In the Archives of Composition offers new and revisionary narratives of composition and rhetoric’s history. It examines composition instruction and practice at secondary schools and normal colleges, the two institutions that trained the majority of U.S. composition teachers and students during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Drawing from a broad array of archival and documentary sources, the contributors provide accounts of writing instruction within contexts often overlooked by current historical scholarship. Topics range from the efforts of young women to attain rhetorical skills in an antebellum academy, to the self-reflections of Harvard University students on their writing skills in the 1890s, to a close reading of a high school girl’s diary in the 1960s that offers a new perspective on curriculum debates of this period. Taken together, the chapters begin to recover how high school students, composition teachers, and English education programs responded to institutional and local influences, political movements, and pedagogical innovations over a one-hundred-and-thirty-year span.
The writing major is among the most exciting scenes in the evolving American university. Writing Majors is a collection of firsthand descriptions of the origins, growth, and transformations of eighteen different programs. The chapters provide useful administrative insight, benchmark information, and even inspiration for new curricular configurations from a range of institutions.
A practical sourcebook for those who are building, revising, or administering their own writing majors , this volume also serves as a historical archive of a particular instance of growth and transformation in American higher education. Revealing bureaucratic, practical, and institutional matters as well as academic ideals and ideologies, each profile includes sections providing a detailed program review and rationale, an implementation narrative, and reflection and prospection about the program.
Documenting eighteen stories of writing major programs in various stages of formation, preservation, and reform and exposing the contingencies of their local and material constitution, Writing Majors speaks as much to the “how to” of building writing major programs as to the larger “what,” “why,” and “how” of institutional growth and change.