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Other titles in the Michigan Teacher Training series:
First Day to Final Grade, Third Edition: A Graduate Student's Guide to Teaching (Michigan Teacher Training)by Anne Curzan
Synopses & Reviews
Contours of English assesses the state of English Language Studies, a thriving discipline located primarily in English departments and English curricula, at the beginning of the 21st century. Chapter by chapter, it is a book about aspects of English and#151; aspects that, in their own right, will fascinate readers of various disciplines, not only English and linguistics, but also American culture, history, sociology, education, and information sciences. Section by section and as a whole, the book considers ways in which the study of English language intersects with
other concerns of the English curriculum (i.e., teaching and research in Anglophone literature and culture) as well as with the related public discourses and policy interventions.
Contours of English and English Language Studies is organized into four parts representing
four particularly active and interesting fields central to English Language Studies. The four
parts in this book include American Dialects, the History of English, English Lexicography, and English and Education. Each part is structured neither miscellaneously nor as a debate, but rather as an unfolding disciplinary conversation, and includes three chapters by leading scholars
in the relevant subfield marked by different perspectives, methods, and material, as well as a response to those chapters by another leading scholar in the field. The responses are significant essays in themselves, not formulaic end-pieces to the sections; they point toward the future of English Language Studies, bearing the chapters in mind.
A challenge to the way we think about writing on university campuses
Over the past ten years the writing curriculum in colleges and universities has been adapted to recognize cultural diversity in the classroom. By studying this changing curriculum, the contributors to this volume attempt to clarify the ways in which issues of authority, audience, and discourse have intersected to create meaning.
Contested Terrain seeks to flesh out the key concepts that mark the field of study when writing is used to infuse cultural diversity into the curriculum. It makes explicit the fact that certain kinds of logical strategies and social conventions are implicit when a writer sets out to convince a reader to adopt a particular viewpoint. Though professors often declare that a student paper is unsuccessful is because citations are incorrect or grammar is poor, contributors to this volume demonstrate that such responses to student writing often mask the deeper problems of personal and social constructs versus socially independent absolutes.
Contested Terrain--like the Writing Across the Curriculum movement--roots itself in the position that reading and writing are political activities. Phyllis Kahaney and Judith Liu, with this collection, call for a new way of creating discourse communities, one that changes the rules about how meaning is made in various academic disciplines by opening discourse to include more voices--voices that reflect the changing American society.
Phyllis Kahaney is Research Specialist, San Diego State University Foundation.
Judith Liu is Professor of Sociology, University of San Diego.
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