Transforming English Studies


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Transforming English Studies provides a uniquely interdisciplinary view of English studies’ “crises”—both real and imagined--and works toward resolving the legitimate pathologies that threaten the sustainability of the discipline.



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Published 23 February 2009
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EAN13 9781602350991
Language English
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T E S N V   E G
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L S  R  C Series Editors: Caterine Hobbs, Patricia Sullivan, Tomas Rickert, and Jennifer Bay
L S  R C Series Editors: Caterine Hobbs, Patricia Sullivan, Tomas Rickert, and Jennifer Bay
Te Lauer Series in Retoric and Composition onors te contribu-tions Janice Lauer Hutton as made to te emergence of Retoric and Composition as a disciplinary study. It publises scolarsip tat carries on Professor Lauer’s varied work in te istory of written retoric, disci-plinarity in composition studies, contemporary pedagogical teory, and written literacy teory and researc.
Oter Books in te Series Ancient Non-Greek Rhetorics, edited by Carol S. Lipson and Roberta A. Binkley Roman Rhetoric: Revolution and the Greek Influence,Revised and Expanded Edition, Ricard Leo Enos (008) Stories of Mentoring, Theory and Praxis, edited by Micelle F. Eble and Lynée Lewis Gaillet Writers Without Borders: Writing and Teaching Writing in Troubled Times, Lynn Z. Bloom (008) 1977: A Cultural Moment in Composition, by Brent Henze, Jack Selzer, and Wendy Sarer (008) The Promise and Perils of Writing Program Administration,edited by Teresa Enos and Sane Borrowman (008) Untenured Faculty as Writing Program Administrators: Institutional Practices and Politics, edited by Debra Frank Dew and Alice Horning (007) Networked Process: Dissolving Boundaries of Process and Post-Process, by Helen Foster (007) Composing a Community: A History of Writing Across the Curriculum, edited by Susan H. McLeod and Margot Iris Soven (006) Historical Studies of Writing Program Administration: Individuals, Communities, and the Formation of a Discipline,edited by Barbara L’Eplattenier and Lisa Mastrangelo (004). Winner of te WPA Best Book Award for 004–005. Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures: Refiguring College English Studies(Expanded Edition) by James A. Berlin (00)
Transforming Englis Studies
New Voices in an Emerging Genre
Edited by Lori Ostergaard Jeff Ludwig Jim Nugent
Parlor Press West Lafayette, Indiana
Parlor Press LLC, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906
 009 by Parlor Press All rigts reserved. Printed in te United States of America
S A N:  5 4 - 8 8 7 9
 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Transforming Englis studies : new voices in an emerging genre / edited by Lori Ostergaard, Jeff Ludwig, Jim Nugent.  p. cm. -- (Lauer series in retoric and composition) Includes bibliograpical references and index. ISBN 978--605-097-7 (pbk. : alk. paper) -- ISBN 978--605-098-4 (ardcover : alk. paper) -- ISBN 978--605-099- (adobe ebook) . Englis pilology--Study and teacing (Higer)--United States. . Englis language--Study and teacing (Higer)--United States. . Education, Higer--Economic aspects--United States. 4. Education, Higer--Social aspects--United States. 5. Language and culture--United States. I. Ostergaard, Lori. II. Ludwig, Jeff. III. Nugent, Jim. PE68.U5T7 009 48.007’7--dc  0090069
Cover image: “Grunge Scroll Background” © 008 by Sam Alfano. Used by permission. Cover design by David Blakesley. Printed on acid-free paper.
Parlor Press, LLC is an independent publiser of scolarly and trade titles in print and multimedia formats. Tis book is available in paper, clot and Adobe eBook formats from Parlor Press on te World Wide Web at ttp:// or troug online and brick-and-mortar bookstores. For submission information or to find out about Parlor Press publications, write to Parlor Press, 86 Robinson St., West Lafayette, Indiana, 47906, or e-mail
Foreword: Transforming te Discourse of Crisis Gary A. Olson Acknowledgments Introduction: Preservation and Transformation Jim Nugent and Lori Ostergaard
Part I: Negotiation and Collaboration Making Trouble Elsewere: Second-Generation Con/fusion Chris W. Gallagher, Peter M. Gray, and Shari J. Stenberg Sociolinguistics as a Lens for Viewing Englis Studies, or Wearing My Ever-Lovin,’ Ever-Cangin’ Heart on My Sleeve Susan Meredith Burt 4 We’reAllTeacers of Englis: Te (Rocky) Road to Collaboration Caren J. Town
Part II: Disciplinary Enactment69 5 Beside Disciplinary Englis: Working for Professional Solidarity by Reforming Academic Labor71 David B. Downing 6 Embracing te Conflicts: An Argument Against Separating Writing Studies from Englis Studies100 William P. Banks
vi 7 Transforming Fragmentation into Possibility: Teory in te Corporate University Matthew Abraham
Part III: Curricular Design 8 Te Purpose of te University and te Definition of Englis Studies: A Necessary Dialogue Marcia A. McDonald 9 A Socially Constructed View of Reading and Writing: Historical Alternatives to “Bridging te Gap” Lynée Lewis Gaillet 0 On te Border: Teorizing te Generalist Matthew T. Pifer
Part IV:KairoticApproaces  We Are (Not) One: Corrupting Composition in te Ruined University Michael Pennell  Englis Teacers We Have Known Christopher Schroeder  (Re)defining te Humanistic: Making Space for Tecnology in Twenty-First Century Englis Studies Michael S. Knievel 4 Afterword: From Plaincant to Polypony Douglas Hesse Contributors Index
255 259
Transforming te Discourse of Crisis
Gary A. Olson
Many speak of te discipline of Englis studies as being in crisis—a kind of identity crisis werein we as a field are desperately attempting to pin down exactly wat constitutes te discipline. Stanley Fis even suggests—in is instantly controversial and even reviledProfessional Correctness—tat Englis studies is in danger of rendering itself ir-relevant. Fis claims tat te field is expanding its borders so widely, is becoming so capacious, tat it is losing its distinctiveness—te at-tribute tat enables people to recognize exactly wat a discipline is, wat kind of intellectual work it engages in. He takes wat in effect is a Derridian stance in pointing out tat any given ting is defined in contrast to all tings tat it is not. Englis studies is wat it is because it isnotantropology or biology or sociology, and so on—altoug it may borrow from tese and oter disciplines. Tat is, we understand a discipline to be wat it is because it can successfully present itself to its own members and to te world at large as performing some specific set of tasks tat only it can accomplis or tat oter disciplines are not as qualified to perform. Fis worries tat te rus in Englis studies to embrace cultural studies, new istoricism, and a range of oter mostly political discourses will so dilute te discipline’s distinctiveness tat it will no longer be recognizable as engaging in work unique to itself. If te discipline does in fact abandon its distinctiveness, if it seems to be all tings to all people (and tus noting at all), ten it will lose its raison d’ êtreand consequently may well suffer te fate of classics in te university curriculum: near extinction. Wile te discourse of crisis tat Fis, James Berlin, and oters adopt is a relatively recent penomenon—and, I must add, an inter-
ested one, in tat suc language always works to make te autor’s particular agenda appear especially urgent and tus especially worty of consideration—te kind of disciplinary reflection tat tey engage in is not new at all. Even before Ricard Omann’s canonicalEnglish in America,ave examined Englis studies as a discipline, scolars noted its flaws, and recommended adjustments. Te discourse of crisis notwitstanding, suc meta-level reflection is ealty; it is wat elps us all keep sigt of our collective values and pursuits—our disciplinary distinctiveness—even wen we can’t all agree on precisely wat tose values and pursuits are.Transforming English Studies: New Voices in an Emerging Genreis te latest contribution to wat—as te subtitle sug-gests—is becoming a critical genre in and of itself: te self-conscious, meta-level examination of te disciplinequa discipline. Te autors and editors undertake an ambitious effort to examine te status of Englis studies as a discipline and to serve as a positive alternative to te more fraugt apocalyptic works tat only envision disciplinary self-immolation were we not to follow a given pat immediately and witout waver. Te works in tis collection attempt to engage posi-tively wit ow te discipline can transform itself to be responsive to its varied constituents and intellectual discourses. Wile not all te autors contained erein agree wit one anoter on all points, teir onest and constructive treatments of te subject add up to an ener-getic and refresing exploration of Englis studies. Unlike Fis, wo defines te discipline in te narrowest of terms, te autors inTransforming English Studiesattempt to account for te eteroglossia in te field—te multiple voices and varied perspectives tat ave come to constitute (like it or not) te modern discipline of Englis studies. In fact, it is exactly tis attention to wat te editors term “polyvocality” tat makes tis text stand out as a special con-tribution to te ongoing scolarly conversations about te discipline. Readers will find muc ere to contemplate as te field continuously reinvents itself—as it always as.
W C Fis, Stanley.Professional Correctness: Literary Studies and Political Change.Cambridge: Harvard UP, 999. Omann, Ricard.English in America: A Radical View of the Profession.Ox-ford: Oxford UP, 976.
Peraps taking too literally Stepen Nort’s suggestion inRefiguring the PhD in English Studiestat “doctoral students must write teir way into Englis Studies” (xiv) we began te process of compiling and editing tese essays wile still completing our doctoral degrees. Tis collection was born of our profound interest in te state of te discipline we were joining, and out of a curiosity about wat questions migt sape our lives’ work. Wat we discovered troug tis process was tat ours was a discipline tat welcomed and even encouraged new voices, new perspectives, and new questions, and tat it was a self-reflective discipline tat was evolving before our very eyes. We also found tat we were ardly tree graduate students working in isola-tion: along te way we encountered people wo were deeply interested in and committed to tis project. Indeed, we couldn’t ave completed tis collection witout te support and guidance of many people. We acknowledge a considerable debt to te Illinois State Univer-sity department of Englis for providing an intellectual space were disciplinary critique and self-reflective practice are commonplace. We would like to tank tat department for sowing us ow rewarding (if sometimes difficult) interdisciplinary conversations can be. Tis project also received material support from te Oakland University department of writing and retoric, for wic we are very grateful. We owe many tanks as well to Patricia Dunn, Jan Neuleib, Ron Strick-land, and Gary Olson wo offered suggestions, strategies, and support trougout te creative process. We remain deeply indebted to our colleagues Jessica Barnes-Pietruszynski, Cris Breu, Carles Harris, Erik Hayenga, Doug Hesse, Cyntia Huff, Tim Hunt, Melissa Ianetta, Robert R. Jonson, Laurence José, Hilary Justice, Marsall Kitcens, Ken Lindblom, Becky Nugent, Jeff Pietruszynski, and Susan Stew-art for teir invaluable intellectual and emotional support. Lori would particularly like to tank er moter, Helen. Jeff would particularly