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Composing Research

A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition

Cindy Johanek

Cindy Johanek offers a new perspective on the ideological conflict between qualitative and quantitative research approaches, and the theories of knowledge that inform them. With a paradigm that is sensitive to the context of one's research questions, she argues, scholars can develop less dichotomous forms that invoke the strengths of both research traditions. Context-oriented approaches can lift the narrative from beneath the numbers in an experimental study, for example, or bring the useful clarity of numbers to an ethnographic study.

A pragmatic scholar, Johanek moves easily across the boundaries that divide the field, and argues for contextualist theory as a lens through which to view composition research. This approach brings with it a new focus, she writes. "This new focus will call us to attend to the contexts in which rhetorical issues and research issues converge, producing varied forms, many voices, and new knowledge, indeed reconstructing a discipline that will be simultaneously focused on its tasks, its knowledge-makers, and its students."

Composing Research is a work full of personal voice and professional commitment and will be a welcome addition to the research methods classroom and to the composition researcher's own bookshelf.

2000 Outstanding Scholarship Award from the International Writing Centers Association.

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Composition Studies As A Creative Art

Lynn Z. Bloom

Bloom gathers twenty of her most recent essays (some previously unpublished) on critical issues in teaching writing. She addresses matters of philosophy and pedagogy, class and marginality and gender, and textual terror transformed to textual power. Yet the body of her work and this representative collection of it remains centered, coherent, and personal. This work focuses on the creative dynamics that arise from the interrelation of writing, teaching writing, and ways of reading—and the scholarship and administrative issues engendered by it. To regard composition studies as a creative art is to engage in a process of intellectual or aesthetic free play, and then to translate the results of this play into serious work that yet retains the freedom and playfulness of its origins. The book is fueled by a mixture of faith in the fields that compose composition studies, hope that efforts of composition teachers can make a difference, and a sense of community in its broadest meaning. Included are Bloom's well-known essays "Teaching College English as a Woman," "Freshman Composition as a Middle Class Enterprise," and many more recent works, equally provocative and insightful.

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Crafting Presence

The American Essay and the Future of Writing Studies

by Nicole Wallack

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Creatures Of Habitat

The Changing Nature of Wildlife and Wild Places in Utah and the Intermountain West

Mark Gerard Hengesbaugh

From flying squirrels on high wooded plateaus to hanging gardens in redrock canyons, the Intermountain West is home to some of the world's rarest and most fascinating animals and plants. Creatures of Habitat details many unique but little-known talents of this region's strange and wonderful wild inhabitants and descibes their connections with native environments. For example, readers will learn about the pronghorn antelope's supercharged cardiovascular system, a brine shrimp-powered shorebird that each year flies nonstop from the Great Salt Lake to Central Argentina, and a rare mustard plant recently discovered on Mount Ogden. Emphasizing how increasing loss and degradation of habitat hinders native species' survival, Mark Gerard Hengesbaugh discusses what is happening to wildlife and wild places and what is being done about it.

Well illustrated, this book has habitat maps, pen-and-ink illustrations, and fifty photos of wildlife and wild places selected by photo editor Dan Miller. Also included are guides to wildlife viewing and lists of Utah species, including those considered sensitive, threatened, or endangered.

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Crossing Divides

Exploring Translingual Writing Pedagogies and Programs

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Cultures In Conflict

A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois

John Hallwas and Roger Launius

Cultures in Conflict offers students of history an invaluable source of documents regarding the history of the Mormon presence in Illinois. Few local histories are so academically sound. —Illinois Times Hallwas and Launius have compiled and written the most balanced and thorough account yet of the events and circumstances that led to the forced Mormon exodus from Nauvoo following the mini civil war that erupted in Illinois during the 1849s

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Damming Grand Canyon

The 1923 USGS Colorado River Expedition

Diane E Boyer and Robert H. Webb

In 1923, America paid close attention, via special radio broadcasts, newspaper headlines, and cover stories in popular magazines, as a government party descended the Colorado to survey Grand Canyon. Fifty years after John Wesley Powell's journey, the canyon still had an aura of mystery and extreme danger. At one point, the party was thought lost in a flood.

Something important besides adventure was going on. Led by Claude Birdseye and including colorful characters such as early river-runner Emery Kolb, popular writer Lewis Freeman, and hydraulic engineer Eugene La Rue, the expedition not only made the first accurate survey of the river gorge but sought to decide the canyon's fate. The primary goal was to determine the best places to dam the Grand. With Boulder Dam not yet built, the USGS, especially La Rue, contested with the Bureau of Reclamation over how best to develop the Colorado River. The survey party played a major role in what was known and thought about Grand Canyon.

The authors weave a narrative from the party's firsthand accounts and frame it with a thorough history of water politics and development and the Colorado River. The recommended dams were not built, but the survey both provided base data that stood the test of time and helped define Grand Canyon in the popular imagination.

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Dangerous Writing

Understanding the Political Economy of Composition

Tony Scott

Building on recent work in rhetoric and composition that takes an historical materialist approach, Dangerous Writing outlines a political economic theory of composition. The book connects pedagogical practices in writing classes to their broader political economic contexts, and argues that the analytical power of students’ writing is prevented from reaching its potential by pressures within the academy and without, that tend to wed higher education with the aims and logics of “fast-capitalism.”

Since the 1980s and the “social turn” in composition studies and other disciplines, scholars in this field have conceived writing in college as explicitly embedded in socio-rhetorical situations beyond the classroom. From this conviction develops a commitment to teach writing with an emphasis on analyzing the social and political dimensions of rhetoric.

Ironically, though a leftist himself, Tony Scott’s analysis finds the academic left complicit with the forces in American culture that tend, in his view, to compromise education. By focusing on the structures of labor and of institutions that enforce those structures, Scott finds teachers and administrators are too easily swept along with the inertia of a hyper-commodified society in which students---especially working class students---are often positioned as commodities, themselves. Dangerous Writing, then, is a critique of the field as much as it is a critique of capitalism. Ultimately, Scott’s eye is on the institution and its structures, and it is these that he finds most in need of transformation.

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Defender

by Quentin Thomas Wells

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