Composition-rhetoric: backgrounds, theory, and pedagogy

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University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997 - Education - 374 pages
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Composition-Rhetoric is a story of the people who have studied and taught composition in American colleges since the early nineteenth century. It shows where many of the practices and assumptions about writing that today's teachers use come from, and it translates what our theories and techniques of teaching have said over time about our attitudes toward students, language, and life.Like all rhetorics through history, Robert J. Connors asserts, American composition-rhetoric derived from human needs, fears, and desires. He locates the beginning of a new rhetorical tradition in the mid-nineteenth century, when America's burgeoning managerial and professional classes demanded increased literacy skills. From there, he discusses the theoretical and pedagogical innovations of the last two centuries as the result of historical forces, social needs, and cultural shifts. Among these are the rise of social classes and the demand for formal correctness, the development of the university system and scholarly fields, the evolution of the textbook, and the establishment of women's colleges and coeducational institutions.Connors breaks the history of composition-rhetoric into several distinct eras. The early American period (1800-1860) taught students both oral and written discourse. In the postwar period (1860-1885), scores of competing new ideas were put forward to solve the problems of teaching writing. The consolidation period (1885-1910) tested those new ideas in the first waves of compulsory writing courses. The post-1910 modern period of composition-rhetoric was a period of relative stasis that is usually associated with the pejorative uses of the term "current-traditional rhetoric". Themodern period lasted through 1960 or so, after which its tenets were challenged and informed by a new discipline, composition studies, the defining characteristic of the contemporary world of composition-rhetoric.This important book proves that American composition-rh

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