A Call to Arms in a Repressive Atmosphere of Educational Acquiescence

A Call to Arms in a Repressive Atmosphere of Educational Acquiescence Lance Massey ’s readers are familiar with the various disciplinary tensions within composition studies: Are we humanists or social scientists (or both)? Should research be “empirical” or “situated?” Should we even continue to teach firstyear composition? This last question invokes what has come to be known as the “new abolitionist” debate in composition (Connors 1995; Goggin and Miller 2000; Brooks 2002). New abolitionists like Sharon Crowley (1998) have issued a “challenge” to composition’s “sacred cow, the universally required first-year composition course, because of . . . terrible employment conditions,” composition’s “service requirement,” and how “the requirement patently misrepresents the needs of students” (Brooks 2002: 27). Echoing new abolitionists, David W. Smit argues in The End of Composition Studies that composition and English need fundamental change in the face of disciplinary and professional crises. Moreover, he implicitly challenges claims by defenders of first-year composition that the course as currently conceived can, in fact, be a productive site of instruction, change, and resistance (Roemer, Schulz, and Durst 1999: 378). Yet The End of Composition Studies is not easily pigeonholed; Smit’s is neither an abolitionist nor a revisionist argument. Rather, it is what Mau: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture Duke University Press

A Call to Arms in a Repressive Atmosphere of Educational Acquiescence

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2006 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1531-4200
eISSN
1533-6255
D.O.I.
10.1215/15314200-6-1-189
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Lance Massey ’s readers are familiar with the various disciplinary tensions within composition studies: Are we humanists or social scientists (or both)? Should research be “empirical” or “situated?” Should we even continue to teach firstyear composition? This last question invokes what has come to be known as the “new abolitionist” debate in composition (Connors 1995; Goggin and Miller 2000; Brooks 2002). New abolitionists like Sharon Crowley (1998) have issued a “challenge” to composition’s “sacred cow, the universally required first-year composition course, because of . . . terrible employment conditions,” composition’s “service requirement,” and how “the requirement patently misrepresents the needs of students” (Brooks 2002: 27). Echoing new abolitionists, David W. Smit argues in The End of Composition Studies that composition and English need fundamental change in the face of disciplinary and professional crises. Moreover, he implicitly challenges claims by defenders of first-year composition that the course as currently conceived can, in fact, be a productive site of instruction, change, and resistance (Roemer, Schulz, and Durst 1999: 378). Yet The End of Composition Studies is not easily pigeonholed; Smit’s is neither an abolitionist nor a revisionist argument. Rather, it is what Mau: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition,

Journal

Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and CultureDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2006

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