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Teaching Subject, A

Composition Since 1966

Joseph Harris

Publication Year: 2012

Joseph Harris traces the evolution of college writing instruction since the Dartmouth Seminar of 1966. A Teaching Subject offers a brilliant interpretive history of the first decades during which writing studies came to be imagined as a discipline separable from its partners in English studies.

Published by: Utah State University Press


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pp. c-c

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book was previously published by Pearson Education, Inc., in 1997, as a volume in the Prentice Hall Series in Writing and Culture. I thank Pearson for assigning me the rights to this work. I am grateful to Kami Day for her careful eye as copy-editor, to Judy Martin for a useful and...

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Preface to New Edition

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pp. xi-xiv

My aim in writing A Teaching Subject was to offer a brief and inexpensive history of our field. I succeeded in making it brief. But over the years, the price of what was, after all, only a slim volume grew higher and higher until the book finally faded out of print. Even still, several colleagues...

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Foreword(s): Research and Teaching

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pp. xv-xviii

This book traces how the teaching of college writing has been theorized and imagined since 1966. I do so by looking closely at how five key words—growth, voice, process, error, and community—have figured in recent talk about writing and teaching. I believe that in tracing their meanings...

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1. Growth

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pp. 1-31

In the late summer of 1966, some fifty American and British teachers met at the three-week Seminar on the Teaching and Learning of English at Dartmouth College (the Dartmouth Seminar). The seminar was organized by the Modern Language Association (MLA), the National Council...

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2. Voice

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pp. 32-71

Picture two writing classrooms. In the first, students have simply been asked to write about something that interests them. In class they break into small groups and begin to read their texts aloud to one another. After a student has finished reading her piece, the members of her...

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3. Process

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pp. 72-101

This brief, strained, and, I think, quite moving text was written almost twenty years ago by “Tony,” a young ex-Marine from the Bronx with a wife and child, who was at the time a student in a New York City community college— and the key subject in Sondra Perl’s influential 1979...

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4. Error

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pp. 102-131

“How Rouse makes his living is none of my business, but I venture that if he manages a decent livelihood it is only because he has somewhere or other submitted to enough socialization to equip him to do something for which somebody is willing to pay him” (852). So thundered...

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5. Community

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pp. 132-160

I have structured this chapter somewhat differently than the others in this book. For while community becomes a key word fairly late in the narrative of the field I am sketching here, it was in fact through tracing out some of the uses and implications of this term that I began my first work on this...

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Afterword(s): Contact and Negotiation

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pp. 161-169

If Stanley Fish was the patron theorist of composition in the 1980s, Mary Louise Pratt is now. With his talk of interpretive conventions and communities, Fish was a key theorist behind what became known as the social constructionist view of teaching writing. And with her strong...

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Coda, 2012: From Dartmouth to New London

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pp. 170-174

Google Maps tells us that New London, NH, lies about twenty miles south of Dartmouth College, straight down Route 89. In 1994, a small group of scholars met in New London to talk about the future of literacy teaching in an age of rapid globalization and technological change....


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pp. 175-184


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pp. 185-191

About the Author

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pp. 192-192

E-ISBN-13: 9780874218671
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874218664

Page Count: 156
Illustrations: none
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 2nd Edition

OCLC Number: 777401260
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Teaching Subject, A

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Report writing -- Study and teaching.
  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching.
  • English language -- Composition and exercises -- Study and teaching.
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