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Rhetoric at the Margins

Revising the History of Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1873-1947

David Gold

Publication Year: 2008

Rhetoric at the Margins: Revising the History of Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1873-1947 examines the rhetorical education of African American, female, and working-class college students in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The rich case studies in this work encourage a reconceptualization of both the history of rhetoric and composition and the ways we make use of it.

Author David Gold uses archival materials to study three types of institutions historically underrepresented in disciplinary histories: a black liberal arts college in rural East Texas (Wiley College); a public women's college (Texas Woman's University); and an independent teacher training school (East Texas Normal College). The case studies complement and challenge previous disciplinary histories and suggest that the epistemological schema that have long applied to pedagogical practices may actually limit our understanding of those practices.

Gold argues that each of these schools championed intellectual and pedagogical traditions that differed from the Eastern liberal arts model—a model that often serves as the standard bearer for rhetorical education. He demonstrates that by emphasizing community uplift and civic participation and attending to local needs, these schools created contexts in which otherwise moribund curricular features of the era—such as strict classroom discipline and an emphasis on prescription—took on new possibilities.

Rhetoric at the Margins describes the recent revisionist turn in rhetoric and composition historiography, argues for the importance of diverse institutional microhistories, and argues that the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries offer rich lessons for contemporary classroom practice. The study brings alive the voices of black, female, rural, Southern, and first-generation college students and their instructors, effectively linking these histories to the history of rhetoric and writing. Appendices include excerpts of important and rarely seen primary source material, allowing readers to experience in fuller detail the voices captured in this work.

 

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-9

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

The University of Texas at Austin in the early 1940s was no place for a liberal academic. For several years, the school’s board of regents, fearing communism and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in seemingly equal measure, waged a bitter campaign against academic freedom and left-leaning faculty; they attempted to...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-17

I would foremost like to thank my friend and mentor Linda Ferreira-Buckley for her guidance and support. She is the model of professional deportment for more scholars and teachers than she knows. Davida Charney offered early encouragement for the project, and Kate Adams, Trish Roberts-Miller, John Ruszkiewicz, and Helena Woodard provided expert readings ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

In rhetoric and composition studies, historical inquiry has long been driven by a desire not to repeat the pedagogical mistakes of the past. And those mistakes, under the rubric of what is now called current-traditional rhetoric, have been well documented by scholars from Albert R. Kitzhaber in Rhetoric in American Colleges to James A. Berlin in Rhetoric and Reality...

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1. Integrating Traditions at a Private Black College

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pp. 14-62

The University of Texas at Austin in the early 1940s was no place for a liberal academic. For several years, the school’s board of regents, fearing communism and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in seemingly equal measure, waged a bitter campaign against academic freedom and left-leaning faculty; they attempted to abolish tenure and cut...

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2. Balancing Tensions at a Public Women’s University

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pp. 63-112

In his 1907 commencement address at Texas Woman’s University (TWU), Paul Whitfield Horn, Houston school superintendent, scolded the “ambitious woman” who “deliberately sets out to make a brilliant career for herself,” arguing that instead women should be humble “paving stones” on the streets of humanity. The bricks that form...

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3. Challenging Orthodoxies at a Rural Normal College

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pp. 113-151

At first glance, William Leonidas Mayo would not likely be a welcome figure at a contemporary convention of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). His classrooms were anything but decentered, and he would have scoffed at the idea that students had a right to their own language—unless that language was Standard English....

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Conclusion

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pp. 152-158

At the turn of the twentieth century, there were over a thousand institutions of higher learning in America;1 this study details just three of them. These histories are necessarily incomplete. But they are necessary. Indeed, in a country with such a decentralized educational system as the United States, national educational...

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Chronology

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pp. 159-162

...1801 Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi publishes How Gertrude Teaches Her 1823 First normal school in America is established in Concord, Vermont.1869 Harvard President Charles Eliot insists, in Atlantic Monthly ar-ticle, on maintaining split between liberal arts colleges and profes-1871 Texas A&M University is established by legislature; classes begin...

Notes

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pp. 163-172

Bibliography

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pp. 173-190

Index

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pp. 191-199

Author Bio, Back Cover

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pp. 200-218


E-ISBN-13: 9780809387250
E-ISBN-10: 0809387255
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809328345
Print-ISBN-10: 0809328348

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2008