ENGL-749-01 After the Rhetorical Turn: Composition Pedagogy and Writing In Situs
Over the last fifty years or so, scholars of many disciplines have begun to pay attention to language in a way that has constituted a fundamental epistemological shift. This shift, often referred to as the “rhetorical turn,” has wrought changes in many fields of study, none more perhaps than composition pedagogy. Whereas before the rhetorical turn, composition pedagogy implicitly relied on the notion that “good writing” was a universal and universally recognizable phenomenon, the field now boasts many approaches to the teaching of writing that proceed from one shared principle: that writing is never universal—indeed, it is always situated. In this course, we will explore different approaches to teaching writing as a situated (or contextualized) activity, including genre theory, public writing, service-learning programs, and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and Writing in the Disciplines (WID) programs. On the other hand, we will also consider recent texts that resist this shift, such as Stanley Fish’s How to Write a Sentence and Gerald Graff’s Clueless in Academe and They Say/I Say. Course assignments will include short weekly writing assignments, one oral presentation, and a final project of significant length.