From Form to Meaning
Freshman Composition and the Long Sixties, 1957–1974
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
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Substantial research projects are rarely solitary affairs, however much time the researcher spends alone. They are more often the result of collaborations, both shallow and deep, direct and indirect. The research reported here is no exception: many individuals and groups helped me conceive and conduct this research. If there is anything worthwhile in the final product, it is a tribute to ...
1: Introduction: Freshman Composition in the United States, 1885–Present
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For more than a century now, the most required, most taught, and thus most taken course in U.S. higher education has been freshman composition. Although its title has varied over both time and space (here First Year Writing, there College English), its basic purpose and configuration have not, remaining remarkably stable over a span of 125 years and across the diverse terrain of North American ...
2: A Prehistory, 1848–1948
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There has been rhetorical instruction at the University of Wisconsin since its founding in 1848. One of the first six professorships at the university, in fact, was a chair in “mental philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and English literature.”1 The charge given to the holder of that chair reflected the amalgamation of literary study, oral and written composition, and moral philosophy typical of ...
3: The Postwar Regime , 1948–1968
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Born in Kentucky in 1914, Edgar W. Lacy received his BA (1936) and MA (1937) in English from Vanderbilt University and his PhD (1939) from the University of Illinois, writing his thesis on the fifteenth-century English jurist and author Sir John Fortescue. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945, he landed an assistant professorship in 1946 at the University of Wisconsin, where he was, ...
4: Faculty Withdrawal , 1966–1969
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The first sign that any of the changes described above had affected first-year composition at the University of Wisconsin came in the spring of 1968. On March 6 of that year, associate chair Edgar Lacy, at the end of his two-decade tenure directing the Freshman English program and speaking now on behalf of the 1967–68 Ad Hoc Committee to Study Undergraduate Course Offerings, ...
5: TA Experimentation, 1966–1969, with Rasha Diab and Mira Shimabukuro
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In the fall of 1969, 4,360 students, or about 78 percent of the 5,569 freshmen at the University of Wisconsin that semester, enrolled in Freshman English. One hundred and forty-nine registered for English 101 (11 sections), the newly remedialized writing course examined in some depth previously. Another 329 were in 18 sections of English 181, the Honors version of Freshman English. But the ...
6: 1969 Breakdown
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On the morning of September 25, 1969, Joseph Carr, a second-year teaching assistant (TA) in University of Wisconsin’s English Department who had been assigned two sections of English 102 that semester, walked into the office of Professor William Lenehan, director of the course, to say “that he and his students had decided that they could not profitably conform to the texts and approach ...
7: Aftermath, 1970–1996
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By the fall of 1970, Freshman English at UW was a small remedial writing program. Despite widespread protests, the English faculty held their ground and eventually put the episode behind them, at least for a while. As we saw above, even though the spring 1970 semester turned out to be especially traumatic on campus, Madison’s revolutionary heyday was quickly coming to an end. As new ...
8: Conclusion: Freshman Composition at the Turn of the New Century
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Given the repeated attempts, after 1970, to reinstate a universally required first-year writing course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, attempts that would ultimately succeed (in their way), and reminding ourselves of what we saw in chapters 2 and 3 about the long history of Freshman English at the university before 1968, it would be easy to characterize the period from 1970 to ...
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Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture