cover of book

The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration
edited by Courtney Adams Wooten, Jacob Babb, Kristi Murray Costello and Kate Navickas
foreword by Laura Micciche
Utah State University Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-1-64642-000-1 | Paper: 978-1-60732-946-6
Library of Congress Classification PE1404.T479 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.0420711

Emotional labor is not adequately talked about or addressed by writing program administrators. The Things We Carry makes this often-invisible labor visible, demonstrates a variety of practical strategies to navigate it reflectively, and opens a path for further research. Particularly timely, this collection considers how writing program administrators work when their schools or regions experience crisis situations.
The book is broken into three sections: one emphasizing the WPA’s own work identity, one on fostering community in writing programs, and one on balancing the professional and personal. Chapters written by a diverse range of authors in different institutional and WPA contexts examine the roles of WPAs in traumatic events, such as mass shootings and natural disasters, as well as the emotional labor WPAs perform on a daily basis, such as working with students who have been sexually assaulted or endured racist, sexist, homophobic, and otherwise disenfranchising interactions on campus. The central thread in this collection focuses on “preserving” by acknowledging that emotions are neither good nor bad and that they must be continually reflected upon as WPAs consider what to do with emotional labor and how to respond. Ultimately, this book argues for more visibility of the emotional labor WPAs perform and for WPAs to care for themselves even as they care for others.
The Things We Carry extends conversations about WPA emotional labor and offers concrete and useful strategies for administrators working in both a large range of traumatic events as well as daily situations that require tactical work to preserve their sense of self and balance. It will be invaluable to writing program administrators specifically and of interest to other types of administrators as well as scholars in rhetoric and composition who are interested in emotion more broadly.

See other books on: Administration | Babb, Jacob | Composition | Micciche, Laura | Writing centers
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