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Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers

Jackie Grutsch McKinney

Publication Year: 2013

Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers aims to inspire a re-conception and re-envisioning of the boundaries of writing center work. Moving beyond the grand narrative of the writing center—that it is solely a comfortable, yet iconoclastic place where all students go to get one-to-one tutoring on their writing—McKinney shines light on other representations of writing center work.

McKinney argues that this grand narrative neglects the extent to which writing center work is theoretically and pedagogically complex, with ever-changing work and conditions, and results in a straitjacket for writing center scholars, practitioners, students, and outsiders alike. Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers makes the case for a broader narrative of writing center work that recognizes and theorizes the various spaces of writing center labor, allows for professionalization of administrators, and sees tutoring as just one way to perform writing center work.

McKinney explores possibilities that lie outside the grand narrative, allowing scholars and practitioners to open the field to a fuller, richer, and more realistic representation of their material labor and intellectual work.

Published by: Utah State University Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-x

I’d be remiss not to acknowledge all of the support and encouragement that helped turn a blurry vision into the book you now read.
First of all, I acknowledge my deep gratitude for the administrators, tutors, and writers who I’ve come to know working in three different writ-ing centers over the last two decades. ...

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1. Introduction: Cognitive Dissonance

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pp. 1-9

Since many writing center directors are also faculty, days may also be full of teaching tasks: reading, lesson planning, syllabus writing, conferences, going to class, grading, responding to emails, as well as ..

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2. Story Vision

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pp. 10-19

Before considering how writing center narratives shape writing center identities and work, I want to lay out my theoretical approach. Some readers may be familiar with narrative theory, perhaps in how it was ...

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3. Writing Centers Are Cozy Homes

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pp. 20-34

Every story needs a setting, a place for the action to happen. Part of what distinguishes writing center work from composition more generally is the site; writing can happen anywhere, but writing center work ...

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4. Writing Centers Are Iconoclastic

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pp. 35-56

I don’t think it is outside the realm of possibility that someone will eventually set a TV series or movie on a college campus with a character who works at a writing center. For years, characters have worked for the ...

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5. Writing Centers Tutor (All Students)

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pp. 57-80

Some years ago at the writing center I was directing, we offered instant messaging (IM). This was before Facebook had chatting capabilities and before unlimited texting plans, so many undergraduate students used ...

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6. Conclusion: The End of the Story or the End of the Center?

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pp. 81-91

As a lover of stories, I like to ask students to write stories. In first-year composition, I often assign a family story essay. In this assignment, I ask students to tell their readers a story that is part of family lore, a story ...

Appendix: Survey Results

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pp. 92-137


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pp. 138-145


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pp. 147-150

About the Author

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pp. 151-151

E-ISBN-13: 9780874219166
E-ISBN-10: 0874219167
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874219159
Print-ISBN-10: 0874219159

Page Count: 174
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 827947268
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Writing centers.
  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching.
  • Report writing -- Study and teaching (Higher).
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