Robillard AE (Full Text) "Young scholars affecting composition: A challenge to disciplinary citation practices " College English 68(3):253-270, January 2006.
garfield at CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU
Fri Aug 4 13:34:44 EDT 2006
Amy E. Robillard : e-mail : aerobil at ilstu.edu
FULL TEXT POSTED WITH PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
Author(s): Robillard AE
Source: COLLEGE ENGLISH 68 (3): 253-270 JAN 2006
Document Type: Article
Cited References: 29 Times Cited: 0
KeyWords Plus: WRITING CLASSROOM; AUTHORSHIP
Addresses: Robillard AE (reprint author), Illinois State Univ, Normal, IL
Illinois State Univ, Normal, IL 61761 USA
Publisher: NATL COUNCIL TEACHERS ENGLISH, 1111 KENYON RD, URBANA, IL 61801
Subject Category: LITERATURE
IDS Number: 000PI
Title: Young scholars affecting composition: A challenge to disciplinary
Author(s): Robillard AE
Source: COLLEGE ENGLISH 68 (3): 253-270 JAN 2006
Document Type: Article
Cited References: 29 Times Cited: 0
KeyWords Plus: WRITING CLASSROOM; AUTHORSHIP
Addresses: Robillard AE (reprint author), Illinois State Univ, Normal, IL
Illinois State Univ, Normal, IL 61761 USA
Publisher: NATL COUNCIL TEACHERS ENGLISH, 1111 KENYON RD, URBANA, IL 61801
Subject Category: LITERATURE
IDS Number: 000PI
POSTED WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR.
Full Text (8419 words)
Copyright National Council of Teachers of English Conference on College
Composition and Communication Jan 2006
Scene 1. College English. 1993. As epigraph to her article, "The Limits
of Containment: Text-as-Container in Composition Studies," Darsie Bowden
cites a nameless student, who is labeled only as "Student in a
Composition Class" (364). I find it interesting that Bowden- or the
editor of College English- chose to capitalize the entire label as though
it was a proper name.
With the inauguration of Young Scholars in Writing: Undergraduate
Research in Writing and Rhetoric, composition scholars now have access
to student writing that is not accompanied by-and therefore not
represented as an instantiation of-the pedagogical apparatus that has
historically accompanied the publication of student writing in
composition studies' flagship journals. Students from schools as varied
as the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, Oberlin College, and Messiah College publish their
work in this new undergraduate rhetoric and writing journal founded by
scholars Laurie Grobman and the late Candace Spigelman of Penn State
Berks-Lehigh Valley. As is the case with any other work published in a
journal, authors' full names, institutional affiliations, and short bios
are provided. Each essay that appears in Young Scholars has been
reviewed by peers and almost all of the essays have been through at
least one revision. For Volume 1, students in a senior capstone English
course called The Editorial Process served as blind peer reviewers. For
subsequent volumes, previously published Young Scholars authors have
joined students in the capstone course to serve as manuscript reviewers.
Unlike most other student writing published in composition studies
journals, students are not identified as students of particular teachers
or particular pedagogies, but as authors in their own right. In the Fall
2003 inaugural issue, which includes articles on, for example, basic
literacy, collaborative learning, online texts and identities, and peer
tutoring and literacy narratives, Grobman and Spigelman suggest that
readers approach the published student writing as scholarship. Should
this approach take hold in the field, composition scholars will be faced
with important theoretical questions about what it means to cite the
work of other teachers' students by full name. What implications might
such citation practices hold for the field's current practices of citing
students anonymously or by first name only?
In this essay, I will argue that citation practices are, at least in
part, determined by affect. We cite the people we cite for a variety of
reasons, and one of those reasons is that we have what Robert J. Connors
calls "feelings of debt and ownership" ("Rhetoric," Part 1 7) toward the
texts and the authors we cite. While my argument implies a new
understanding of writing teachers' relationships to the work students
produce in their classes, my goal here is not to evaluate the
consequences of this changing relationship or to suggest classroom
methodologies for managing such changes. My primary concern in this
essay is twofold: first, I want to focus on the specific way in which a
shifting disciplinary focus from writing as verb-as represented most
clearly by the pedagogical imperative-to writing as noun-and object of
study in its own right-has created a new opportunity for students to
contribute to the disciplinary knowledge of composition studies. Second,
I am concerned with the specific potential that Young Scholars in
Writing has to prompt a reevaluation of composition studies' citation of
students anonymously or by first name only. When student texts are
represented in composition studies as more than instantiations of
particular pedagogies-when student texts are not indebted to our
pedagogical work, in other words-as they are not in Young Scholars in
Writing-what patterns of citation will we establish to acknowledge our
"feelings of debt and ownership" toward these student authors? In his
work on the rhetoric of citation systems, Connors notes that, though
such systems "constrain many of the ways we deal with each other and
each other's work, they have largely gone unremarked" (Part 2 242). I've
set myself the task of remarking on composition studies' citation of
student authors, largely because I see in students' opportunity to
publish their work a new challenge for composition scholars.
In their article, "When Peer Tutors Write about Writing: Literacy
Narratives and Self Reflection," Heather Bastian and Lindsey Harkness
demonstrate that composition scholars have constructed "an image-a
critical image-of students," and that such critical images of students
are further supported by the type of student the discourse community of
composition chooses to discuss in their essays. Struggling or poor
writers remain the focus. The preoccupation with "poor" and "struggling"
students establishes these writers as the norm and disregards other
students, such as competent college writers. (81)
Bastian and Harkness suggest that students ought to be provided
opportunities "to engage in the rhetoric of the composition field, so
that they can create more accurate representations of themselves" (91),
a suggestion that makes sense when one considers the extent to which
composition studies-unlike, say, astronomy or biology or economics-has
relied upon student writing as the subject of so much of its research.
While I agree wholeheartedly with Bastian and Harkness's claim that
providing students the opportunity to represent themselves in
composition scholarship might allow the field to "learn about the
concerns of student writers and student writing from the writers
themselves" (92), as a disciplined compositionist I also know that
composition studies remains far more interested in the how of teaching
writing than in the what of that writing. The pedagogical imperative-the
expectation that all scholarly and theoretical work in composition
translate relatively seamlessly to classroom practice-has functioned to
perpetuate the field's interest in teaching practices-the how.
Recently, a number of compositionists have begun to consider what a
writing course might look like were we to combine the how with the what.
In WPA-L listserv discussions, Doug Downs, Christina Fisanick, and
Elizabeth Wardle advocate a focus in first-year composition courses on
the very questions underpinning composition studies itself-especially
student empowerment. This small trend represents a shift in the central
question of composition studies, as John Trimbur notes in his article
"Changing the Question: Should Writing Be Studied?" In the 1960s and
1970s, the central question of composition studies was "Can writing be
taught?" (16). The process movement, in what Trimbur calls "a kind of
trickster operation," revised the question to "How can writing be
learned?" shifting the subject of the question from teacher to student
and leading to "a proliferation of answers with no end in sight" (22).
The question that seems now to be at the forefront of composition
studies is "Should writing be studied?" and the answer that the process
movement, with the writing workshop at the center of undergraduate
writing instruction, seems to be providing is a resounding "no" (22).
Trimbur cites the pedagogical imperative-on the part of not just
teachers but also students who expect to become better writers through
classroom practice-as the reason the question "Should writing be
studied?" has met with such negative responses. The pedagogical
imperative fixes writing as a verb, whereas Bastian and Harkness's
work-and the publication of Young Scholars in Writing more
generally-forces us to see writing as a noun, an object of study for
students as well as for teachers. More recently, Nancy Dejoy argues in
her book, Process This: Undergraduate Writing in Composition Studies,
that engaging students in the questions of composition studies is
essential to reconceiving students' current positions as consumers of
composition's disciplinary knowledge and seeing them as participants in
and contributors to such knowledge. Such work explicitly shifts the
focus from writing as verb-as represented by the process movement's
tenet that all students can write and all students can be taught to
write-to writing as noun and object of classroom study. If students are
studying and theorizing about writing, rather than simply learning how
to write, as clearly they are-and they're publishing their work in
peer-reviewed journals-composition studies will need to revise its
I have to step back at this point and confess that my first professional
impulse on citing the work of Bastian and Harkness is to analyze their
work as student writing, to draw on it as support for a pedagogical
argument I'm making ("see, when we ask students to write about writing,
they do so eloquently and convincingly," writes the teacher hero). I
approach the writing in YSIW as student writing even though I have no
knowledge of the pedagogical apparatus that shaped the writing. Jane E.
Hindman might say that this is because I've been disciplined to approach
student writing in particular ways, that my professional identity
involves conflicting functions: those of both "a guardian of cultural
capital disciplined by the conventions of professional practice and a
cultural critic committed to revealing and decentering hegemonic
domination of access to power and knowledge" (103). To analyze student
writing for what it demonstrates about a particular pedagogy-this is an
authorizing move in the discourse of composition studies, perhaps the
authorizing move. Further, Anis Bawarshi's notion of the "genre
function" offers a compelling explanation of how genre shapes our
disciplinary responses to student writing. Bawarshi explains that "as
individuals' rhetorical responses to recurrent situations become
typified as genres, the genres in turn help structure the way these
individuals conceptualize and experience these situations, predicting
their notions of what constitutes appropriate and possible responses and
actions" (340). Our role as teacher is constituted by the genres within
which we work and which shape our understanding of both students' and
our own "appropriate and possible responses": the genre of the
assignment prompt, of the student essay, of responses to student
writing. To approach student writing as an instantiation of a particular
pedagogy, as we've been disciplined to do for decades now, is to fix
writing as a verb, to focus on the how rather than the what. But Young
Scholars in Writing doesn't allow readers to make that move because it
includes no pedagogical apparatus. Instead, the journal's editors ask
that we read student writing as scholarship that contributes to the
"on-going formation of this disciplinary community" (5). To approach
student writing as scholarship fixes writing as a noun, as a
contribution to the work of composition.
If we take up Grobman and Spigelman's call, the ongoing formation of
composition studies' disciplinary community is going to be marked by
shifting conceptions of what it means to draw on undergraduates'
writing. Despite composition scholars' earlier suggestions that, for
example, we read the work of beginning writers as the work of authors,
thus allowing for the possibility of reading students' work "as we might
read any other author's texts, not as the 'emerging' or 'failed' work of
outsiders" (Greene 189), disciplinary citation practices preclude
scholars' citing students as they might cite any other author. Citation
practices suggest a great deal, as Connors notes, about authors'
"feelings of debt and ownership" ("Rhetoric," Part 1 7). When we cite
one another but leave students nameless or pseudonymous, we perpetuate
an author/student binary that works against our liberatory disciplinary
ideals. If, as Connors suggests, the author's name functions as a sort
of "nametag" for a work (Part 2 239),1 the student's name has to this
point functioned in composition scholarship as evidence of the teachers
Scene 2. JAC. 2001. In her published response to Thomas Rickert's work,
Judith Goleman finds herself unconsciously challenging the prevailing
discourse of composition studies when she grants student writing the
same stature as the work of colleagues. Goleman explains that,
in the process of writing this response, I have come to understand how
"John White" [her pseudonym for a student] succeeded in disrupting my
normal reading with his act. Two-thirds of the way through my first
draft, I noticed that I had stopped referring to my former student as
"John" and had begun calling him by his surname, "White," extending to
him the same stature I had given Rickert and Bartholomae. I have decided
not to correct this inconsistency but to retain it as a marker of the
way my authoritative relationship with John White's work was altered.
I cannot help picking up on Goleman's choice of the word stature. While
Goleman consciously gave her student the pseudonym "John White," her
respect for her student's writing led her to grant him the kind of
authority we usually consciously try to (and are told to) avoid.
THE FUNCTIONS OF CITATION
As scholars of authorship have noted, citation practices are explained
to students primarily via economic metaphors (Gilfus; Howard; Rose).
Students are taught-in handbooks and in classroom exchanges-that the
primary function of citation is to avoid plagiarism by giving credit
where credit is due. Students are admonished to reveal their
indebtedness to the authors whose work subsidizes their own. In
composition studies, a field whose research has for decades now been
advanced by the work of both scholars and students, it seems rather
logical to argue that composition scholars ought also to give credit
where credit is due, to acknowledge their indebtedness to the students
whose work has provided so much rich data for their research. But, as I
will demonstrate below, citation practices are not governed by logic
alone. Rather, affect governs so many of our citation decisions that one
cannot help but wonder what role affect plays in our disciplinary
practice of citing students by only their first names.
I break down the following functions of citation into three permeable
categories: those functions that primarily serve the reader, those that
primarily serve the citing author(s), and those that primarily serve the
cited author(s). My purpose in establishing such categories is to
emphasize the relational functions of citation. While many of the
following functions most certainly fit into more than one category, I
construct this rather arbitrary system of categories so that I may
demonstrate the differing degrees to which reader, writer, and cited
author benefit from scholarly citation practices.
For the reader of a scholarly work, citation functions to
1. Provide access to source material.2 As Connors notes in his history
of citation systems, parenthetical systems such as APA and MLA "had as
their clearest purpose the easing of a reader's task of finding and
accessing cited sources" ("Rhetoric," Part 2 238). This function of
citation is perhaps the second most frequently cited explanation of
citation systems given to students. Imagine a reader who wants to follow
up on an idea you mentioned only briefly, we tell students. I imagine
there are very few writing teachers who ask students to imagine a
plagiarism-obsessed teacher who wants to police the students' work,
though this second function of citation undoubtedly performs double duty
in this way.
2. Establish relationships among texts. As Shirley K. Rose has noted,
multiple citations in a text function to establish coherence
relationships, including the coordinate relationship ("and"), the
opposite ("but"), the generative ("for"), the consequential ("so"), the
apposite ("or"), the exemplary ("for example"), the sequential ("first,
second") and the iterative (244). Interestingly, Rose names the
exemplary relationship as that which "makes the strongest of claims for
the value of its contribution to the disciplinary economy" (246).
Student texts for decades now have been and continue to be represented
in the scholarship as examples and therefore as strong claims for the
value of a particular pedagogy, that pedagogy designed and implemented
by the author of the article. Rose goes on to argue that "exemplary
citations implicitly argue that within an area of study or category of
texts, one text can stand for all, which can also be understood as a
claim to uniformity and reliability" (247). When students are known to a
disciplinary community only as Sarah or Dwayne or Minh or Bobby, readers
are led to believe that one student stands for all students in a way
that readers would never be led to believe one authorship theorist
stands for all authorship theorists, for example.
For the author of a scholarly text, citing other scholars functions to
1. Establish the citing author's expertise. Connors notes that
parenthetical reference systems "were formulated to allow authors to
display complete control over previous work in their special field"
(Part 2 238).
2. Provide evidence for the citing author's claims.
3. Affirm the citing author's membership and participation in a
particular discourse community (Connors Part 1; Rose). Rebecca Moore
Howard notes that citation is a means by which one "establishes one's
right to contribute a subordinate voice to scholarly discourse" (2).
When, earlier in this essay, I cited the work of Bowden, Goleman, and
Trimbur, I was letting my readers know that I am versed in the discourse
of composition studies. My citations of these scholars might be said to
function, as Connors puts it, as a "secret handshake known only to
members of the secret society" (Part 2). Clearly, this function of
citation overlaps with Number 1. By displaying my "complete control"
over previous work in my field, I am also claiming membership in a
particular discourse community.
4. Align a citing author with a particular school of thought. To cite
Peter Elbow, Donald Murray, James Britton, and Ken Macrorie is to align
oneself with the school of thought in composition studies known as
expressivism. To cite David Bartholomae, Joseph Harris, Bruce Horner,
and Min-Zhan Lu is to align oneself with a pedagogical approach
associated with the Pittsburgh School: an approach characterized by an
emphasis on academic discourse and a social-epistemic rhetorics.
5. Act as a "protective garment" (Howard), "battering any potential
critics into silence" (Connors, "Rhetoric," Part 1 11). If readers doubt
my claim about this function of citation, I direct them to the work of
Howard and Connors, both of whom are established, respected scholars of
For the authors whose work is cited, such citation functions to
1. Give credit where credit is due. Just as students are required to
acknowledge whose work shaped their own, so too are scholars expected to
do the same.
2. "Identify and legitimate contributions to a discipline's economy"
(Rose 244). When Jennifer Beech cites, in the same article, both Joseph
Harris and Jim Goad, she is legitimating Goad's contribution to our
disciplinary knowledge. Likewise, when Julie Lindquist introduces
composition scholars to the ethnographic work of Laura Grindstaff,
Lindquist legitimates Grindstaff's contribution to the field's
understanding of emotions as performance. When students are represented
by first name only, their contributions to the discipline are neither
identified nor legitimated.
3. Call attention to the work of a little-known or an up-and-coming
scholar. When Rebecca Moore Howard, my dissertation director, cites my
unpublished work in a keynote address at a national conference, her
citation functions to legitimate the contribution my work has thus far
made to the field.
4. Suggest a great deal about an author's "feelings of debt and
ownership" (Connors, "Rhetoric," Part 1 7). While scholars are
honor-bound to cite those whose work they've quoted directly, one could
argue that they are not honor-bound to list the names of every writer
who has influenced their work; indeed, such a task would prove next to
impossible. Therefore, those whose work is cited are those to whom the
author experiences "feelings of debt and ownership. "As Howard notes in
"The Citation Mambo," Peter Elbow's feelings of debt and ownership-as
evidenced by the acknowledgments he makes in the second edition of
Writing without Teachers-have changed significantly since the 1973
publication of the first edition. In the second edition, Elbow
acknowledges his intellectual debts" (qtd. in Howard 13) to the work of
Macrorie, Michael Polyani, Peter Medawar, Carl Rogers, Jerome Bruner,
5. Indicate the citing author's respect for the cited author's work. The
people whose work we choose to cite in our own work are the people we
have deemed worthy of response, and the people we have deemed worthy of
response are, I argue, those whose work we respect. I don't think it's a
stretch to claim that the decisions we make about whose work to cite are
6. "Affirm individual property, relinquishing the citing writer's claim
to it" (Howard 6). The words I cite in quotation marks belong not to me
but to the author whose name appears in parentheses after the quotation
marks. I acknowledge, when citing Howard, that her ideas are her own,
and that those ideas have influenced my own. Paradoxically, this move
perpetuates the figure of the autonomous author who owns her work
(Howard, in this case) and the influenced author who stands on the
shoulders of those authors (I, in this case). My work is made possible,
in part, by Howard's work.
7. "Show how [others] have shared their work with us" (Robbins 168).
Sarah Robbins sees this move as a way of creating a record "of the
meaningful, materially situated links between our writing and its
sources, not because others we 'credit' with conventions like footnotes
are the sole owners of their texts" (168). Rather, this move to
acknowledge the ways others have shared their work with us is a move to
avoid "the problems that result when authorial credit becomes so blurred
as to make the monitoring of textual integrity impossible" (167).
A colleague of mine remarked earlier this year, after my telling her
about my work's being cited by a friend of a friend in College English,
that she has a small group of graduate school buddies who try to cite
one another whenever possible. To risk stating the obvious, this is
because there is value in being cited by others in the field. To be
cited is to know that one is being read, but, perhaps more important,
such citations function as a form of exchange value in the academic
marketplace. When my work is cited, I can materially represent my
"impact on the field," and my value in the academic marketplace
increases. When I cite the work of a colleague whom I know personally,
then, I am doing more than indicating the ways her work has influenced
my own. I am calling scholarly attention to her work because I know that
that attention is valuable in its own right. In addition to establishing
one of the eight epistemic relationships Rose points to above, I am
representing an affective relationship.
In this list of thirteen functions of citation, one notices traces of
affect. Most obvious is Connors's claim that citation suggests "feelings
of debt and ownership" [emphasis added]. Debt and ownership are not
subject simply to the rules of logic. I may feel debt toward Howard for
her influence on my work, but I also may feel ownership of the work
students in my classes do as a result of the sequence of assignments I
designed. My feelings of debt and ownership are evidenced, then, in my
representation-my citation-of some writers and not of others. Affect is
evident, too, in the metaphors Rose has used to describe the functions
of citation. As an act of faith, citation might be understood as "a
ritual whereby a writer affirms community membership and testifies to
his or her acceptance of the shared beliefs of the discourse community"
(241). As a courtship ritual, citation might be understood as that which
builds "identification among members of a discourse community" (2 47).
Faith and courtship are decidedly affective, not subject to logic. The
predominant metaphor in writing handbooks, Rose notes, is the economic
metaphor (241), that which relies on matters of debt, credit, and
payment. When we talk about citation with students, it's the economic
metaphor that predominates because it's the economic metaphor that is
most susceptible to logic rather than affect. With students, teachers
don't often talk about "feelings" of debt; rather, our discussions of
citation are likely dominated by the notion of giving credit where
credit is due. And credit is due whenever we use the words or ideas of
another writer. Simple as that.
But most writers know on some level that citations aren't simply matters
of rationality and logic. Citations reveal a great deal about personal
allegiances. We cite the people we cite because we feel certain things
toward them. Judith Goleman has had a tremendous impact on my scholarly
growth. My citation of her work in this essay functions not necessarily
to showcase my expertise in Goleman's work but as a kind of public
acknowledgment of the impact she's had on my thinking. She trained me to
see composition studies as a field devoted to the study of student
writing and to understand my function as a composition scholar as, in
large part, to demonstrate the ways student writing contributes to my
disciplinary knowledge. This is not to say that we necessarily know
personally the people whose work we cite. When I get really excited
about something I'm reading, there is clearly emotion involved. For
example, the first time I read Carolyn Kay Steedman's Landscape for a
Good Woman, I literally had to stop myself from going forward because I
wanted to savor each and every word. Steedman was the first writer I'd
read who seemed to be putting my social class experiences into words,
words that I hadn't been able to find up to that point. When I then cite
Steedman's work in my own, I am representing an affective relationship
at the same time that I am representing an epistemological relationship.
Hindman might note that what I am doing when I call attention to the
affective experiences I have with texts is "bearing witness to [my] own
rhetoricity" (99). The citation practices I am calling attention to in
this essay are part and parcel of the authority composition studies has
constructed for itself within the larger academic community. In order to
preserve this constructed authority, composition scholars, like other
professionals, "systematically and systemically reroute our professional
authority from the transient, contextual vicissitudes of our everyday
practices and corporeal selves to an already constituted and abstract
realm of disciplinary subjects, linguistic patterns, and texts" (Hindman
100). The authors whose work we cite in our scholarship, Hindman seems
to suggest, become author-functions rather than materially situated
people. It will take more than reading students' work "as we might any
other author's text" (Greene 189) to affect the way we cite students in
the scholarship. I am suggesting that the publication of an
undergraduate journal in writing and rhetoric has the potential to
disrupt this pattern by forcing us to rethink our relationship to
students involved in the scholarship of writing and rhetoric. More than
a demonstration of the pedagogical imperative, Young Scholars in Writing
functions as evidence that students are able and willing to contribute
to composition studies' disciplinary knowledge about writing and
Scene 3. College Composition and Communication. 2004. Goleman's "An
'Immensely Simplified Task': Form in Modern Composition-Rhetoric"
foregrounds one student's work and, in this essay, Goleman does not
remark on her decision to refer to her student by full name, leading me
to conclude that she has made a conscious decision to grant student
writing the same stature as the work of Barrett Wendell and Fred Newton
Scott. After introducing her student by full name-"So begins Sahra
Ahmed's essay, 'Language Identity vs. Identity Crisis,' written in
response to an assignment inviting students to compose their own complex
portrait or complex analysis of cause [...]" (62)-Goleman refers to her
student by surname only, a convention reserved in the discourse of
composition studies for authors and scholars.
THE FUNCTIONS OF CITING STUDENT WRITING
In her analysis of Elbow's evolving citation practices, Howard argues
that "citation practices vary according to the status of the person
doing the citing" (7), and my analysis of scholars' patterns of
citations of students persuades me that citation practices vary, too,
according to the status of the person being cited. Again, to cite
particular writers is to align oneself with a particular school of
thought. To cite Elbow, Macrorie, and Murray is to align oneself with
expressivist theory. To cite Sahra Ahmed or Silas Kulkarni or Alicia
Brazeau is to align oneself with students, to forward the argument that
students contribute to the knowledge of composition studies as more than
examples of particular pedagogies. To cite students is to forward the
argument that writing as a mode of learning (Emig) is a dialogic
process; teachers teach students to write, but students, in their
writing, teach teachers about more than the results of particular
pedagogies. As Goleman demonstrates in her discussion of Ahmed's work,
students can push instructors to become deeply involved in the
content-the what in addition to the how-of their writing and its
implications for our theories of literacy-as opposed to
instructors'published responses to the results of a particular pedagogy.
Indeed, in the process of puzzling my initial response to Ahmed's paper,
I have been challenged to reconsider my commonsense Western assumption
that her wish for a "true Somali identity" necessarily contradicts her
wish for others to understand both the vicissitudes of heteroglossia in
postcolonial contexts and the reality of hybrid identities. I have asked
myself, What if the acquisition of full literacy in the Somali language
has been a force of resistance against domination and oppression, making
its acquisition transformative in a different but equally plausible way
as a sociopolitical analysis of one's hybridity? ("Simplified" 67-68)
The relationship Goleman establishes between Ahmed's work and her own
theorizing is what Rose would call a generative relationship. While
Ahmed's paper might be said to be exemplary in the sense that Goleman
does provide the pedagogical context in which Ahmed's paper was
produced, Goleman's primary purpose in citing Ahmed is not to forward a
particular pedagogy but, I argue, to document the ways that Ahmed shared
her work with her (Robbins 168).
When I was a graduate student learning to become a writing teacher, I
was one of five teaching interns working under Goleman's direction. When
Goleman decided to draw on my experiences as both a graduate student and
as a new teacher of writing in a conference paper she was drafting, she
requested my permission. I agreed, as long as I was able to read a draft
of the paper, to see the way my work was being represented-to see what
Goleman really thought of my work as a writing teacher. Goleman kept me
anonymous, naming me "Charlotte." Though I didn't raise this issue at
the time, I remember thinking that I would have preferred to be
represented in her work by my real name. If I was going to be accorded
the respect that accompanies citation-be it supportive or antagonistic-I
wanted to be identified so that I could then point to the impact my work
had had on a scholar whose work I respected. I wanted the right to claim
the exchange value that accompanies citation. I imagine these feelings
were not unique to me.
Every time I've asked a student for permission to use his or her work in
my own scholarship, that student has enthusiastically agreed. I've
always given students the choice between remaining anonymous and being
cited by their full names, and students have almost always chosen to be
represented by their full names. Students, like anyone else, are
generally pleased to see that their work has had an impact on someone
else's thinking. They, like anyone else, like the idea of seeing their
names in print.
The most explicit example of this enthusiasm that I can think of in
recent composition scholarship appears in Gail Stygall's article,
"Resisting Privilege: Basic Writing and Foucault's Author Function."
Stygall describes a project involving graduate students at Miami
University, basic writing students at Temple University, and basic
writing students at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Graduate students corresponded with the basic writing students in an
effort to become conscious of the discursive practices involved in
constructing students as "basic writers" (322). My interest in this
article lies specifically in an exchange between graduate student
"Laurie" and basic writing student "Marg." In an explicit
acknowledgement of the uses to which her writing is being put, Laurie
writes to Marg:
Why are our teachers having us do this? We're interesting people! We
write differently, go to different schools, have different lives-all
that'll show up in one way or another. Then they can write about us! I
don't mind, either. It's really fun to meet another person-even through
the mail-and I'll take my paragraph of fame if this winds up going
somewhere for my teacher. (333)
My initial reaction to this exchange is evidenced by my marginal
notation: "How can you have 'fame' if you're known and represented as
simply 'Laurie'?" Clearly, Laurie understands that there is value in
being cited in her teacher's scholarship. And now, as I write, my
reaction is focused on Laurie's understanding-even as she's writing-that
her work will be appropriated. Stygall interprets Laurie's statement
differently, however. Because Stygall is constructing an argument about
the pervasiveness of the author-function in English departments, she
sees Laurie's statement as an acknowledgment on Laurie's part that
writing is what "will lead to being the author-scholar" (335). Following
her reproduction of Laurie's comment about her "paragraph of fame,"
Stygall writes, simply, "Writing is the game and they intend to be
players" (335). Evident in Stygall's commentary is an understanding that
Laurie knows the value of being cited; she wants to be a "player" in the
"game" of writing. But Stygall resists acknowledging that Laurie's
statement evidences an awareness that Stygall benefits from her use of
Laurie's writing. Laurie is the subject of StygalPs research. Laurie is
thus provided no opportunity to respond-at least publicly-to StygalPs
interpretation of her writing. Likewise, as an anonymous student, Laurie
cannot lay claim to the exchange value that accompanies citation with
anyone other than her teacher or classmates; she cannot claim her
"paragraph of fame."
The primary reason provided for not citing students' full names in our
work is that students need protection in ways that published authors do
not. In 1994, as editor of College Composition and Communication, Joseph
Harris issued a statement designed to regulate contributors' use of
student work in published scholarship.3 The exigency for Harris's
statement is the "exciting" broadening of "the range of texts that are
now seen as calling for study and response-drawing attention especially
to the writings of students, but also to assignments, comments on
students papers [...]" (439). Citing the need to "distinguish between
citing the published work of a mature scholar and the semi-private
writings of students," Harris encourages contributors to College
Composition and Communication to quote student work "both anonymously
and with permission" (440). The issue for Harris is "one of control over
text" (439). While published authors have the opportunity to revise
their work before it appears in a scholarly journal, students often do
not have the same opportunity, Harris points out. Rather than suggesting
that authors provide students that opportunity, Harris suggests instead
that we keep students anonymous and do not include them in our lists of
An anonymous reviewer of an earlier draft of this essay takes issue with
my treatment of Harris because, "if students are authors, they are out
in the arena and open to criticism." Harris himself, in the same piece,
writes that one of the functions of citation is to invoke response (441)
and that cited authors ought to be represented "as agents making claims
whose particulars are now being disputed, extended, or qualified" (440).
The anonymous reviewer suggests that it is with "considerable validity"
that institutional review boards "work to protect students' rights as
subjects of our research." I am suggesting that, with the publication of
Young Scholars in Writing, students are going to be appearing in our
scholarship as more than the subjects of our research. While early
scholarship in composition studies indeed focused on students as
subjects of our research, and scholarship about students continues to
dominate the field, the function of student writing need not be-and will
not be, if Grobman and Spigelman's call is taken up-limited to serving
as the subject of our research. There's room for us to do more than
study our students' writing; with the publication of student work in
Young Scholars in Writing, we now have the opportunity to establish what
Rose calls "coherence relationships" between the published work of
scholars and the published work of students. And, significantly,
students have the opportunity to represent themselves as writers and
thinkers contributing to the knowledge of an academic field.
Moreover, the claim that student authors need "protection" becomes more
difficult to defend when we reconsider it in light of the acknowledgment
by Howard and Connors that even members of the discourse community need
protection from potential criticism. Recall that one of the functions of
citation is to "act as a protective garment" (Howard), "battering any
potential critics into silence" (Connors, "Rhetoric," Part 1 11). Thus,
while Harris points to the differences in control over text as a primary
reason for keeping student authors anonymous, the notion that even
established scholars need "protection" from potential criticism suggests
that there are additional reasons for refusing to name students in our
work. These reasons, I suggest, are affective.
Composition studies is a field that prides itself on its relationship to
pedagogy, to learning, to students and their writing. We believe that
writing can be empowering, and we've spent decades gathering pedagogical
support for such claims. Because of this particular relationship that
the field has established with students, I've divided the functions of
citing student writing into two permeable categories. Where scholarly
citation in general functions as a form of cultural capital for both the
cited author and the citing author, scholarly citation of student work
in composition studies can function as a form of capital for the cited
author-the student-and for the field more generally.
For students, composition scholars' complete citation of their writing
1. Give credit where credit is due.
2. Establish the cited author-and not just the group to which that cited
author belongs, in this case "students"-as a legitimate contributor to a
3. Engender relationships among citing author(s) and cited authors(s)
that move beyond the exemplary, teacher-student relationship fostered by
the pedagogical imperative and toward what Rose calls generative,
coordinate, and consequential relationships. As Goleman's work with
Ahmed demonstrates, citing students by their full names offers
composition scholars a concrete method of documenting the ways teachers
learn from their students.
For the academic field of composition studies, scholars' complete
citation of student writing functions to
1. Resist appropriation of student writing.
2. Challenge the commonplace argument that students require a kind of
protection from response that published scholars do not.
3. Carve a space for published student response to scholars'
interpretations of student work. Carra Leah Hood recently argued that
journals that accept scholarship reliant on student writing should
provide space for students' written responses to scholars'
interpretations of their work (66), and I agree. Grobman, faculty editor
of Young Scholars in Writing, recently announced that the journal "seeks
Comments & Responses written by undergraduates that engage in
intellectual dialogue with previously published articles in the
journal." Three "Comment and Response" essays will appear in the
journal's third volume. I applaud this move, though I do not believe
that such responses should be restricted to Young Scholars in Writing.
With the publication of Young Scholars in Writing, individual teachers
have little cultural capital to accrue because the journal presents
student writing as scholarship rather than as an instantiation of a
particular pedagogy for which a teacher can take credit. Instead, the
field is faced with a challenge to its practices of citing student work.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE WITH DEEP ACTING
The authors whose work we choose to cite are those authors whose work we
as members of this discourse community choose to legitimate, respect,
acknowledge, and affirm-even when we vigorously disagree with their
claims. The students whose work we choose to cite are those students
whose work we believe is in need of protection from a disciplinary
economy that approaches living, breathing, material people as
abstractions, as author-functions. Composition scholars are trained to
read student writing in particular ways-as instantiations of particular
pedagogies that might be replicated in different classrooms rather than
as writing that might contribute to "the on-going formation of this
disciplinary community" (Grobman and Spigelman 5). Until the publication
of Young Scholars in Writing, readers have been able to distinguish
between the work of scholars and that of students by simply noting whose
work is identified by full name rather than by first name or
I believe that Lindquist's most recent work provides one possibility for
approaching the challenge that Young Scholars in Writing poses to
composition studies' citation practices. In her article, "Class Affects,
Classroom Affectations," Lindquist draws on the work of cultural
ethnographer Laura Grindstaff to argue for the value of teachers'
performing strategic empathy in the writing classroom with working-class
students. Grindstaff draws on Arlie Russell Hochschild to distinguish
between "surface acting" and "deep acting." Lindquist explains the
difference between surface acting and deep acting in terms of control:
When you're surface acting, you remain in control of your emotions by
consciously structuring the impressions you produce. When you're deep
acting, you relinquish the possibility of emotional control. When you
deep act, in other words, you work, through acts of will and
imagination, to open yourself to the possibility that you might persuade
yourself that the emotions you are presenting are real. You risk
becoming the thing you are performing. Deep acting is, paradoxically,
the process of exerting control in order to relinquish control. (197)
If citations are affective (and I think they are), then I believe we
stand to gain by applying Lindquist's deep-acting approach to the
context of scholarly citations. Lindquist believes that "the idea of
deep acting as a pedagogical stance gets us into a place where we can
begin to imagine how students' experiences of class can have heuristic
potential" (205), and I believe that the idea of deep acting as an
approach to citing students in composition scholarship has the potential
to better show the ways students have shared their work with us (Robbins
168). While Lindquist's argument is, as she says, "a case for
relinquishing certain forms of control," it is also-and this is
significant-"a case for controlling other things presumed not to be
subject to, or appropriate for, control" (205). To name is to control.
To withhold a student's name is a form of that control. In his work on
the rhetoric of citations systems, Connors notes that "citation
rhetorics only occasionally seem like anything individual authors can
control" ("Rhetoric," Part 2 242). Goleman is certainly not the only
individual in composition studies to resist the dominant patterns of
citing students. I believe, though, that when one performs a kind of
"deep acting" with respect to reading the work of scholars like Goleman,
one opens up the possibility of becoming the reader who acknowledges the
significance of the work of writers like Sahra Ahmed. Further, to
perform a kind of deep acting when citing students ourselves in our
scholarship is to alter the conditions of production of that
scholarship. We open ourselves to the possibility of becoming writers
who acknowledge the contributions of student work to our own work,
thereby engendering the possibility that readers will develop belief in
the value of the texts we cite-whether we label them student texts or
There are, of course, important differences between a conception of deep
acting as a performance in the classroom for students to see and a
conception of deep acting as a performance in the relative isolation of
reading and writing with student scholarship. In the classroom,
performing what Lindquist calls strategic empathy as a teacher is
working to convince both oneself and one's students that one feels a
certain way in order to facilitate students' emotional learning.
Performing such strategic affect as a scholar involves convincing
oneself and one's readers that all of the authors one cites are
legitimate, valued members of this discourse community with knowledge to
contribute. Teacher-scholars can no longer appropriate the writing that
their pedagogy has helped to produce; there is no exchange value for
teachers themselves when they perform deep acting with citation
practices. As a reader of such scholarship, one works to control one's
professional desire for the pedagogical apparatus that has historically
accompanied the publication of student writing. Scholars do this in
order to facilitate a disciplinary recognition of composition studies'
indebtedness to students' perspectives and, now, to their contributions
to the knowledge of the field.
In her recent essay, "Distributed Authorship: A Feminist case-Study
Framework for Studying Intellectual Property," Robbins notes that while
composition teachers have recently begun acknowledging their
appreciation for writing by students and "other marginalized groups" as
"forms of authorship," the emphasis in discussions of intellectual
property has been on "protecting producers who are potentially
vulnerable to appropriation and/or misuse, in large part because their
status as authors is tenuous" (155). With the publication of Young
Scholars in Writing, students' status as authors is decidedly less
tenuous. In enacting a form of Lindquist's strategic empathy,
composition scholars make possible relationships to student writing that
move beyond protection and instantiation of pedagogical theories.
Individually, teacher-scholars have less to gain as they cannot claim
responsibility for the pedagogy that "produced" student writing.
Disciplinarily, though, composition scholars stand to gain a more
productive, respectful, and legitimate relationship to students and
their writing when we work to demonstrate the ways they have and
continue to share their work and their knowledge with us.
1. Connors's point here is obviously an echo of Michel Foucault's notion
of the "author-function," and an extension of Barthes's declaration of
the author's death. Indeed, had I simply mentioned in this note that
Connors's point here is an extension of Foucault and Barthes, most
readers would need no more than a quick reference to these "nametags."
2. The practice, however, of citing "unpublished manuscripts" or even
"forthcoming" works would seem to negate this function at the same time
that it indicates a particular kind of relationship between citing
author and cited author. If I'm citing the unpublished work of a
student, the relationship between citing author and cited author is
relatively straightforward. If I'm citing the unpublished work of a
colleague, however, the very fact that I have access to this unpublished
work suggests a great deal about personal relationships, allegiances,
and, I argue, affect.
3. Since the publication of Harris's statement, the Conference on
College Composition and Communication (CCCC) has issued its position
statement, "Guidelines for the Ethical Treatment of Students and Student
Writing in Composition Studies." The statement asks that
teacher-scholars cite student work-written or spoken-"without including
the students' names or identifying information unless they have the
students' permission to identify them." The default for students is
anonymity, presumably because students need to be protected.
Barthes, Roland. "The Death of the Author." Image, Music, Text. Trans.
Stephen Heath. New York: Noonday, 1977. 142-48.
Bastian, Heather, and Lindsey Harkness. "When Peer Tutors Write about
Writing: Literacy Narratives and Self Reflection." Young Scholars in
Writing 1 (2003): 77-94.
Bawarshi, Anis. "The Genre Function." College English 62 (2000): 335-60.
Beech, Jennifer. "Redneck and Hillbilly Discourse in the Writing
Classroom: Classifying Critical Pedagogies of Whiteness." College
English 67 (2004): 172-86.
Bowden, Darsie. "The Limits of Containment: Text-as-Container in
Composition Studies." CCC 44 (1993): 364-79.
CCCC Ad Hoc Committee on the Ethical Use of Students and Student Writing
in Composition Studies. "Guidelines for the Ethical Treatment of
Students and Student Writing in Composition Studies." CCC 52 (2001):
Connors, Robert J. "The Rhetoric of Citation Systems, Part 1: The
Development of Annotation Structures from the Renaissance to 1900."
Rhetoric Review 17 (1998): 6-47.
_____. "The Rhetoric of Citation Systems, Part 2: Competing Epistemic
Values in Citation." Rhetoric Review 17 (1999): 219-45.
Dejoy, Nancy. Process This: Undergraduate Writing in Composition
Studies. Logan: Utah State UP, 2005.
Downs, Doug. "Re: Comp Theory in FYC." Online posting. 17 May 2004.
WPA-L listserv. 17 May 2004
Emig, Janet. "Writing as a Mode of Learning." CCC28 (1977): 122-28.
Fisanick, Christina. "Re: Comp Theory in FYC." Online posting. 16 May
2004. WPA-L listserv. 16 May 2004
Foucault, Michel. "What Is an Author?" Language, Counter-Memory,
Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews. Ed. Donald Bouchard. Trans.
Donald Bouchard and Sherry Simon. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1977. 124-27.
Gilfus, Jonna. "Students and Authors in Introductory Composition
Textbooks." Authorship in Composition Studies. Ed. Tracy Hamler Carrick
and Rebecca Moore Howard. Boston: Thomson, 2006. 57-74.
Goleman, Judith. "An 'Immensely Simplified Task': Form in Modern
Composition-Rhetoric." CCC 56 (2004): 51-71.
_____. "Writing the Act, Reading the Act: A Response to Thomas Rickert."
JAC 21 (2001): 654-62.
Greene, Stuart. "Making Sense of My Own Ideas: The Problems of
Authorship in a Beginning Writing Classroom." Written Communication 12
Grobman, Laurie, and Candace Spigelman. "Editors' Introduction." Young
Scholars in Writing 1 (2003): 1-5.
Harris, Joseph. "From the Editor: The Work of Others." CCC 45 (1994):
Hindman, Jane E. "Writing an Important Body of Scholarship: A Proposal
for an Embodied Rhetoric of Professional Practice." JAC 22 (2002):
Hood, Carra Leah. "The Ethics of Researching Composition Students and
Their Work." Writing on the Edge 13 (2003): 56-66.
Howard, Rebecca Moore. "The Citation Mambo: Preserving the Modernist
Subject." Unpublished manuscript, 2002.
Lindquist, Julie. "Class Affects, Classroom Affectations." College
English 67 (2004): 187-209.
Robbins, Sarah. "Distributed Authorship: A Feminist Case-Study Framework
for Studying Intellectual Property." College English 66 (2003): 155-71.
Rose, Shirley K. "The Role of Scholarly Citations in Disciplinary
Economies." Perspectives on Plagiarism and Intellectual Property in a
Postmodern World. Ed. Lisa Buranen and Alice M. Roy. Albany: SUNY P,
Steedman, Carolyn Kay. Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives.
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1987.
Stygall, Gail. "Resisting Privilege: Basic Writing and Foucault's Author
Function." CCC45 (1994): 320-41.
Trimbur, John. "Changing the Question: Should Writing Be Studied?"
Composition Studies 31.1 (2003): 15-24.
Wardle, Elizabeth. "Re: Comp Theory in FYC." Online posting. 17 May
2004. WPA-L listserv. 17 May 2004
More information about the SIGMETRICS