Advertisement

What Is Composition and (If You Know What That Is) Why Do We Teach It?

  • David Bartholomae

Abstract

I will not be presenting a theory paper here. Nor do I want to argue for a particular kind of program or set of practices. I have no desire to be comprehensive. I have, however, been “in” composition for some time; more recently, I have done a good bit of traveling to evaluate departments and programs. I would like to offer something like a report from the field and to write about some places where composition has shown its face in interesting or surprising ways. I need to be clear: the composition I am talking about is not a consensus or a specific professional (or “disciplinary” ) agenda; it is not in the control of composition professionals; it is not represented by the conflicts that take place at meetings or in journals. It is, rather, a set of problems produced by a wider, more diffuse set of practices and desires, usually brought into play by instances of language change or variety (or by the possibility that writing might change or be various). In a sense, the history of composition has been the record of institutional and professional responses to challenged standards, challenges to a standard of writing produced by writers who were said to be unprepared. Composition marked the people and places charged to prepare those students and/or to defend and rationalize their “unauthorized” writing.

Keywords

Critical Scholarship English Teacher Practical Criticism English Department Student Writing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works Cited

  1. ADE Ad Hoc Committee on Staffing. Report of the ADE Ad Hoc Committee on Staffing. ADE Bulletin 122 (1999): 7–26. Dec. 1998. 29 June 2000 <http://www.ade.org.ade/bulletin/n122/122007.htm>.
  2. Brereton, John, ed. The Origins of Composition Studies in the American College, 1875–1925: A Documentary History. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1995.Google Scholar
  3. Crowley, Sharon. Composition in the University: Historical and Polemical Essays. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1998.Google Scholar
  4. MLA Committee on Professional Employment. Final Report of the MLA Committee on Professional Employment. PMLA 113 (1998): 1154–87. Dec. 1997. 29 June 2000 <http://www.mla.org/reports/profemp/profemp_frame.htm>.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bedford/St. Martin’s 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Bartholomae
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PittsburghUSA

Personalised recommendations