"The Public Work of Composition," March 13-16, 2013
Like the new Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge at the Hoover Dam Bypass (situated but 30 miles from our convention site in Las Vegas), the field of composition can lay claim to an impressive expansiveness. In fact, historically, the work of all writers has received our considered attention: from novice to graduate student, from essayist to creative writer. Certainly, the novice or basic writer has been the subject of foundational work in composition studies, attracting the attention of such important scholars as Mina Shaughnessy, David Bartholomae, Lynn Troyka, Mike Rose, Min Zhan Lu, Bruce Horner, and, quite recently, Kelly Ritter. These scholars showed that basic writers were not “boneheads” but rather simply unprepared for the work ahead. These colleagues demonstrated as well that the work of basic writing students can serve as rich resources for composition research. Moreover, acknowledging the challenges that those writers faced in adjusting to the demands of the college curriculum fostered a sense of social justice. It remains a point of pride for many of us in the field to note the significant efforts made by colleagues during the famed open admissions “experiment” of the 1970’s. Just like Hoover Dam and the bridge spanning it, these efforts, too, amounted to invaluable public works.
Read more from Howard Tinberg, 2013 Program Chair
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