Freshman rhetorics: Composition studies research and theory into practice.
AuthorSiebert, Bradley Gene.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn this study, the author analyzes a sample of eleven freshman rhetorics to trace influences of the recent scholarship that has marked the emergence of composition studies as a scholarly discipline. The author classifies the textbooks according to the divisions of Berlin's taxonomy of the rhetorical epistemologies and the rhetorical schools that have influenced composition studies. The interactions of each textbook's treatment of invention and of each one's description or implicit working model of composing as a process are analyzed to support the classifications and to discuss how different concepts of invention and composition orient students toward the nature of knowledge. Although conclusions in this study should be limited to the sample, the author found significant innovation in most of the textbooks. While two current-traditional rhetorics were among those studied and traditional features play significant roles in several others, most of the texts are informed primarily by recent research and theory. The author found only one of the textbooks to be strictly traditional; the other traditional textbook includes small adaptations of recent scholarship. The innovative textbooks are distinguished by some degree of primary focus on invention, either the discovery of latent knowledge or the making of new knowledge through composing processes. All also develop one or another of the models of the general composing process, although most emphasize the recursive model. The two traditional textbooks exhibit the expected objective epistemology. Of the others, one develops a subjective epistemology (and represents the expressive school of rhetoric) and eight develop transactional epistemologies (one of these is of the classical school, four are cognitivist, and three are epistemic). The author also found interaction between rhetorical schools in most of the textbooks, which indicates that authors are not responding only to current-traditional rhetoric but also to the other rhetorical schools developing in the discipline, indicating further that composition studies is developing as a discourse community.