Postcomposition

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  • Publish Date: 2011-06-02
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Sidney I Dobrin

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Leading a burgeoning self-critical moment in composition studies and writing program administration, Postcomposition is a fundamental reconsideration of the field that attempts to shift the focus away from pedagogy and writing subjects and toward writing itself. In this forceful and reasoned critique of many of the primary tenets and widely accepted institutional structures of composition studies, Sidney I. Dobrin delivers a series of shocks to the system meant to disrupt the pedagogical imperative and move beyond the existing limits of the discipline.

Dobrin evaluates the current state of composition studies, underscoring the difference between composition and writing and arguing that the field's focus on the administration of writing students and its historically imposed prohibition on theory greatly limit what can be understood about writing. Instead he envisions a more significant approach to writing, one that questions the field's conservative allegiance to subject and administration and reconsiders writing as spatial and ecological. Using concepts from ecocomposition, spatial theory, network theory, complexity theory, and systems theory, Postcomposition lays the groundwork for a networked theory of writing, and advocates the abandonment of administration as a useful part of the field. He also challenges the usefulness of rhetoric in writing studies, showing how writing exceeds rhetoric.

Postcomposition is a detailed consideration of how posthumanism affects the field's understanding of subjectivity. It also tears at the seams of the contingent labor problem. As he articulates his own frustrations with the conservatism of composition studies and builds on previous critiques of the discipline, Dobrin stages a courageous-and inevitably polemical-intellectual challenge to the entrenched ideas and assumptions that have defined composition studies.

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