The Composition Commons delivers a timely take on invigorating higher education, illustrating how college composition courses can be dynamic sites for producing a democratic, just, and generally educated public.
Jessica Yood traces the century-long origins of a writing-centered idea of the American university and tracks the resurgence of this idea today. Drawing on archival and classroom evidence from public colleges and universities and written in a lively autoethnographic voice, Yood names “genres of the commons”: intimate, informal writing activities that create peer-to-peer knowledge networks. She shows how these unique genres create collectivity—an academic commons—and calls on scholars to invest in composition as a course cultivating reflective, emergent, shared knowledge. Yood departs from movements that divest from the first-year composition classroom and details how an increasingly diverse student population composes complex, evolving cultural literacies that forge social bonds and forward innovation and intellectual and civic engagement.
The Composition Commons reclaims the commons as critical idea and writing classroom activities as essential practices for remaking higher education in the United States.