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Center Will Hold

edited by Michael A. Pemberton & Joyce Kinkead

In The Center Will Hold, Pemberton and Kinkead have compiled a major volume of essays on the signal issues of scholarship that have established the writing center field and that the field must successfully address in the coming decade. The new century opens with new institutional, demographic, and financial challenges, and writing centers, in order to hold and extend their contribution to research, teaching, and service, must continuously engage those challenges.

Appropriately, the editors offer the work of Muriel Harris as a key pivot point in the emergence of writing centers as sites of pedagogy and research. The volume develops themes that Harris first brought to the field, and contributors here offer explicit recognition of the role that Harris has played in the development of writing center theory and practice. But they also use her work as a springboard from which to provide reflective, descriptive, and predictive looks at the field.

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Changing of Knowledge in Composition

Contemporary Perspectives

Lance Massey and Richard C Gephardt

Lance Massey and Richard Gebhardt offer in this collection many signs that composition again faces a moment of precariousness, even as it did in the 1980s—the years of the great divorce from literary studies. The contours of writing in the university again are rapidly changing, making the objects of scholarship in composition again unstable. Composition is poised to move not from modern to postmodern but from process to postprocess, from a service-oriented "field" to a research-driven "discipline." Some would say we are already there. Momentum is building to replace "composition" and the pedagogical imperative long implied in that term with a "writing studies" model devoted to the study of composition as a fundamental tool of, and force within, all areas of human activity.

Appropriately, contributors here use Stephen M. North's 1987 book The Making of Knowledge in Composition to frame and background their discussion, as they look at both the present state of the field and its potential futures. As in North's volume, The Changing of Knowledge in Composition describes a body of research and pedagogy brimming with conflicting claims, methodologies, and politics, and with little consensus regarding the proper subjects and modes of inquiry.

The deep ambivalence within the field itself is evident in this collection. Contributors here envision composition both as retaining its commitment to broad-based, generalized writing instruction and as heading toward content-based vertical writing programs in departments and programs of writing studies. They both challenge and affirm composition's pedagogical heritage. And they sound both sanguine and pessimistic notes about composition's future.

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Chasing Literacy

Reading and Writing in an Age of Acceleration

By Daniel Keller

Arguing that composition should renew its interest in reading pedagogy and research, Chasing Literacy offers writing instructors and literacy scholars a framework for understanding and responding to the challenges posed by the proliferation of interactive and multimodal communication technologies in the twenty-first century.

Employing case-study research of student reading practices, Keller explores reading-writing connections in new media contexts. He identifies a culture of acceleration—a gathering of social, educational, economic, and technological forces that reinforce the values of speed, efficiency, and change—and challenges educators to balance new “faster” literacies with traditional “slower” literacies. In addition, Keller details four significant features of contemporary literacy that emerged from his research: accumulation and curricular choices; literacy perceptions; speeds of rhetoric; and speeds of reading.

Chasing Literacy outlines a new reading pedagogy that will help students gain versatile, dexterous approaches to both reading and writing and makes a significant contribution to this emerging area of interest in composition theory and practice.

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Children's Folklore

A Source Book

Brian Sutton-Smith, Jay Mechling, Thomas W. Johnson, and Felicia R. McMahon

A collection of orginal essays by scholars from a variety of fields-- includng American studies, folklore, anthropology, pyschology, sociology, and education---Children's Folklore: A Source Book moves beyond traditional social-science views of child development. It reveals the complexity and artistry of interactions among children, challenging stereotypes of simple childhood innocence and conventional explanations of development that privilege sober and sensible adult outcomes. Instead, the play and lore of children is shown to be often disruptive, wayward, and irrational.
 

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Circulation, Writing, and Rhetoric

While it has long been understood that the circulation of discourse, bodies, artifacts, and ideas plays an important constitutive force in our cultures and communities, circulation, as a concept and a phenomenon, has been underexamined in studies of rhetoric and writing. In an effort to give circulation its rhetorical due, Circulation, Writing, and Rhetoric introduces a wide range of studies that foreground circulation in both theory and practice. Contributors to the volume specifically explore the connections between circulation and public rhetorics, urban studies, feminist rhetorics, digital communication, new materialism, and digital research.

Circulation is a cultural-rhetorical process that impacts various ecologies, communities, and subjectivities in an ever-increasing globally networked environment. As made evident in this collection, circulation occurs in all forms of discursive production, from academic arguments to neoliberal policies to graffiti to tweets and bitcoins. Even in the case of tombstones, borrowed text achieves only partial stability before it is recirculated and transformed again. This communicative process is even more evident in the digital realm, the underlying infrastructures of which we have yet to fully understand.

As public spaces become more and more saturated with circulating texts and images and as networked relations come to the center of rhetorical focus, Circulation, Writing, and Rhetoric will be a vital interdisciplinary resource for approaching the contemporary dynamics of rhetoric and writing.

Contributors: Aaron Beveridge, Casey Boyle, Jim Brown, Naomi Clark, Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Rebecca Dingo, Sidney I. Dobrin, Jay Dolmage, Dustin Edwards, Jessica Enoch, Tarez Samra Graban, Byron Hawk, Gerald Jackson, Gesa E. Kirsch, Heather Lang, Sean Morey, Jenny Rice, Thomas Rickert, Jim Ridolfo, Nathaniel A. Rivers, Jacqueline Jones Royster, Donnie Johnson Sackey, Michele Simmons, Dale M. Smith, Patricia Sullivan, John Tinnell, Kathleen Blake Yancey

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Class in the Composition Classroom

Pedagogy and the Working Class

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Coal in our Veins

A Personal Journey

Erin Ann Thomas

In Coal in Our Veins, Erin Thomas employs historical research, autobiography, and journalism to intertwine the history of coal, her ancestors' lives mining coal, and the societal and environmental impacts of the United States' dependency on coal as an energy source. In the first part of her book, she visits Wales, native ground of British coal mining and of her emigrant ancestors. The Thomases' move to the coal region of Utah—where they witnessed the Winter Quarters and Castle Gate mine explosions, two of the worst mining disasters in American history—and the history of coal development in Utah form the second part. Then Thomas investigates coal mining and communities in West Virginia, near her East Coast home, looking at the Sago Mine collapse and more widespread impacts of mining, including population displacement, mountain top removal, coal dust dispersal, and stream pollution, flooding, and decimation. The book's final part moves from Washington D.C.—and an examination of coal, CO2, and national energy policy—back to Utah, for a tour of a coal mine, and a consideration of the Crandall Canyon mine cave-in, back to Wales and the closing of the oldest operating deep mine in the world and then to a look at energy alternatives, especially wind power, in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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Collected Leonard J Arrington Mormon History Lectures

USU Special Collections

The first ten lectures in Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series are here collected in one volume. The series, established by one of the twentieth-century West's most distinguished historians, Leonard Arrington, has become a leading forum for prominent historians to address topics related to Mormon history. The first lecturer was Arrington himself. He was followed by Richard Lyman Bushman, Richard E. Bennett, Howard R. Lamar, Claudia L. Bushman, Kenneth W. Godfrey, Jan Shipps, Donald Worster, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, and F. Ross Peterson. Utah State University hosts the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Series. The University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives houses the Arrington collection. The state's land grant university began collecting records very early, and in the 1960s became a major depository for Utah and Mormon records. Leonard and his wife Grace joined the USU faculty and family in 1946, and the Arringtons and their colleagues worked to collect original diaries, journals, letters, and photographs.

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College Writing and Beyond

A New Framework for University Writing Instruction

Anne Beaufort

Composition research consistently demonstrates that the social context of writing determines the majority of conventions any writer must observe. Still, most universities organize the required first-year composition course as if there were an intuitive set of general writing "skills" usable across academic and work-world settings.

In College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instruction, Anne Beaufort reports on a longitudinal study comparing one student’s experience in FYC, in history, in engineering, and in his post-college writing. Her data illuminate the struggle of college students to transfer what they learn about "general writing" from one context to another. Her findings suggest ultimately not that we must abolish FYC, but that we must go beyond even genre theory in reconceiving it.

Accordingly, Beaufort would argue that the FYC course should abandon its hope to teach a sort of general academic discourse, and instead should systematically teach strategies of responding to contextual elements that impinge on the writing situation. Her data urge attention to issues of learning transfer, and to developmentally sound linkages in writing instruction within and across disciplines. Beaufort advocates special attention to discourse community theory, for its power to help students perceive and understand the context of writing.

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Coming To Terms

A Theory of Writing Assessment

Patricia Lynne

In a provocative book-length essay, Patricia Lynne argues that most programmatic assessment of student writing in U.S. public and higher education is conceived in the terms of mid-20th century positivism. Since composition as a field had found its most compatible home in constructivism, she asks, why do compositionists import a conceptual frame for assessment that is incompatible with composition theory?

By casting this as a clash of paradigms, Lynne is able to highlight the ways in which each theory can and cannot influence the shape of assessment within composition. She laments, as do many in composition, that the objectively oriented paradigm of educational assessment theory subjugates and discounts the very social constructionist principles that empower composition pedagogy. Further, Lynne criticizes recent practice for accommodating the big business of educational testing—especially for capitulating to the discourse of positivism embedded in terms like "validity" and "reliability." These terms and concepts, she argues, have little theoretical significance within composition studies, and their technical and philosophical import are downplayed by composition assessment scholars.

There is a need, Lynne says, for terms of assessment that are native to composition. To open this needed discussion within the field, she analyzes cutting-edge assessment efforts, including the work of Broad and Haswell, and she advances a set of alternate terms for evaluating assessment practices, a set of terms grounded in constructivism and composition.

Coming to Terms is ambitious and principled, and it takes a controversial stand on important issues. This strong new volume in assessment theory will be of serious interest to assessment specialists and their students, to composition theorists, and to those now mounting assessments in their own programs.

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