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Composition in the Twenty-First Century

Composition in the Twenty-First Century

Crisis and Change

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Edited by Lynn Z. Bloom, Donald A. Daiker, and Edward M. White


NLEB (Other formats: Paperback)
320 pages, 7 x 10


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About the Book

The essays in this book, stemming from a national conference of the same name, focus on the single subject required of nearly all college students—composition.

Despite its pervasiveness and its significance, composition has an unstable status within the curriculum. Writing programs and writing faculty are besieged by academic, political, and financial concerns that have not been well understood or addressed.

At many institutions, composition functions paradoxically as both the gateway to academic success and as the gatekeeper, reducing access to academic work and opportunity for those with limited facility in English. Although writing programs are expected to provide services that range from instruction in correct grammar to assisting—or resisting—political correctness, expanding programs and shrinking faculty get caught in the crossfire. The bottom line becomes the firing line as forces outside the classroom determine funding and seek to define what composition should do.

In search of that definition, the contributors ask and answer a series of specific and salient questions: What implications—intellectual, political, and institutional—will forces outside the classroom have on the quality and delivery of composition in the twenty-first century? How will faculty and administrators identify and address these issues? What policies and practices ought we propose for the century to come?

This book features sixteen position papers by distinguished scholars and researchers in composition and rhetoric; most of the papers are followed by invited responses by other notable compositionists. In all, twenty-five contributors approach composition from a wide variety of contemporary perspectives: rhetorical, historical, social, cultural, political, intellectual, economic, structural, administrative, and developmental. They propose solutions applicable to pedagogy, research, graduate training of composition teachers, academic administration, and public and social policy. In a very real sense, then, this is the only book to offer a map to the future of composition.


Lynn Z. Bloom is a professor of English and the Aetna Chair of Writing at the University of Connecticut.

Donald A. Daiker is a professor of English at Miami University.

Edward M. White is a professor of English at California State University, San Bernardino