It’s that time of year…

Now that the school year is mostly over, I’m doing what I like to call “catching up on my journals.” Basically, this means that I spend about a week reading through the stacks of journals that I haven’t been able to read during the busy academic year. Putting off this reading used to bug me, but I’ve come to appreciate the advantage of reading in bulk. Doing so gives me an interesting view of the field as key words, new trends, and emerging concepts really begin to jump out at me. I can see arguments as they coalesce around various lines of thought.

For instance, scholars continue to focus on disciplinary identity, including why we should stop talking about it and why we should talk about it in other/new ways. “Design” seems to be a term that is taking on real significance in the field; design models are ethical, aesthetic, audience-based, emergent from rhetorical situations, and more. Richard Marbuck’s piece on “wicked design” in CCC (Dec. 2009) is one that I’ll say more about in a few. Other issues that emerged from my bulk reading: a pretty stable representation of literacy as multi-sensory and multimodal, performed, and intertwined with subjectivity, culture, etc. Assessment and transdisciplinary writing programs also made several appearances in the work I read. In short, we/field members are doing tremendous, exciting work and “our work” is just as fragmented and expansive as ever. Maybe more so.

My reading so far has included 15 issues published in a narrow group of journals: CCC, College English, Composition Studies, WPA, and jac. Here, I’m going to highlight, in no particular order, some of what I noticed, found most interesting, and whatever else occurs to me. These are notes to myself that might be of use to others; for readability, I’ve separated them into the following posts.

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