Conceding Composition

A Crooked History of Composition’s Institutional Fortunes

by Ryan Skinnell

First-year composition became the most common course in American higher education not because it could "fix" underprepared student writers, but because it has historically served significant institutional interests. That is, it can be "conceded" in multiple ways to help institutions solve political, promotional, and financial problems. Conceding Composition is a wide-ranging historical examination of composition’s evolving institutional value in American higher education over the course of nearly a century.

Based on extensive archival research conducted at six American universities and using the specific cases of institutional mission, regional accreditation, and federal funding, this study demonstrates that administrators and faculty have introduced, reformed, maintained, threatened, or eliminated composition as part of negotiations related to nondisciplinary institutional exigencies. Viewing composition from this perspective, author Ryan Skinnell raises new questions about why composition exists in the university, how it exists, and how teachers and scholars might productively reconceive first-year composition in light of its institutional functions.

The book considers the rhetorical, political, organizational, institutional, and promotional options conceding composition opened up for institutions of higher education and considers what the first-year course and the discipline might look like with composition’s transience reimagined not as a barrier but as a consummate institutional value.

 

Ryan Skinnell is assistant professor of rhetoric and writing at San José State University. He has written or edited five books, including Reinventing (with) Theory in Rhetoric and Writing Studies: Essays in Honor of Sharon Crowley, Conceding Composition: A Crooked History of Composition’s Institutional Fortunes and Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach Us about Donald J. Trump. He has published multiple essays in journals and edited collections, and in 2015 he was awarded the Theresa J. Enos Anniversary Award.

Imprint: Utah State University Press

Book Details

  • Paperback Price: $26.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-504-8
  • Ebook Price: $21.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $5.99
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-505-5
  • Publication Month: September
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Pages: 208
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Ryan Skinnell
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-504-8