1977: A Cultural Moment in Composition

SKU: 978-1-60235-040-3

Brent Henze, Jack Selzer, and Wendy Sharer

With Brian Lehew, Shannon Pennefeather, and Martin Schleuse

Lauer Series in Rhetoric and Composition
Edited by Patricia Sullivan, Catherine Hobbs, Thomas Rickert, and Jennifer Bay

Information and Pricing
978-1-60235-040-3 (paperback, $27.00; £14.00; €19.00); © 2008 by Parlor Press. 188 pages, with illustrations, notes, bibliography, and index.

Other Formats Available
978-1-60235-041-0 (hardcover, $55.00; £29.00; €39.00); 978-1-60235-042-7 (Adobe eBook on CD, $14.00)

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A product of extensive archival research and numerous interviews, 1977: A Cultural Moment In Composition examines the local, state, and national forces (economic, political, cultural, and academic) that fostered the development of the first-year composition program at one representative site, Penn State University, in the late 1970s. Sidebar commentaries from Stephen A. Bernhardt, Hugh Burns, Sharon Crowley, Lester Faigley, Janice Lauer, Elaine Maimon, Jasper Neel, and John Warnock—many of whom were just beginning in the field in 1977—enrich and complicate the story. In the emerging tradition of program-based histories, such as Barbara L’Eplattenier and Lisa Mastrangelo’s Historical Studies of Writing Program Administration (Parlor Press, 2005), 1977: A Cultural Moment in Composition offers a counterpoint to broader institutional histories of composition by investigating how local phenomena can be explained by larger movements and how larger movements can be understood through local contexts.

About the Authors

Brent Henze is Associate Professor of English at East Carolina University. His research on the rhetoric of science, reporting genres in ethnological science, scientific institutions, and the scientific treatment of racial difference has appeared in Technical Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Rhetoric Review, and elsewhere.

Jack Selzer is Professor of English and Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. Currently President of the Rhetoric Society of America, he is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village , Kenneth Burke in the 1930s , Kenneth Burke and His Circles (Parlor Press, 2008), Rhetorical Bodies , Understanding Scientific Prose, and Good Reasons .

Wendy Sharer is Associate Professor of English and Director of Composition at East Carolina University. She is the author of Vote and Voice: Women’s Organizations and Political Literacy, 1915-1930 (2004) and co-editor of Rhetorical Education in America (2004). Her work appears in several edited collections, as well as in journals such as Rhetoric Review and Rhetoric Society Quarterly .


1 Introduction

2 Background I: The Cultural Scene in 1977

3 Background II: English Studies in 1977

  • The Birth of TOPOI, Hugh Burns

4 Composition in 1977: The National Conversation

  • Rhetoric and the Process Movement, Janice Lauer
  • Finding Composition, Stephen A. Bernhardt
  • Linguistics and Composition, Lester Faigley
  • The Birth of WAC, Elaine Maimon
  • Two Gentlemen in Wyoming, Sharon Crowley
  • Rhetoric in Wyoming, 1977, John Warnock
  • Gathering Options for the Teaching English: Freshman Composition, Jasper Neel
  • Rhetoric Seminar on Current Theories of Composition, Janice Lauer

5 Composition in 1977: A Close Look at a Material Site

6 Responding to the Crisis: Conversing about Composition at Penn State in 1977

Sources Consulted and Cited

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