Notes: Russel K. Durst, “Writing at the Postsecondary Level”

Durst, Russel K. “Writing at the Postsecondary Level.” In Peter Smagorinsky (ed.) Research on Writing. NY: Teacher College Press, 2006: 78-107.


Durst walks through major methodological/epistemic shifts in writing research from the positivists in the 1950s-1960s through to the “social turn” in composition studies in more recent years.

Keywords: Disciplinarity, Disciplinary History, Composition, Writing Studies, Methodology


Curtis, M. & Herrington, A. “Writing Development in the College Years: By Whose Definition?” CCC 55 (2003): 69-90.

Haggerty, G. C. & Zimmerman, B. Profession of Desire: Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature. NY: MLA (1995).

Smith, J. “Students’ goals, Gatekeeping, and Some Questions of Ethics.” CCC 48 (1997):299-320.

Spurlin W. (Ed.) Lesbian and Gay Studies and the Teaching of English. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2000.


“These discussions tend to describe the field of composition studies since the early 1980s as moving its focus from a cognitive examination of process to a more social, ethnographic, and political examination of context. This way of discussing “the social turn,” as the move to examine context generally is known in composition studies, is, in my view, an oversimplification” (79).

“These studies position the student in a first-year writing course not as disadvantaged, but rather as a somewhat privileged middle-class person in need of greater awareness about social inequities and improved ways of critiquing dominant discourse for the purpose of uncovering such inequities and helping to effect change” (84).

Notes: Jason Palmeri, “Creative Translations: Reimagining the Process Movement (1971-84)” in Remixing Composition: A History of Multimodal Writing Pedagogy”

Palmeri, Jason. (2012). Creative translations: Reimagining the process movement (1971-84). Remixing composition: A history of multimodal composition. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 23-50.



In this chapter, Palmeri takes his remix history through the process movement in composition studies, focusing on the works of Flower and Hayse, Berthoff, and Emig and how these theorists articulated process as a multimodal, cognitive activity. In this, he identifies three key concepts for multimodal writing: that alphabetic writing is multimodal, we should recognize the limitations and affordances of modalities, and composition has much to gain from interdisciplinary work with other arts.

Keywords: composition, disciplinary history, interdisciplinarity, multimodality, pedagogy, process, technology


Henze, Brett, Jack Selzer, and Wendy Sharer. (2008). 1977: A cultural moment in composition. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor.

Shipka, Jody. (2005). A multimodal task-based framework for composing. College Composition and Communication, 57(2), 277-306.


“In an environment where distinctions between alphabetic writing, art, design, and music are breaking down (Manovich, New London Group), it is important that we help students gain a global understanding of creative processes that is not tied to any specific modality–an understanding that they can use to help guide their composing with diverse alphabetic, audio, and visual materials” (p. 28).

“Rather than seeing translation as a reductive process of moving from multimodal mind to alphabetic page, we can instead reimagine translation as a dynamic process of moving between internal multimodal representations of knowing (in the mind) and external multimodal representations (on the computer or the page)” (p. 33-34).

“Rather than requiring that students pursue the act of translation with the ultimate goal of producing an alphabetic text, we could teach students to engage in multimodal translation with the ultimate goal of being able to make an informed rhetorical choice about which modalities best enable them to persuasively present their thoughts to a specific audience” (p. 37-38).

“[W]e might begin to reimagine writing-across-the-curriculum programs as composing-across-the-curriculum programs–exploring, for example, ways that students might better learn scientific concepts if they both wrote about them and made videos about them” (p. 43).

“If we limit students to only alphabetic means of invention and revision, we may unnecessarily constrain their ability to think intensively and complexly about their work. As a result, I suggest that composition teachers consider including one informal, multimodal composing activity as a part of every major unit or sequence in their course” (p. 44).

Questions, Reflections, and Response:

(Re)Framing the process movement in terms of multimodal composition is interesting and provides compelling insights into ways that composition is taught and how it might build from drawing on this multimodal history. Palmeri draws on this large body of scholarship from some of the most well-known scholars in the field’s past, remixing it with digital pedagogy and multimodal composition. When Palmeri discusses the interdisciplinary work that can be made through studying other arts, especially in an age where those disciplinary boundaries are blurred, I find particularly interesting; I do wonder about the creation of a shared vocabulary and the idea of this allowing for transfer across modalities if there is a way to understand the modalities as separate and different and to draw on their vocabularies as a rhetorical decision–a part of the encounter with the affordances and limitations of that modality in the discursive communities that surround that mode.


Notes: Jason Palmeri, “Introduction: Reseeing Composition History” in Remixing Composition: A History of Multimodal Writing Pedagogy

Palmeri, Jason. (2012). Introduction: Reseeing composition history. Remixing composition: A history of multimodal composition. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 4-19.



In introducing the subject matter of his book, Palmeri describes the “associative logic” (13) of remix, which shows the connections of seemingly disparate parts to gain insights through their juxtaposition. He does this in contrast to the prevalent narratives of composition’s history which discretely categorize the field’s epistemic ‘schools’ and organizes them into a narrative of progress.

Keywords: disciplinary history, interdisciplinarity, multimodality, remix, technology


Banks, Adam J. (2006). Race, rhetoric, and technology: Searching for higher ground. Mahwah, NJ: Earlbaum.

Selfe, Cynthia L.(2009). The movement of air, the breath of meaning: Aurality and multimodal composing. College Composition Communication, 60(4), 616-63.


“In emphasizing the importance of ‘new’ audio and video technologies, scholars have inadvertently deleted from view many of the vivid multimodal scenes that flourished in our field’s past” (p. 5).

“My goal in recovering compositionists’ multimodal heritage is most pointedly not to protect our ‘turf’ or ‘claim’ on multimodality, but rather to articulate what specifically we have to bring to wider interdisciplinary collaborations” (p. 8).

“Certainly, emerging digital technologies open up new possibilities for integrating multimodal activities into the writing classroom, but it is important to remember that composition has always already been a field that has sought to help students draw connections between writing, image making, speaking, and listening” (p. 10).

“When the remixer enters the record store or video archive, she doesn’t seek to evaluate or categorize…. Whereas the critic would strive to sort art works into genres and periods, the remixer would seek to creatively recombine disparate materials–to make a new composition by juxtaposing samples from radically disparate artistic traditions and periods” (p. 13).

Reflection and Response:

I’m very interested in remixing as a methodology–a remix historiography. The idea of these disparate parts being selected and connections made between them to make a new composition is compelling–and one that I think compositionists have certainly come to value in recent years. I think it lends itself well to the idea that multimodal as an encounter with objects and that composing is made through the connections between the writer and these objects–and to play with these objects is to make explicit their role in composing. To adopt that into a history of composition is interesting.

Notes: Matthew B. Cox and Michael J. Faris, “An Annotated Bibliography of LGBTQ Rhetorics”

Cox, Matthew B. & Michael J. Faris. (2015) An annotated bibliography of LGBTQ rhetorics. Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society 4(2).


Cox and Faris, building on previous bibliographical works within queer rhetorics and LGBTQ studies ( such as “Corey, Smith, and Nakayama’s; Rebecca Moore Howard’s; and Jonathan Alexander and Michael J. Faris’s.”), compile an annotated bibliography of queer rhetorics, with a topical guide for different sections. The authors constructed this bibliography not to rigidly define the field or compile the entirety of it, but they collected and annotated sources to create a tool for scholars and graduate students to navigate the ways that queer rhetorics has been taken up into different journals, in different disciplines within rhetoric and communication, and the ways queer rhetorics has been enacted thus far.

Keywords: bibliography, communication, composition, disciplinarity, disciplinary history, LGBTQ, queer, queer rhetorics, queer theory, rhetoric, writing studies

Sources and a Founding Reading List:

Alexander, Jonathan, and William P. Banks. “Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Overview.” Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing. Spec. issue of Computers and Composition 21.3 (2004): 273-293. Print.

Alexander, Jonathan, Janell Haynes, and Jacqueline Rhodes, eds. Public/Sex: Connecting Sexuality and Service Learning. Spec. issue of Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service-Learning 9.2 (2010). Print.

Alexander, Jonathan, and Elizabeth Losh. “‘A YouTube of One’s Own?’: ‘Coming Out’ Videos as Rhetorical Action.” LGBT Identity and New Online Media. Eds. Christopher Pullen and Margaret Cooper. New York: Routledge, 2010. 37-50. Print.

Banks, William P. “Written Through the Body: Disruptions and ‘Personal’ Writing.”The Personal in Academic Writing. Spec. issue of College English 66.1 (2003): 21-40. Print.

Banks, William P., and Jonathan Alexander. “Queer Eye for the Comp Program: Toward a Queer Critique of WPA Work.” The Writing Program Interrupted: Making Space for Critical Discourse. Eds. Donna Strickland and Jeanne Gunner. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2009. 86-98. Print.

Bennett, Jeffrey. “‘Born This Way’: Queer Vernacular and the Politics of Origins.”Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 11.3 (2014): 211-230. Print.

Carr, Allison. “In Support of Failure.” Composition Forum 27 (2013). Web.

Dean, Tim. “Bodies that Mutter: Rhetoric and Sexuality.” Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 15.1-2 (1994): 80-117. Print.

Fox, Catherine. “Reprosexuality, Queer Desire, and Critical Pedagogy: A Response to Hyoejin Yoon.” JAC 26.1-2 (2006): 244-53. Print.

Fox, Catherine Olive-Marie. “Toward a Queerly Classed Analysis of Shame: Attunement to Bodies in English Studies.” College English 76.4 (2014): 337-56. Print.

Gray, Mary L. “‘Queer Nation is Dead/Long Live Queer Nation’: The Politics and Poetics of Social Movement and Media Representation.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 26.3 (2009): 212-236. Print.

Goltz, Dustin Bradley. “It Gets Better: Queer Futures, Critical Frustrations, and Radical Potentials.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 30.2 (2013): 135-151. Print.

Hall, Donald E. “Cluelessness and the Queer Classroom.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 7.2 (2007): 182-91. Print.

Highberg, Nels P. “‘Because We Were Just Too Scared’: Rhetorical Constructions of Patient Zero.” Medical Humanities Review 18.1-2 (2004): 9-26. Print.

Kopelson, Karen. “Queering the Writing Program: Why Now? How? And Other Contentious Questions.” Writing Program Administration 37.1 (2013): 199-213.

Landau, Jamie. “Reproducing and Transgressing Masculinity: A Rhetorical Analysis of Women Interacting with Digital Photographs of Thomas Beatie.” Women’s Studies in Communication 35.2 (2012): 178-203. Print.

Libretti, Tim. “Sexual Outlaws and Class Struggle: Rethinking History and Class Consciousness from a Queer Perspective.” College English 67.2 (2004): 154-171. Print.

Mitchell, Danielle. “I Thought Composition Was about Commas and Quotes, Not Queers: Diversity and Campus Change at a Rural Two-Year College.” Composition Studies 36.2 (2008): 23-50. Print.

Monson, Connie, and Jacqueline Rhodes. “Risking Queer: Pedagogy, Performativity, and Desire in Writing Classrooms.” JAC 24.1 (2004): 79-91. Print.

Morris, Charles E., III, and K. J. Rawson. “Queer Archives/Archival Queers.”Theorizing Histories of Rhetoric. Ed. Michelle Ballif. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2013. 74-89. Print.

Morrison, Margaret. “Laughing with Queers in My Eyes: Proposing ‘Queer Rhetoric(s)’ and Introducing a Queer Issue.” Queer Rhetoric. Spec. issue of Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 11-36. Print.

Ouellette, Marc. “Come Out Playing: Computer Games and the Discursive Practices of Gender, Sex, and Sexuality.” Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical Methods and Applications at the Intersection. Eds. Jennifer deWinter and Ryan M. Moeller. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014. 35-51. Print.

Rand, Erin J. “Queer Critical Rhetoric Bites Back.” Spec. issue of Western Journal of Communication 77.5 (2013): 533-7. Print.

Ramsby, Fiona Harris. “The Drama as Rhetorical Critique: Language, Bodies, and Power in Angels in America.” Rhetoric Review 33.4 (2014): 403-420. Print.

Rawson, K. J. “Accessing Transgender // Desiring Queer(er?) Archival Logics.”Archivaria 68 (2009): 123-140. Print.

Rawson, K. J. “Rhetorical History 2.0: Toward a Digital Transgender Archive.”Enculturation 16 (2013). Web.

Rawson, K. J. “Transgender Worldmaking in Cyberspace: Historical Activism on the Internet.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking 1.2 (2014): 38-60. Print.

Rhodes, Jacqueline, and Jonathan Alexander. “Experience, Embodiment, Excess: Multimedia [E]visceration and Installation Rhetoric.” The New Work of Composing. Eds. Deborah Journet, Cheryl Ball, and Ryan Trauman. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital P / Utah State UP. 2012. Web.

Sewell, John Ike. “‘Becoming Rather Than Being’: Queer’s Double-Edged Discourse as Deconstructive Practice.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 38.4 (2014): 291-307. Print.

Sloop, John M. Disciplining Gender: Rhetorics of Sex Identity in Contemporary US Culture. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2004. Print.

Spade, Dean, and Craig Wilse. “Sex, Gender, and War in an Age of Multicultural Imperialism.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Wordmaking 1.1 (2014): 5-29. Print.

Wallace, David L. Compelled to Write: Alternative Rhetoric in Theory and Practice. Logan: Utah State UP, 2011. Print.

Wallace, David L., and Jonathan Alexander. “Queer Rhetorical Agency: Questioning Narratives of Heteronormativity.” JAC 29.4 (2009): 793-819. Print.

West, Isaac. “Queer Generosities.” Spec. issue of Western Journal of Communication 77.5 (2013): 538-41. Print.

West, Isaac, Michaela Frischherz, Allison Panther, and Richard Brophy. “Queer Worldmaking in the ‘It Gets Better’ Campaign.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. 0.1 (2013): 49-86. Print.

Yep, Gust A., Karen E. Lovaas, and John P. Elia, eds. Queer Theory and Communication: From Disciplining Queers to Queering the Discipline(s). Binghamton, NY: Haworth, 2003. Print.

Young, Anna M., Andria Battaglia, and Dana L. Cloud. “(UN)Disciplining the Scholar Activist: Policing the Boundaries of Political Engagement.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 96.4 (2010): 427-35. Print.

Wight, Jules. “Saving Private Manning? On Erasure and the Queer in I Am Bradley Manning Campaign.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking 1.1 (2014): 118-129. Print.


“This bibliography, then, is motivated by a series of exigencies. First and foremost is visibility and accessibility of research and scholarship in LGBTQ rhetorics. As Charles E. Morris III and K. J. Rawson note, while queer scholarship in rhetorical studies has been quite visible over the last decade and queer theory has been quite influential across the humanities and social sciences, “rhetorical scholars have been much slower in responding to the ‘queer turn’” (74). This bibliography, we hope, can lend visibility to this body of work.”

“It should assist graduate students new to the field and researchers already far into their careers in understanding the rich history of sexuality studies and rhetorical studies, finding relevant scholarship, and developing exigencies in research that they can exploit for their own scholarship pursuits.”

“Graduate students are often encouraged to study heteronormative theory and, we might say, are trained to identify with it.”

“This bibliography might also be useful to scholars looking to publish in queer rhetorics to identify journals that have been particularly open or hospitable to certain queer approaches.”

“This investment in world-making has meant that many queer theorists embrace anti-normativity. It is important to note that anti-normativity here is not embraced simply for the sake of anti-normativity itself but because, as Lauren Berlant and Warner explain, normativity continues to value statistical mass (and thus heterosexuality) and cramps spaces of sexual culture (557).”

“Bibliographic work is in many ways disciplinary work, attending to and demarcating the boundaries of “what counts” as rhetorical, as related to sexuality, and as queer.”

“It is important to us to note that we see this bibliographic work as a kairotic space—a first for rhetoric studies in its comprehensive nature, but by no means a canonical text. We hope this bibliography is productive for scholars who hope to continue to challenge the field in terms of methods, methodologies, epistemologies, and modes of publishing—digital and print.”

Questions and Reflection:

In queer rhetorics, which often resists definition and the all too often conservative notions of disciplinarity that are focused on the reproduction of the field, are there ways in which we can sponsor engagement with queer rhetorics, mentorship, and ways of accessing or publishing queer rhetorics that would consciously and explicitly make visible the practices within queer rhetorics of demarcation as a field, especially for newcomers?

Notes: Derek Mueller, “Grasping Rhetoric and Composition by Its Long Tail: What Graphs Can Tell Us about the Field’s Changing Shape”

Mueller, Derek. (2012). Grasping rhetoric and composition by its long tail: What graphs can tell us about the field’s changing shape. College Composition and Communication, 64(1), 195-223.


Mueller graphs the history of the field of composition studies from 1987-2011 to show the changing distribution of citations within the field. Mueller’s research utilizes methods of distant reading to show the tensions and relationships implicit in these citations.

Keywords: citations, composition, disciplinarity, disciplinary history, distant reading, keywords, quantitative methods, rhetoric, visual rhetoric, writing studies


Moretti, Franco. (2005). Graphs, maps, trees: Abstract models for a literary history. London: Verso.

Phillips, Donna Burns, Ruth Greenberg, and Sharon Gibson. (1993). College composition and communication: Chronicling a discipline’s genesis. College Composition and Communication, 44(4), 443–65.


“So while quantitative studies of authors cited in a well-known journal may offer a reasonable indication of the “common knowledge” of the field, this approach must not appear to produce a definitive roster of influences on the discipline. Compilations drawn from lists of citations might prompt us to wonder about the kinds of knowledge formal references demand of a reader, and a wide variety of contextualizing techniques within the articles themselves are sure to help familiarize readers with those voices brought into the piece—whatever the motive.” (p. 206).

“Thus, we can use distant reading methods to understand with more granularity factors affecting citation distribution… Separating subsets of the citation data would allow us to search for patterns according to many different criteria, exploring, for instance, the frequency of citation made to work by scholars within the first five or ten years of their careers, to work by alums of specific graduate programs, or by scholars whose research focuses on a specialized area. The methodology is considerably more dynamic and robust than this necessarily limited introduction of it can feature” (p. 214).

“Even self-described generalists, in those moments when they are again reminded of the Sisyphean demands of the field’s ongoing quality, inevitably experience (if indirectly, by felt sense) the lengthening of the long tail as a burdensome certainty: the unyielding march of time coupled with the burgeoning material resources piling up in the disciplinary commons. In economics, the long tail is sometimes called the heavy tail. The tail is, in this sense, paradoxical: an abundant, weighty expanse consisting of a highly uneven mix of sources, from the new to the forgotten to the idiosyncratic” (p. 214).

“Disciplinary terrain is constantly shifting, perhaps at what appears to be a faster rate than in many fields due to the adaptive, dappled spirit of much of the work in rhetoric and composition studies. Depending largely on one’s vantage point—that is, on whether one looks at the head or the tail of a citation frequency distribution—the field can appear to be highly focused, with a recognizable set of shared, dedicated principles and motives, or, it can appear as a loose amalgamation of pocketed clusters and enclaves, each holding fast to a relatively unique set of interests while neglecting (mindfully or not) any concept of disciplinarity in general.20 The full spectrum of citation data brings to light how both vantage points—generalist and specialist—are simultaneously implicated” (p. 218).


In what ways might this kind of distant readings be able to make explicit the tacit expectations of the field’s discourse? Can this be a self-reflective tool for those within the field to combat the idea of a monolithic entity of composition studies? Might a cartography of a field emerge? If nodes were given relational weights, would textures of the field emerge that might also give means of showing sub-disciplines, interdisciplinary frames, and other means of entering into composition studies?

What distant readings and graphing can be done to show the relationships between networks of scholarship or “scholarly corpora” and scholarly lineages? Might the emerging patterns ask questions of ownership, schools of thought, and the sort of (re)production of a discipline’s values, in that the act of tracing might allow to make visible a kind of pedigree of pedagogy and publication, which might too easily be used as the means of invitation into the conversations?

Notes: Kyle P. Vealey and Nathaniel A. Rivers, “Dappled Discipline at Thirty: An Interview with Janice Lauer”

Vealey, Kyle P. & Nathaniel A. Rivers. (2014). Dappled discipline at thirty: An interview with Janice M. Lauer. Rhetoric Review, 33(2), 165-180.


Vealey and Rivers take up many of the issues and ideas that Lauer wrote thirty years prior to talk about how the field has grown, changed, and remained the same. The authors discuss how Lauer’s article helped shape the conversation around composition studies and how that framework she established for talking about composition studies helps frame many of the current conversations around composition.

Keywords: composition, disciplinarity, disciplinary history, interview, rhetoric, writing studies


Trimbur, John. (1993). Composition studies: Postmodern or popular. In Anne Ruggles Gere (ed.) Into the field: Sites of compositions. New York: MLA, 117–32.

Vitanza, Victor. (1991). Three countertheses: Or, a critical in(ter)vention into composition theories and pedagogies. In Patricia Harkin & John Schilb (eds.) Contending with words: Composition and rhetoric in a postmodern age. New York: MLA, 139–72.


“Lauer contests the boundaries of composition as a discipline—marking, in particular, the way boundary-crossing and boundary-blurring are distinctive features of composition’s disciplinarity. In other words, what makes composition unique as a discipline is its resistance to traditional disciplinary characteristics” (p. 166).

“As Louise Phelps has so insightfully written, rhetoric and composition is characterized by reflexivity, which allows it to question itself, critique itself, and understand itself without those doing so being censured. Such reflexivity, I believe, can produce healthy growth, modification, and correction if such reflexivity is done respectfully” (p. 178).


Between the two articles pertaining to Lauer, she seems to put composition at odds with English departments–is that part of the articulation of what composition is? not literature?

How can Lauer’s does Lauer’s ideas of composition’s reflexivity inform its pedagogical practice?

Notes: Janice Lauer, “Composition Studies: Dappled Discipline”

Lauer, Janice. (1984). Composition studies: Dappled discipline. Rhetoric Review, 3(1), 20-29.


Lauer undergoes a discussion about the field of composition’s origins and key ideals, by not only going through a sort of history of the field, but by reflecting on analysis of how the research within composition had been conducted to its date of publication. She points to chief issues within composition, such as negotiating with already established disciplines within English studies, and navigates the benefits and costs of composition’s interdisciplinary reach.

Keywords: composition, disciplinarity, disciplinary history, interdisciplinarity multimodality, research methods, writing studies


Linda Flower and John Hayes, “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing,” College Composition and Communication, 32 (1981), 365-87.

Maxine Hairston, “The Winds of Change: Thomas Kuhn and the Revolution in the Teaching of Writing,” College Composition and Communication, 33 (1982), 76-88.


“Through this process, the field has been seeking warranted consensus about knowledge of written discourse. But the kind of consensus it reaches differs from that in technical fields. Farrell, distinguishing between social and technical knowledge, helps clarify the nature of the judgmental process. He explains that while both social and technical fields grant epistemic status to new work on the basis of consensual agreement, in technical fields, that consensus about methods of investigation can be more rigorously verified. But social fields like composition studies depend on attributions of consensus that act as preconditions for arguing the validity of any theory” (23).

“He implies another distinction that has important implications for this discipline. In social fields, advocates have two kinds of audience: 1) the epistemic court of experts and 2) larger affected populations for whom social knowledge exercises a rhetorical function, attempting to gain their acceptance of its conclusions and to induce their action” (23-24).


With writing existing across disciplines, what do writing methods look like and how can they remain responsive to fluid and expansive interests within the research of writing?

Are the benefits of remaining and embracing the multimodality greater than their costs? And, if so, what would be the articulation of the field centered on this–beyond collaboration?