Upsetting Composition Commonplaces
In Upsetting Composition Commonplaces, Ian Barnard argues that composition still retains the bulk of instructional practices that were used in the decades before poststructuralist theory discredited them. While acknowledging that some of the foundational insights of poststructuralist theory can be difficult to translate to the classroom, Barnard upends several especially intransigent tenets that continue to influence the teaching of writing and how students are encouraged to understand writing.
Using six major principles of writing classrooms and textbooks—clarity, intent, voice, ethnography, audience, and objectivity—Barnard looks at the implications of poststructuralist theory for pedagogy. While suggesting some evocative poststructuralist pedagogical practices, the author focuses on diagnosing the fault lines of composition's refusal of poststructuralism rather than on providing "solutions” in the form of teaching templates.
Upsetting Composition Commonplaces addresses the need to more effectively engage in poststructuralist concepts in composition in an accessible and engaging voice that will advance the conversation about relations between the theory and teaching of writing.
'A highly readable, energetically polemical, and theoretically informed contribution to the field of composition studies.'
—Susan Jarratt, University of California, Irvine
Ian Barnard is associate professor of rhetoric and composition at Chapman University. He previously taught for ten years at California State University, Northridge, where he served as chair of the University Writing Council and coordinator of Stretch Composition in the Department of English. Barnard is the author of Queer Race: Cultural Interventions in the Racial Politics of Queer Theory.
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