Keeping Honest: Working Class Students, Difference, and Rethinking the Critical Agenda in Composition

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Book Chapter

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This chapter is from the book Under Construction: Working at the Intersections of Composition Theory, Research, and Practice.

Few composition scholars two decades ago would have imagined the rate at which their field is now developing, expanding beyond its boundaries, creating new alliances, and locating new sites for research and generation of knowledge. In their introduction to this volume, Farris and Anson argue that, faced with a welter of competing models, compositionists too quickly dichotomize and dismiss.

The contributors to Under Construction, therefore, address themselves to the need for commerce among competing visions of the field. They represent diverse settings and distinct points of view, but their over-riding interest is in promoting a view of the field that values interaction and mutual development above dogmatics and isolation.

Contributions reflect changes in the field of composition theory over the past 20 years. Early chapters examine the relationships between scholarship and teaching practices in the field, and look in detail at disjunctures between current theory and practice in particular educational contexts, calling into question new and old composition assumptions. Later chapters discuss research in the field by reconsidering assumptions and then suggesting new relationships, sites for investigation, and connections with theory and practice. Concluding chapters examine the ways in which new teachers, scholars, and theorists are brought into the field.