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Writing Matters

Rhetoric in Public and Private Lives

Andrea A. Lunsford Foreword by Caren Town

Publication Year: 2007

Anyone who laments the demise of print text would find a sympathetic listener in Andrea A. Lunsford. Anyone who bemoans the lack of respect for blogs, graphic novels, and other new media would find her no less understanding. Lunsford is at home in both camps because she sees beyond writing's ever-changing forms to the constancy of its power to "make space for human agency--or to radically limit such agency."

Lunsford is a celebrated scholar of rhetoric and composition, and many undergraduates taking courses in those subjects have used her textbooks. Here she helps us see that writing is not just a mode of communication, persuasion, and expression, but a web of meanings and practices that shape our lives. Lunsford tells how she gained a new respect for our digital culture's three v's--vocal, visual, verbal--while helping design and teach a course in multimedia writing. On the importance of having a linguistically pluralistic society, Lunsford draws links between such varied topics as the English Only movement, language extinction, Ebonics, and the text messaging shorthand "l33t."

Lunsford has seen how words, writing, and language enforce unfair power relationships in the academy. Most classroom settings, she writes, are authority based and stress "individualism, ranking, hierarchy, and therefore--we have belatedly come to understand--exclusion." Concerned about the paucity--still--of tenured women and minority faculty, she urges schools to revisit admission and retention practices. These are tough and divisive problems, Lunsford acknowledges. Yet if we can see that writing has the power to help prolong or solve them--that writing matters--then we have a common ground.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Series: Georgia Southern University Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Lecture Series


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p. v

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pp. vii-ix

Andrea A. Lunsford, speaker at the fifteenth annual Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Lecture Series, embodies the best qualities of a college professor, a profession that calls for its members to be exemplary scholars, dedicated teachers, and (perhaps not often enough) engaged members of their wider communities. Professor Lunsford ...

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pp. xi-xiv

I began my career as a scholar and teacher of the history of writing and literacy thinking that I understood what writing was—where it came from, what roles it plays in our lives, what changes it has undergone over the millennia. But the reading and research I have done over the course of my career reveal just how na├»ve my early ...

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ONE. Key Questions for a New Rhetoric

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pp. 1-18

Most U.S. scholars of rhetoric and writing studies who are around my age have a story to tell about how and when they discovered rhetoric, and I am certainly no exception. I started teaching at a two-year college in Florida in 1968, after having completed my ma in English and taught in high school for a couple of years. A year or two ...

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TWO. Notes on Language Wars in the USA

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pp. 19-34

Contemporary writer bell hooks says that "language is a place of struggle" (146), and these simple words carry great wisdom. Throughout history, people have struggled over who should have access to what kinds of language and over the ways language has been used to privilege some and disenfranchise others. Within U.S. ...

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THREE. “Authority” in the Writing Classroom

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pp. 35-54

I hope to foreground what I take to be the crux of these issues by sketching in two very different scenes. In the first, two bright and talented graduate students are reflecting on "authority." One remarks that he has dropped the term altogether from his statement of teaching philosophy: "I spent most of the term writing ...

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FOUR.Thoughts on Graduate Education in English

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pp. 55-72

It's no exaggeration to say that I marvel almost every day at the fact that I am a professor of English, that I have tenure, that I have enjoyed over twenty-five years of teaching and research in a field I love. It's also safe to say that no one among my teachers, or even my family, would have predicted this eventuality. After all, when ...


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pp. 73-76

Works Cited

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pp. 77-84


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pp. 85-90

E-ISBN-13: 9780820342818
E-ISBN-10: 0820342815
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820329314
Print-ISBN-10: 0820329312

Page Count: 112
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Georgia Southern University Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Lecture Series
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OCLC Number: 759000863
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Writing Matters

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • English teachers -- Training of.
  • Report writing -- Study and teaching (Higher).
  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching (Higher).
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