Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Debra Jacobs

Keywords

National Council of Teachers of English, Modern Language Association, disciplinarity, teacher-training, Conference on College Composition and Communication, rhetoric

Abstract

The preparation of new college teachers of composition has been a disciplinary topic of interest as well as an institutional concern since the establishment in the late 1800s of the modern English department. In this project, I offer a critical history of the treatment of the topic of the preparation of teachers of college composition by the three most historically significant organizations to English as a discipline and Composition as a field of study within that discipline: the Modern Language Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. By analyzing the treatment of the topic of preparation college teachers of composition by the major publications of these three organizations during their formative years, I provide a topic specific history of the marginalization of composition within the discipline and its organizations.

ABSTRACT:This project expands on the work of individuals such as James Berlin, Albert Kitzhaber, Stephen North, Robert Connors, and others who have written on the historical marginalization of composition within the discipline and Academy and offers a more specific interrogation of the position of composition within the discipline and the Academy in general. In my work, I argue that the contemporaneous founding of the modern English department and the Modern Language Association allowed for the institutionalized relegation to a low status of composition and teachers of composition. That institutionalized low status eventually lead to the marginalization, fractionalization, and specialization of a group of composition scholars who believed teaching to be a central concern for the discipline, and the development of NCTE and eventually CCCC.

I further argue that a similar fractionalization and specialization within these smaller groups has left intact the institutionalized notions of status that led to their formation in the first place. I conclude by suggesting that in order to raise the status of composition in the discipline and the Academy it is necessary to address the sources of that marginalization directly as opposed to fractionalizing and specializing in reaction to it.

Share

COinS