In the face of the gradual saturation of US public education by the logics of neoliberalism, educators often find themselves at a loss to respond, let alone resist. Through state defunding and many other “reforms” fueled by austerity politics, a majority of educators are becoming casual labor in US universities while those who hang onto secure employment are pressed to act as self-supporting entrepreneurs or do more with less. Focusing on the discipline of writing studies, this collection addresses the sense of crisis that many educators experience in this age of austerity.
The chapters in this book chronicle how neoliberal political economy shapes writing assessments, curricula, teacher agency, program administration, and funding distribution. Contributors also focus on how neoliberal political economy dictates the direction of scholarship, because the economic and political agenda shaping the terms of work, the methods of delivery, and the ways of valuing and assessing writing also shape the primary concerns and directions of scholarship.
Composition in the Age of Austerity offers critical accounts of how the restructuring of higher education is shaping the daily realities of composition programs. The book documents the effects and implications of the current restructuring, examines how cherished rhetorical ideals actually leave the field unprepared to respond intelligibly in this national conversation, and establishes points of departure for collective response.