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Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 44, No. 2, November 2009

Cover Art for Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 44, No. 2, November 2009

Table of Contents

  • Editors’ Introduction: Literate Practices: Theory, Method, and Disciplinary Boundary Work

    Mark Dressman, Sarah McCarthey, and Paul Prior

    Abstract: At universities, scholars in English studies manage what Gieryn (1999) called disciplinary boundary work (the rhetorical making and policing of boundaries that construct the discipline and its institutional formations as different from other disciplines and social formations) through categorical contrasts, including: literary criticism vs. writing studies/rhetoric; scholarship vs. creative writing; quantitative vs. qualitative research; university vs. K–12 schooling; university vs. workplace; and, of course, that most basic border of disciplinarity—disciplinary knowledge vs. everyday belief and culture. The two research reports in this issue of RTE both address college-level work in the field and both highlight interesting ways in which current theoretical and methodological developments are putting pressure on disciplinary boundaries in English studies.

  • “Fan Fic-ing” English Studies: A Case Study Exploring the Interplay of Vernacular Literacies and Disciplinary Engagement

    Kevin Roozen

    Abstract: Drawing from a study of one student’s literate engagements with English studies and fan fiction and related fan art over her two years in an MA program, which also reached back to the earlier writing she did for English classes and other writings before the study began, this article employs sociohistoric theory to examine the profoundly dialogic interplay of vernacular and disciplinary literate activities. Following a detailed look at the student’s extensive involvement with fan fiction, the article elaborates the trajectory of linkages between fan fiction and English studies, paying particular attention to the repurposing of literate practices across these activities, the synergies and tensions that texture such interactions, and the long-term implications they have for the production of literate practice and person. Ultimately, the article argues for increased theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical attention to the heterogeneous assemblage of literate practices and identities that may be mediating literate action and, in particular, to the role vernacular literacies can play in developing disciplinary engagement and vice versa.

  • Sharing the Tacit Rhetorical Knowledge of the Literary Scholar: The Effects of Making Disciplinary Conventions Explicit in Undergraduate Writing about Literature Courses

    Laura Wilder and Joanna Wolfe

    Abstract: The ethics and efficacy of explicitly teaching disciplinary discourse conventions to undergraduate students has been hotly debated. This quasi-experimental study seeks to contribute to these debates by focusing on the conventional special topoi of literary analysis—conventions that previous Writing in the Disciplines (WID) research indicates are customarily tacitly imparted to literature students. We compare student writing and questionnaires from seven sections of Writing about Literature providing explicit instruction in these disciplinary conventions to those from nine sections taught using traditional methods. We examine whether explicit instruction in disciplinary conventions helps students produce rhetorically effective discourse, whether English professors prefer student discourse that uses these conventions, and whether explicit instruction in disciplinary conventions hampers student expression, enjoyment, and engagement. Five English professors who rated the student essays gave higher ratings to essays that engaged the special topoi of their discipline. Furthermore, they significantly preferred the essays written by students who had received explicit instruction in these topoi. Meanwhile, students who received explicit instruction in the special topoi of literary analysis indicated comparable, often higher levels, of engagement, enjoyment, and perceived opportunities for self-expression to those students who experienced the course’s traditional pedagogy. These findings suggest several implications for WID instruction and research relating to student and faculty professionalization in higher education.

  • Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English

    Richard Beach, et al.

    Abstract: The committee reviews important research works in the teaching of English that have been published in the last year.
    Committee members include Richard Beach, Martha Bigelow, Martine Braaksma, Deborah Dillon, Jessie Dockter, Lee Galda, Lori Helman, Tanja Janssen, Karen Jorgensen, Richa Kapoor, Lauren Liang, Bic Ngo, David O’Brien, Mistilina Sato, and Cassie Scharber.

  • Announcements

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