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College Composition and Communication, Vol. 61, No. 2, December 2009

Cover Art for College Composition and Communication, Vol. 61, No. 2, December 2009

Table of Contents

  • From the Editor

    Deborah H. Holdstein

    Abstract: The editor introduces this issue, the last of her editorial term.

  • “Internationalization” and Composition Studies: Reorienting the Discourse

    Christiane Donahue

    Abstract: While internationalization has become a buzzword in composition scholarship and teaching, our discourses tend toward fuzzy uses and understandings of the term and its multiple implications. We tend to focus on how our U.S. experience is being internationalized: how English and its teaching are spreading; how other countries, different in their approaches or rhetorics, appear to lack what we have; and how we might avoid colonialist intervention or offer consultation. These import/export focal points create key blind spots in our awareness of deep and rich writing research and programming traditions internationally, of how we fit—or do not fit—into this broader world, and of missed opportunities for self-reflection and growth.

  • A Unilateral Grading Contract to Improve Learning and Teaching

    Jane Danielewicz and Peter Elbow

    Abstract: Contract grading has achieved some prominence in our field as a practice associated with critical pedagogy. In this context we describe a hybrid grading contract where students earn a course grade of B based not on our evaluation of their writing quality but solely on their completion of the specified activities. The contract lists activities we’ve found most reliable in producing B-quality writing over fourteen weeks. Higher grades are awarded to students who produce exemplary portfolios. Thus we freely give students lots of evaluative feedback on their writing, but students can count on a course grade of B if they do all the required activities—no matter our feedback. Our goal in using contracts is to enable teachers and students to give as much attention as possible to writing and as little as possible to grades.

  • Cruising Composition Texts: Negotiating Sexual Difference in First-Year Readers

    Martha Marinara, Jonathan Alexander, William P. Banks, and Samantha Blackmon

    Abstract: The article describes and analyzes the exclusion of LGBT content in composition courses by reporting on a study of how queerness is (and is not) incorporated into first-year writing courses. The authors critically examine the presence or absence of LGBT issues in first-year composition readers; offer analyses of how some first-year readers handle issues of queerness; and consider how queerness, when it is included in composition textbooks, is framed rhetorically as a subject for writing. The article concludes with recommendations for those seeking to explore issues of sexuality in ways that are productive for students, other faculty, and our profession. Ultimately, the authors demonstrate that, while some ground has been gained in understanding sexual difference as an important domain for students to explore, there is still much work to be done in creating textbooks that invite students to think critically and usefully about the interconnections among sexuality, literacy, and writing.

  • Site-Specific: Virtual Refinishing in Contemporary Rhetorical Practice

    Joseph Janangelo

    Abstract: Visual rhetoric fuels composition as rhetors refinish filmed moments to show others what they “see” in them. My work examines projects that model strategic discourse in public spaces. It offers ideas for achieving full and guarded disclosure when clarity is but one of several communicative goals.

  • Drama in the Archives: Rereading Methods, Rewriting History

    Cheryl Glenn and Jessica Enoch

    Abstract: This article examines the historiographic trajectory of rhetoric and composition studies by analyzing archival research practices, using Kenneth Burke’s dramatistic pentad as our analytical tool. We rely on a Burkean framework of “scenes, acts, agents, agencies, purposes, and attitudes” to invigorate our understanding of historiographic methods and to open up new possibilities for future histories of rhetoric and composition.

  • Civic Engagement as Risk Management and Public Relations: What the Pharmaceutical Industry Can Teach Us about Service-Learning

    J. Blake Scott

    Abstract: The pharmaceutical industry’s corporate responsibility reports illustrate how the liberal rhetoric of civic engagement can be reappropriated to serve the market-driven aims of risk management and public relations. Tracing the ideologic linkage of corporate responsibility and service-learning versions of civic engagement, and contextualizing postsecondary service-learning along a larger neoliberal trajectory, should prompt us to reconsider basic questions about the means and ends of our institutional and pedagogical work.

  • The Racialization of Composition Studies: Scholarly Rhetoric of Race Since 1990

    Jennifer Clary-Lemon

    Abstract: This piece continues the work of scholars in the field who look to uncover the ideological and textual practices of our dependence on the construct of “race” through racialized metaphors. Analyzing the rhetoric of race in College Composition and Communication and College English since 1990, I assert that our categorization of what “race” is has grown increasingly vague, despite its use as a commonplace from which to begin scholarly discussions. I argue that we must rearticulate our own racial ideologies in order to become more aware of how we use “race” persuasively for our own purposes.

  • Alternative Rhetoric and Morality: Writing from the Margins

    David L. Wallace

    Abstract: This article explores the need for alternative rhetorics that address systemic marginalization in American society and in the practice of rhetoric and composition. Specifically, three concepts from queer theory—intersectionality, copresence, and disidentification—are used as a basis for defining an alternative rhetoric. Then, in the bulk of the article, Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera is examined to illustrate what engaging in alternative rhetoric from a marginalized cultural position may mean in practice.

  • WPA as Rhetor: Scholarly Production and the Difference a Discipline Makes

    Debra Frank Dew

    Abstract: This article defines applied rhetorical work as integral to the intellectual work of writing program administration and asks our professional organizations to classify it as such within our position statements. With a specific case, it offers a generative framework for representing and assessing the work’s scholarly commons for professional review.

  • A Friend in Your Neighborhood: Local Risk Communication in a Technical Writing Classroom

    Lynne Rhodes

    Abstract: When examined rhetorically, Savannah River Site Community Preparedness Information calendars from 1994, 2004, and 2008 represent living rhetorical practices aimed at changing the public mind. My technical communication classroom at USC Aiken is uniquely situated for us to examine documents constantly generated by the site’s Public Affairs Department.

  • Instructions for Systemic Change

    Marika A. Seigel

    Abstract: In the technical communication classroom, the received wisdom is that good instructions should “stay out of the way” of the users’ engagement with technological systems.This article draws on Burke’s concept of perspective by incongruity and on examples of instructions produced during the Women’s Health Movement to demonstrate that sometimes instructions can—and should—take on a more critical, system-disrupting stance.

  • Walking the Cliff’s Edge: The New Nation’s Rhetoric of Resistance in Apartheid South Africa

    Bryan Trabold

    Abstract: This article examines the rhetoric of resistance used by South African anti-apartheid journalists to expose the links between the apartheid government and death squads.By utilizing allusions, repetition, and a concept I refer to as “subversive enthymemes,” these journalists managed to reveal publicly information about death squad activity in a context of overwhelming constraints almost a full decade before these facts were confirmed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

  • Literacy Crisis and Color-Blindness: The Problematic Racial Dynamics of Mid-1970s Language and Literacy Instruction for “High-Risk” Minority Students

    Steve Lamos

    Abstract: This article argues that mid-1970s discourses of literacy crisis prompted a problematic shift toward color-blind ideologies of language and literacy within both disciplinary and institutional discussions of writing instruction for “high-risk” minority students. It further argues that this shift has continuing import for contemporary antiracist writing instruction.

  • The Licensing of the Poetic in Nineteenth-Century Composition-Rhetoric Textbooks

    Alexandria Peary

    Abstract: This historical exploration tracks changes in rules concerning figurative language in nineteenth-century composition-rhetoric textbooks. The century’s lessening of millennium-long restriction of the poetic allowed not only creative writing into academia but composition as well, as composition at its beginning was intertwined with creative writing. In order to advance as a discipline, creative writing needs to investigate its history in addition to developing its theory and practice. Understanding the initial but largely overlooked union of creative writing and composition can help reconfigure English studies.

  • "Eve Did No Wrong": Effective Literacy at a Public College for Women

    David Gold

    Abstract: In this article, I test claims made about rhetorical education for women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by examining Florida State College for Women (FSCW), one of eight public women’s colleges in the South. I recover the voices of instructors and students by looking both at the interweaving strands of literature, journalism, and speech instruction in the English curriculum and how students publicly represented themselves through writing. I argue that the rhetorical environment at FSCW created a robust climate of expression for students that complicates our understanding of the development of women’s education in speaking and writing.

  • Teaching Writing Teachers Writing: Difficulty, Exploration, and Critical Reflection

    E. Shelley Reid

    Abstract: As they prepare to teach writing, new teachers should respond to writing assignments that we deliberately design to be difficult, exploratory, or critically reflective, so that they may better develop flexibility and engagement as learners, teachers, and theorists in the field of writing instruction.

  • “You Fail”: Plagiarism, the Ownership of Writing, and Transnational Conflicts

    Arabella Lyon

    Abstract: Responding to cultural concerns about the ownership of writing and the nature of plagiarism, this article examines discourses about plagiarism by ESL students and argues for a plurality of approaches to understanding the ownership of language and textual appropriation. First, it uses speech act theory to explain the dynamics of plagiarism; second, it examines transnational political contexts for writing pedagogy; and third, it offers a Daoist understanding of language.

  • Writing Assignments Across the Curriculum: A National Study of College Writing

    Dan Melzer

    Abstract: In this essay I present the results of a national study of over 2,000 writing assignments from college courses across disciplines. Drawing on James Britton’s multidimensional discourse taxonomy and recent work in genre studies, I analyze the rhetorical features and genres of the assignments and consider the significance of my findings through the multiple lenses of writing-to-learn and writing-in-the-disciplines perspectives. Although my findings indicate limited purposes, audiences, and genres for the majority of the assignments, instructors teaching courses explicitly connected to a Writing Across the Curriculum program or initiative assigned the most writing in the most complex rhetorical situations and the most varied disciplinary genres.

  • Close to the Heart: Teacher Authority in a Classroom Community

    Steven L. VanderStaay, Beverly A. Faxon, Jack E. Meischen, Karlene T. Kolesnikov, and Andrew D. Ruppel

    Abstract: In this article we provide a “portrait” of an exemplary writing teacher and the social construction of authority he established with students in two courses. The portrait demonstrates that teacher authority is most essentially a form of professional authority granted by students who affirm the teacher’s expertise, self-confidence, and belief in the importance of his or her work. We find that professional authority is neither oppressive nor incompatible with de-centered methods, effective instruction, or the kind of assertive teacher authority required to effectively lead a class. In this way, effective instruction and teacher authority become mutually reinforcing reciprocal processes.

  • Brains v. Brawn: Classed and Racialized Masculinity in Literacy Narratives

    by Rose, Rodriguez, Villanueva, and Gilyard Christie Launius

    Abstract: A feminist reading of four prominent literacy narratives—Mike Rose’s Lives on the Boundary, Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory, Victor Villanueva’s Bootstraps, and Keith Gilyard’s Voices of the Self—shows that conflicts and anxieties about the consequences of schooling on working-class masculinity animate these texts. Each of these writers experiences, manages, and ultimately resolves, to greater or lesser degrees, his conflicts over masculinity, at least textually speaking, and does so, moreover, in ways that are linked to his views on literacy and education.

  • Second Language Users and Emerging English Designs

    Jay Jordan

    Abstract: As English spreads as an international language, it evolves through diverse users’ writing and speaking. However, traditional views of ESL users focus on their distance from fairly static notions of English-language competence. This research uses a grounded theory approach to describe a range of competencies that emerge in ESL users’ interactions with native-English-speaking peers and instructors.

  • ”Writing in Electronic Environments”: A Concept and a Course for the Writing and Rhetoric Major

    Jeremiah Dyehouse, Michael Pennell, and Linda K. Shamoon

    Abstract: In this essay I present the results of a national study of over 2,000 writing assignments from college courses across disciplines. Drawing on James Britton’s multidimensional discourse taxonomy and recent work in genre studies, I analyze the rhetorical features and genres of the assignments and consider the significance of my findings through the multiple lenses of writing-to-learn and writing-in-the-disciplines perspectives. Although my findings indicate limited purposes, audiences, and genres for the majority of the assignments, instructors teaching courses explicitly connected to a Writing Across the Curriculum program or initiative assigned the most writing in the most complex rhetorical situations and the most varied disciplinary genres.

  • When the Tenets of Composition Go Public: A Study of Writing in Wikipedia

    James P. Purdy

    Abstract: Based on a study of observable changes author-users made to three Wikipedia articles, this article contends that Wikipedia supports notions of revision, collaboration, and authority that writing studies purports to value, while also extending our understanding of the production of knowledge in public spaces. It argues that Wikipedia asks us to reexamine our expectations for the stability of research materials and who should participate in public knowledge making.

  • Rediscovering the “Back-and-Forthness” of Rhetoric in the Age of YouTube

    Brian Jackson and Jon Wallin

    Abstract: Web 2.0 applications such as YouTube have made it likely that students participate in online back-and-forth exchanges that influence their rhetorical literacy. Because of the back-and-forth nature of online communities, we turn to the procedural, critical, and progressive qualities of dialectic as a means of accounting for what makes public deliberation effective and how we can teach students to deliberate.

  • Embracing Wicked Problems: The Turn to Design in Composition Studies

    Richard Marback

    Abstract: Recent appeal to the concept of design in composition studies benefits teaching writing in digital media. Yet the concept of design has not been developed enough to fully benefit composition instruction. This article develops an understanding of design as a matter of resolving wicked problems and makes a case for the advantages of this understanding in composition studies.

  • Interchanges: The Value of Book Collecting for Research and Teaching

    Merrill D. Whitburn

    Abstract: The world of knowledge about the book is seemingly inexhaustible, and part of the quest is an endless pursuit of information about the artifact itself.

  • Interchanges: Solidarity Forever: Why TA Unions Are Good for Writing Programs

    Michael Bernard-Donals

    Abstract: The author suggests three ways in which unions-and cantracts-are good for writing programs.

  • CCC Special Symposium: At the Intersections: Rhetoric and Cultural Studies as Situated Practice

    Anita Helle, Elaine Richardson, Jay Jordan, Elizabeth A. Flynn, and Lisa Ede

    Abstract: The following essays are adapted and extended from a CCCC roundtable session in New York in March 2007 entitled “At the Intersections: Rhetoric and Cultural Studies as Situated Practice,” with contributions by Lisa Ede (chair), Elizabeth A. Flynn, Anita Helle, Jay Jordan, and Elaine Richardson.

  • Review Essay: Managing the Freshman Year

    Thomas Deans


    Reviewed are: The First Year Out: Understanding American Teens after High School
    Tim Clydesdale

    My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student
    Rebekah Nathan

  • CCCC Secretary’s Report, 2008–2009

  • Guidelines for Writers

  • Announcements and Calls

  • CCC News

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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