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By Subject - Composition/Literacy
TitleAuthorDescription
(Re)Writing CraftTim MayersTim Mayers explores the nature of the contemporary English department with the intent of drawing connections between the usually separate fields of creative writing and composition studies.

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“I Sing for I Cannot Be Silent”June Hadden HobbsEvangelical hymns constituted a cherished part of communal Christian life and served as an important and effective way to teach doctrine. These hymns served an additional social purpose in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: they gave evangelical women a voice in their churches. By comparing male and female hymnists' use of rhetorical forms, June Hadden Hobbs shows how women utilized the only oral communication allowed to them in public worship.

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Academic Discourse and Critical ConsciousnessPatricia BizzellAcademic Discourse and Critical Consciousness traces the attempts of one writing teacher to understand theoretically - and to respond pedagogically - to what happens when students from diverse backgrounds learn to use language in college. Critical of even her own previous work, Patricia Bizzell presents a picture of how she has grappled with major issues in composition studies over the past decade and offers suggestions for the development of composition studies as an academic discipline.

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Acts of EnjoymentThomas RickertA critique of current pedagogies that introduces a psychoanalytical approach in teaching composition and rhetoric. Thomas Rickert builds upon the advances of cultural studies and its focus on societal trends and broadens this view by placing attention on the conscious and subconscious thought of the individual.

Winner, 2007 JAC Gary A. Olson Award

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Ambient RhetoricThomas RickertIn Ambient Rhetoric, Thomas Rickert seeks to dissolve the boundaries of the rhetorical tradition and its basic dichotomy of subject and object. With the advent of new technologies, new media, and the dispersion of human agency through external information sources, rhetoric can no longer remain tied to the autonomy of human will and cognition as the sole determinants in the discursive act. Rickert develops the concept of ambience to engage all of the elements that comprise the ecologies in which we exist.

Winner, 2014 CCCC Outstanding Book Award.

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American Indian Rhetorics of SurvivanceErnest StrombergThe book examines the complex and sophisticated efforts of American Indian writers and orators to constructively engage an often hostile and resistant white audience through language and other symbol systems.

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Available MeansJoy RitchieAvailable Means offers seventy women rhetoricians—from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century—a room of their own for the first time. Editors Joy Ritchie and Kate Ronald carry on the feminist tradition of recovering a previously unarticulated canon of women’s rhetoric.
Between Languages and CulturesAnuradha DingwaneyThe essays in this book show how the act of translation, when vigilantly and critically attended to, becomes a means for active interrogation.

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Beyond the PulpitLisa ShaverAlthough women’s participation helped the Methodist church to become the United States’ largest denomination by the mid-nineteenth century, women’s official roles diminished during that time. In Beyond the Pulpit, Lisa Shaver examines Methodist periodicals as a rhetorical space to which women turned to find, and make, self-meaning.

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Buying into EnglishCatherine PrendergastEnglish has become the language of choice for global economic, political, and cultural exchange. Many developing countries (and, notably, many former Soviet bloc countries) have little choice but to “buy into English” as a path to ideological and material betterment. As Catherine Prendergast reveals, however, investing in English has not always been easy and has often disappointed expectations.

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Composition in the UniversitySharon CrowleyComposition in the University examines the required introductory course in composition within American colleges and universities. Crowley argues that due to its association with literary studies in English departments, composition instruction has been inappropriately influenced by humanist pedagogy and that modern humanism is not a satisfactory rationale for the study of writing. Crowley envisions possible nonhumanist rationales that could be developed for vertical curricula in writing instruction, were the universal requirement not in place.

Winner, 1998 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize

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Composition-RhetoricRobert ConnorsConnors provides a comprehensive history of composition and its pedagogical approaches to form, genre, and correctness. He shows where many of the today’s practices and assumptions about writing come from, and he translates what our techniques and theories of teaching have said over time about our attitudes toward students, language, and life.

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Counter-History of CompositionByron HawkContests the assumption that vitalism and contemporary rhetoric represent opposing, disconnected poles in the writing tradition. Vitalism has been historically linked to expressivism and dismissed as innate and unteachable, whereas rhetoric is seen as a rational, teachable method for producing argumentative texts. Hawk calls for the reexamination of current pedagogies to incorporate vitalism and complexity theory and argues for their application in the environments where students write and think today.

Winner of the 2007 JAC W. Ross Winterowd Award
Honorable Mention, 2007 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize

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Crossing BorderlandsAndrea LunsfordCrossing Borderlands contains essays examining the intersection between composition and postcolonial studies, two fields that seek to provide power to the words and actions of those who have been marginalized or oppressed.

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Distant PublicsJenny RiceJenny Rice examines patterns of public discourse that have evolved in response to development in urban and suburban environments. Centering her study on Austin, Texas, Rice provides case studies of development disputes that place the reader in the middle of real-life controversies and evidence her theories of claims-based public rhetorics.

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Eating on the StreetDavid SchaafsmaInspired by an incident during a field trip in 1989, David Schaafsma has written a powerful and compelling book about the struggle of teaching literacy in a racially divided society and the importance of stories and storytelling in the educational process.

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Emperor’s New ClothesKathryn FlanneryFlannery offers a demystifying perspective on theorists who have argued for an essential distinction between “content” and “style,” and focuses on the importance of understanding written prose style as a cultural asset.

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Evolution of College English Thomas MillerMiller defines college English studies as literacy studies and examines how it has evolved in tandem with broader developments in literacy and the literate. He maps out “four corners” of English departments: literature, language studies, teacher education, and writing studies. Miller identifies their development with broader changes in the technologies and economies of literacy that have redefined what students write and read, which careers they enter, and how literature represents their experiences and aspirations.

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Experimental Writing in CompositionPatricia SullivanA critical history of experimental writing theory, its aesthetic foundations, and their application to current multimodal writing. Patricia Sullivan sheds new light on both the positive and negative aspects of experimental writing and its attempts to redefine the writing disciplines. She further articulates the ways that multimedia is and isn’t changing composition pedagogies, and provides insights into resolving these tensions.
Feminine Principles & Women’s Experience in American Composition & RhetoricLouise Wetherbee PhelpsThis unique collection examines - against a rich historical background - the complex contributions that women have made to composition and rhetoric in American education.
Formation of College EnglishThomas MillerCo-Winner of the 1998 Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize for outstanding research publication in the field of teaching English language, literature, rhetoric and composition, The Formation of College English reexamines the civic concerns of rhetoric and the politics that have shaped and continue to shape college English.

Co-Winner, 1997 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize

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Fragments of RationalityLester FaigleyIn an insightful assessment of the study and teaching of writing against the larger theoretical, political, and technological upheavals of the past thirty years, Fragments of Rationality questions why composition studies has been less affected by postmodern theory than other humanities and social science disciplines.

Winner of the 1994 CCCC Outstanding Book Award
Winner of the 1992 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize

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From Form to MeaningDavid FlemingIn the spring of 1968, the English faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) voted to remedialize the first semester of its required freshman composition course, English 101. The following year, it eliminated outright the second semester course, English 102. For the next quarter-century, UW had no real campus-wide writing requirement, putting it out of step with its peer institutions and preventing it from fully joining the “composition revolution” of the 1970s.

Fleming shows how contributing factors—the growing reliance on TAs; the questioning of traditional curricula by young instructors and their students; the disinterest of faculty in teaching and administering general education courses—were part of a larger shift affecting universities nationally. He also connects the events of this period to the long, embattled history of freshman composition in the United States.

Winner of the 2012 CCCC Outstanding Book Award
Winner of the 2011 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize
Geopolitics of Academic WritingA. Suresh CanagarajahOffers a critique of current scholarly publishing practices, exposing the inequalities in the way academic knowledge is constructed and legitimized.

Winner of the 2002 JAC Gary A. Olson Award

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Imagining RhetoricJanet EldredJanet Eldred and Peter Mortensen examine the development of women’s writing in the decades between the American Revolution and the Civil War, and how women imagined using their education to further the civic aims of an idealistic new nation.

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Inessential SolidarityDiane DavisThis work examines critical intersections of rhetoric and solidarity in order to demonstrate that a rhetorical imperative—an underivable obligation to respond—is the condition for symbolic exchange, and therefore not only for the “art”of rhetoric, but for all determinate relations.

Winner of the 2010 JAC W. Ross Winterowd Award

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Interests and OpportunitiesSteve LamosLamos chronicles several decades of debates over high-risk writing programs on the national level, and locally, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign using critical race theorist Derrick Bell’s concept of “interest convergence.” To Lamos, understanding the past dynamics of convergence and divergence is key to formulating new strategies of local action and “story-changing” that can preserve and expand race-consciousness and high-risk writing instruction, even in adverse political climates.

Recipient of a special commendation from the 2013 (CCCC) Outstanding Book Award selection committee.
Introducing EnglishJames SlevinJames Slevin traces how composition emerged for him not as a vehicle for improving student writing, but rather as a way of working collaboratively with students to interpret educational practices and work for educational reform.

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Labyrinths of LiteracyHarvey GraffA compelling collection by one of the pioneers of revisionist approaches to the history of literacy in North America and Europe, The Labyrinths of Literacy offers original and controversial views on the relation of literacy to society, leading the way for scholars and citizens who are willing to question the importance and function of literacy in the development of society today.
Language of ExperienceGwen Gorzelsky Relying on Gestalt theory, this work describes the relationship between literacy and change in both personal and social situations. It presents historical and contemporary case studies, emphasizing the ways language interacts with perception.

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Learning from LanguageWalter BealeThis book seeks to bring together the disciplines of linguistics, rhetoric, and literary studies through the concept of symmetry (how words mirror thought, society, and our vision of the world).

Honorable Mention, 2009 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Award

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Life and Legacy of Fred Newton ScottDonald StewartThe first biography of Fred Newton Scott, one of the most influential figures in language studies during the early twentieth century.

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Literate Zeal Janet EldredNew in Paper

Janet Carey Eldred examines the rise of women magazine editors during the mid-twentieth century and reveals their unheralded role in creating a literary aesthetic for the American public.
Local HistoriesPatricia DonahueAn original and significant study of the developmental diversity within the discipline of composition that opens the door to further examination of local histories as guideposts to the origins of composition studies.

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Local Knowledges, Local PracticesJonathan MonroeContaining essays by professors in a wide variety of disciplines, this book provides an overview of Cornell University’s rich history and distinguished achievements in training students to write well.

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Managing Literacy, Mothering AmericaSarah RobbinsSarah Robbins identifies and defines a new genre in American letters—the domestic literacy narrative—and provides a cultural history of its development throughout the nineteenth century.

Winner of an Outstanding Academic Title Award from Choice Magazine (2006).

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Megarhetorics of Global Development Rebecca DingoThis volume examines rhetorical strategies used by multinational corporations, NGOs, governments, banks, and others to further their own economic, political, or technological agendas. These wide-ranging case studies employ rhetorical theory, globalization scholarship, and analysis of cultural and historical dynamics to offer critiques of development practices and their material effects.
Motives for MetaphorJames SeitzSince metaphor, by its very definition, brings two different entities together, James Seitz argues that it is the key to successfully integrating the seemingly different disciplines that make up English studies.

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Multimodal Literacies and Emerging GenresTracey BowenMultimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres examines the possibilities, challenges, and realities of mutimodal composition as an effective means of communication. The chapters view the ways that writing instructors and their students are exploring the spaces where communication occurs, while also asking “what else is possible.”

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Networking ArgumentsRebecca DingoAn original study on the use and misuse of global institutional rhetoric and the effects of these practices on women, particularly in developing countries. Using a feminist lens, Rebecca Dingo views the complex networks that rhetoric flows through, globally and nationally, and how it’s often reconfigured to work both for and against women and to maintain existing power structures.

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Origins of Composition Studies in the American College, 1875–1925John BreretonThis volume describes the formative years of English composition courses in college through a study of the most prominent documents of the time: magazine articles, scholarly reports, early textbooks, teachers' testimonies-and some of the actual student papers that provoked discussion. Includes writings by leading scholars of the era such as Adams Sherman Hill, Gertrude Buck, William Edward Mead, Lane Cooper, William Lyon Phelps, and Fred Newton Scott.

Winner, 1997 CCCC Outstanding Book Award

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Parlor RadicalJean PfaelzerRebecca Harding Davis was a prominent author of radical social fiction during the latter half of the nineteenth century. She confronted a wide range of contemporary American issues, giving voice to working women, prostitutes, wives seeking divorce, celibate utopians, and female authors. By engaging current strategies in literary hermeneutics with a strong sense of historical radicalism in the Gilded Age, Jean Pfaelzer reads Davis through the public issues that she forcefully inscribed in her fiction.

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PedagogyMariolina Rizzi SalvatoriMariolina Salvatori presents an anthology of documents that examine the evolution of American education in the nineteenth century and meaning of the word pedagogy.

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Plateau Indian Ways with WordsBarbara MonroeIn Plateau Indian Ways with Words, Barbara Monroe makes visible the arts of persuasion of the Plateau Indians, whose ancestral grounds stretch from the Cascades to the Rockies, revealing a chain of cultural identification that predates the colonial period and continues to this day.
Politics of RemediationMary SolidayMary Soliday reveals that institutions’ needs for remedial writing programs may outweigh students’ needs for those same programs. Uses CCNY’s open admissions policy as an in-depth case study, she questions the belief that language use is key to access to higher education.

Winner of the 2004 CCCC Outstanding Book Award

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Practicing WritingThomas MastersThomas Masters examines a pivotal era—the years following arrival of former soldiers on college campuses thanks to the GI Bill—in the history of the most ubiquitous and most problematic course offered in America: freshman English.

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PRE/TEXTVictor VitanzaThis book presents articles reprinted from the first ten years of the controversial journal PRE/TEXT, which probes many of the issues instructors in the field of rhetoric and composition face.

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Producing Good CitizensAmy WanRecent global security threats, economic instability, and political uncertainty have placed great scrutiny on the requirements for U.S. citizenship. The stipulation of literacy has long been one of these criteria. In Producing Good Citizens, Amy J. Wan examines the historic roots of this phenomenon, looking specifically to the period just before World War I, up until the Great Depression. During this time, the United States witnessed a similar anxiety over the influx of immigrants, economic uncertainty, and global political tensions. Citing numerous literacy theorists, Wan analyzes the correlation of reading and writing skills to larger currents within American society. She shows how early literacy training coincided with the demand for laborers during the rise of mass manufacturing, while also providing an avenue to economic opportunity for immigrants.

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Reading in Tudor EnglandEugene KintgenIn this volume Kintgen explains the differences between the way contemporary readers and those of the sixteenth century interpreted texts. He draws fascinating and convincing conclusions about the practice of reading, and successfully relates his arguements to the fields of literary studies and cognitive science.

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Reclaiming RhetoricaAndrea LunsfordThese essays examine how women from the period of ancient Greece all the way through to modern times have appropriated traditional forms of rhetoric and used them in women’s discourse.

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Renovating Rhetoric in Christian TraditionElizabeth Vander LeiThroughout history, people have appropriated and reconstructed rhetorical and religious resources to create effective arguments. In the process, they have remade both themselves and their communities. This volume offers notable examples of these reconstructions, ranging from arguments that occurred during the formation of Christianity to contemporary arguments about the relationship of religious and academic ways of knowing.
Re-reading Poets Paul KameenPaul Kameen reflects on the life and works of several famous poets. This serves as his foundation to explore a range of critical, intellectual, and cultural issues and to reestablish the value of poetry for everyone.

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Rhetoric in American AnthropologyRisa ApplegarthIn the early twentieth century, the field of anthropology transformed itself from the “welcoming science,” uniquely open to women, people of color, and amateurs, into a professional science of culture. The new field grew in rigor and prestige but excluded practitioners and methods that no longer fit a narrow standard of scientific legitimacy. In Rhetoric in American Anthropology, Risa Applegarth traces the “rhetorical archeology” of this transformation in the writings of early women anthropologists.
Rhetoric of Remediation Jane StanleyAmerican universities have long professed dismay at the writing proficiency of entrants. Jane Stanley examines the “rhetoric of remediation” at the University of California, Berkeley, and reveals the definition of a high need for remediation as a tool by which Cal encouraged or discouraged enrollments in direct correlation to social, economic and political currents throughout the University's history.

Winner, 2010 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize Read the press release

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Rhetorica in MotionEileen Schell Rhetorica in Motion is the first collected work to investigate feminist rhetorical research methods in both contemporary and historical contexts. The contributors analyze familiar themes, such as archival, literary, and online research, but also looks to other areas of rhetoric, such as disability studies; gerontology/aging studies; Latina/o, queer, and transgender studies; performance studies; and transnational feminisms in both the United States and larger geopolitical spaces.

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To Know Her Own HistoryKelly RitterKelly Ritter chronicles the evolution of writing programs at a landmark Southern women’s college during the postwar period. She finds that despite its conservative Southern culture and vocational roots, the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina was a unique setting where advanced writing programs and creativity flourished long before these trends emerged nationally.
Toward a Civil DiscourseSharon CrowleyLooks at ways to encourage American public discussion of issues that matter to democracy, particularly hoping to find arguments that can reach across the divide between liberalism and Christian fundamentalism in the discussion of civic issues.

Winner of the 2006 JAC Gary A. Olson Award
Winner of the 2008 Rhetoric Society of America Book Award
Winner of the 2008 CCCC Outstanding Book Award
Winner of the 2007 NCTE David H. Russell Award


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Toward a Composition Made WholeJody ShipkaShipka views composition as an act of communication that can be expressed through any number of media and as a path to meaning-making. Her study offers an in-depth examination of multimodality via the processes, values, structures, and semiotic practices people employ every day to compose and communicate their thoughts. While she views writing as crucial to discourse, she challenges us to always consider the various purposes that writing serves.

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Toward a Feminist RhetoricJoAnn CampbellJoAnn Campbell has created the first collection of the major work of innovative thinker and educator Gertrude Buck. Examples of her writings on rhetorical theory, argumentative and expository composition, and other works demonstrate, along with Campbell’s informative introduction, the importance of Buck’s achievements in the male-dominated world of rhetorical composition.

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Traces of a StreamJacqueline Jones RoysterTraces of a Stream offers a unique scholarly perspective that merges interests in rhetorical and literacy studies, United States social and political theory, and African American women writers. Focusing on elite nineteenth-century African American women who formed a new class of women well positioned to use language with consequence, Royster uses interdisciplinary perspectives (literature, history, feminist studies, African American studies, psychology, art, sociology, economics) to present a well-textured rhetorical analysis of the literate practices of these women.

Winner of the 2000 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize

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Tropic TendenciesKevin Adonis BrowneA legacy of slavery, abolition, colonialism, and class struggle has profoundly impacted the people and culture of the Caribbean. In Tropic Tendencies, Kevin Adonis Browne examines the development of an Anglophone Caribbean rhetorical tradition in response to the struggle to make meaning, maintain identity, negotiate across differences, and thrive in light of historical constraints and the need to participate in contemporary global culture.

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Utopian Novel in America, 1886–1896Jean PfaelzerJean Pfaelzer's study traces the impact of the utopian novel in the late nineteenth century, and the narrative structures of these sentimental romances. She discusses progressive, pastoral, feminist, and apocalyptic utopias, as well as the genre's parodic counterpart, the dystopia.

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Who Says?William DeGenaro Scholars of rhetoric, composition, and communications analyze how discourse is used to construct working-class identities. The essays connect working-class identity to issues of race, gender, and sexuality, among others.

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Wit’s EndSean ZwagermanWit's End is an original perspective on women's use of humor as a performative strategy, seen in works of twentieth-century American literature. Zwagerman argues that women, whose direct, explicit performative speech has been traditionally denied, or not taken seriously, have often turned to humor as a means of communicating with men.

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Writing at the End of the WorldRichard MillerRichard E. Miller questions the current views of the relationship between the humanities and daily life, and proposes that, in the face of increasing violence, the humanities should become more important, not less.

Winner of the 2006 CEE James H. Britton Award

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Writing/TeachingPaul KameenIn Writing/Teaching Paul Kameen brings together essays examining the process of teaching and ones that look at the figures of teacher and student in contemporary education using the writings of Plato and Socrates.

Winner of the 2002 CCCC Outstanding Book Award

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