, and federal funding, I argue that first-year composition became the most common course in American higher education not because it could “fix” underprepared student writers, but because it has historically served significant institutional interests. That is, it can be “conceded” in multiple ways to help institutions solve political, promotional, and financial problems. Conceding Composition is a wide-ranging historical examination of composition’s evolving institutional value in American higher education over the course of nearly a century, which demonstrates that administrators and faculty have introduced, reformed, maintained, threatened, or eliminated composition as part of negotiations related to nondisciplinary institutional exigencies. Viewing composition from this perspective, I raise new questions about why composition exists in the university, how it exists, and how teachers and scholars might productively reconceive first-year composition in light of its institutional functions.
Collection: What We Wish We’d Known: Negotiating Graduate School (Fountainhead Press, 2015)
What We Wish We’d Known: Negotiating Graduate School contains 15 chapters written by graduate students who explore the ways they have made sense of, and made choices about, graduate school challenges, including choosing a committee, teaching as a graduate student, and writing a dissertation. Chapter authors each work from the basic question: What do I wish I d known before meeting a particular challenge? In answering this question, the contributors share their experiences and offer strong guidance for students who are currently enrolled in or planning to attend graduate school. In addition, this collection recognizes that even the best advice for one person can be less than ideal for someone else. Differences in programs, geographical locations, student/mentor identities, school size, disciplines, and any number of other factors complicate the topics covered. Therefore, in addition to the main chapters, What We Wish We’d Known collects 28 responses to the major chapters. These responses are written by graduate students from around the country who are enrolled in various programs and have varying perspectives on how to successfully negotiate graduate school’s challenges. The responses challenge, complicate, and clarify the main chapters and expand the diversity of experiences that inform this collection.
PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLES
“Enlisting Composition: How First-Year Composition Helped Reorient Higher Education in the GI Bill Era.” Journal of Veterans Studies 2.1 (2017): 79-84.
“Who Cares if Rhetoricians Landed on the Moon? Or, a Plea for Reviving the Politics of Historiography.” Rhetoric Review 34.2 (2015): 111-28.
“Harvard, Again: Considering Articulation and Accreditation in Rhetoric and Composition’s History.” Rhetoric Review 33.2 (2014): 95-112.
“Strengthening Graduate Student Preparation for WPA Work.” Co-authored with Cristyn L. Elder and Megan Schoen. WPA: Writing Program Administration 37.2 (2014): 13-35.
“Institutionalizing Normal: Rethinking Composition’s Precedence in Normal Schools.” Composition Studies 41.1 (2013): 10-26.
“A Problem of Publics and the Curious Case at Texas.” JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory 30.1/2 (2010): 143-73.
“Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 1854 ‘Address to the Legislature of New York’ and the Paradox of Social Reform Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Review 29.2 (2010): 129-44.
“Circuitry in Motion: Rhetoric(al) Moves in YouTube’s Archive.” Video and Participatory Culture. Spec. issue of Enculturation 8 (2010).
“Reconciling Texas; or Inventing (a) Place Out of Place.” Inventing Place: Writing Lone Star Rhetorics. Ed. Casey Boyle & Jenny Rice. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP. [accepted, forthcoming 2018].
“Setting Out for Serendip: Of Research Quests & Chance Discoveries.” Serendipity in Rhetoric, Writing, & Literacy Research. Ed. Maureen Daly Goggin & Peter Goggin. Logan, UT: Utah State UP. [accepted, forthcoming 2018]
“What Are We Doing & Why Are We Doing It?: A Brief Survey of Shared Exigencies in Contemporary Histories of Rhetoric.” Rhetoric’s Change. Ed. Jenny Rice & Chelsea Graham. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press & Intermezzo. [accepted, forthcoming 2017].
“Developing a Professional Profile.” What We Wish We’d Known: Negotiating Graduate School. Ed. Ryan Skinnell, Judy Holiday, and Christine Vassett. Southlake, TX: Fountainhead Press (2015): 203-8.
“Considering the Impact of the WPA Outcomes Statement on Second Language Writers.” Co-authored with Paul Kei Matsuda. The WPA Outcomes Statement: A Decade Later. Ed. Nicholas Behm, et. al. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press (2013): 230-41.
“The Literature of Trauma: Reading the Sorrow of Love in Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War.” Thirty Years After: New Essays on Vietnam War Literature, Film, and Other Arts. Ed. Mark Heberle. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press (2009): 256-64.
“The Timeless Wisdom of a Plagiarized Convention Speech.” The University Press of Colorado Blog. University Press of Colorado. 25 Oct. 2016.
“Why It Is Worth Reconsidering the Common Sense about Bureaucracy.” The University Press of Colorado Blog. University Press of Colorado. 08 Jun. 2016.
“Why Donald Trump’s Promises of Disaster Might be Part of His Appeal.” Ten Miles Square. The Washington Monthly. 31 Mar. 2016.
Guest editorial. “Airlines’ Request for More Info Not Worth Our Time.” Daily Sundial. 18 May 2005: 10.
Guest editorial. “College Study Abroad Boycott Misguided.” Daily Sundial. 15 Mar. 2005: 10.
Guest editorial. “America’s Brand New Enemy: Merry Ole’ England.” Daily Sundial. 28 Feb. 2005: 11.
Guest editorial. “Rice’s ‘Diplomatic’ Past Will Affect America’s Future.” Daily Sundial. 15 Feb. 2005: 10.
“Forty Years & More: Reminiscences with Sharon Crowley.” Interview conducted with Judy Holiday, Andrea Alden, & Kendall Gerdes. Composition Forum [accepted, forthcoming 2017]
“Making Spaces for Diverse Writing Practice” with Cindy Baer. Literacy & NCTE: The Official Blog of the National Council of Teachers of English. NCTE. 17 Dec. 2016.
“Why Studying Writing Matters.” Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities: Emerging Interdisciplinary Trends in Social Sciences and Humanities, Oct. 20, 2015. National University of Modern Languages-Islamabad (2016): 130-4.
“Afterword: On the Market.” What We Wish We’d Known: Negotiating Graduate School. Ed. Ryan Skinnell, Judy Holiday, and Christine Vassett. Southlake, TX: Fountainhead Press (2015): 217-8.
“Review of Victor J. Vitanza’s Chaste Cinematics.” Co-authored with Geoffrey V. Carter. Enculturation 23 (2017).
“Review of Lori Ostergaard and Henrietta Rix Wood’s In the Archives of Composition: Writing and Rhetoric in High Schools and Normal Schools.” Rhetoric Review 35.3 (2016): 270-2.
“Review of Victor J. Vitanza’s Sexual Violence in Western Thought and Writing: Chaste Rape.” Enculturation 21 (2016).
“Review of Brent Henze, Jack Selzer, and Wendy Sharer’s 1977: A Cultural Moment in Composition.” Co-authored with Maureen Daly Goggin. Rhetoric Review 28.2 (2009): 215-8.
“Review of Paul Butler’s Out of Style.” Co-authored with Duane Roen. Rhetoric Review 28.2 (2009): 205-7.
“Octalog III: The Politics of Historiography in 2010.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kairos 15.1 (2010).
“Empty Rhetoric and Academic Bullshit: Strategies for Composition’s Self-Representation in National Arenas.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kairos 14.1 (2009).
“Think-Tank for Newcomers Developing Papers and Sessions for CCCC 2009.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kairos 13.1 (2008).
“Charles Bazerman Dancing.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kairos. 13.1 (2008).
“Who Represents English Studies? Whom Does English Studies Represent?” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kairos 11.3 (2007).
“Selling Ideas or Selling Out?: Negotiating Identities in the Writing of Composition Textbooks.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Kairos 11.3 (2007).