New Pub: The Expanding Universe

I’m continuing to get myself caught up on announcements about publications this semester. I had the honor of having a chapter included in a recent edited collection that emerged from the 2016 Dartmouth Research Institute and Conference. The event was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Dartmouth Seminar, and the collection that emerged from it attempted to chart how the study of writing and the teaching of writing has expanded in that time.

The name of the collection is The Expanding Universe of Writing Studies: Higher Education Writing Research, and my individual chapter is Chapter 22, “Haikus, Lists, Submarine Maintenance, and Star Trek: Tracing the Rambling Paths of Writing Development.” It was a fun chapter to work on, and the data I use in that chapter comes from the same set of interviews that informs my interviews with “Tom” (pseudonym) in Chapter 8 of Talk, Tools, and Texts, my monograph.

Cover of book, "The Expanding Universe of Writing Studies: Higher Education Writing Research."  Editors Kelly Blewett, Tiane Donahue, and Cynthia Monroe.

The analysis and writing of the chapter actually happened while I was still working up Talk, Tools, and Texts. The chapter and the book are certainly related, although I do different things with Tom’s records in the book than in the chapter. In particular, I am working hard to articulate my methodology in a far more flexible way in the book than in the chapter. In the chapter, I’m doing some pretty straightforward second-generation grounded theory, with ethnomethodology and sociohistoric theory informing the organization and execution of my coding. This gets me to acts of adapting and adopting that Tom engages in, which hopefully others are able to use as a sensitizing lens for pursuing their own studies of writers developing their literate action through a range of contexts across their lives.

Compare that to Chapter 8 in Talk, Tools, and Texts, which works from the data in Tom’s interviews (along with “John” (pseudonym)) to try to map the intersubjective meaning-making that occurs in moments of literate action and work, from there, through the rambling paths of development that shape their writing, their agency, and their identities in a given moment. Because I had a whole book to work with, I was able to get those threads going earlier (the setup is complete by Chapter 5), and then just follow them through the work that Tom was engaging in.

I’m not sure that I’m working toward a point here other than “it’s cool to see how the affordances of chapters and books let you do different but always interesting things.” It was a fun chapter to work on, and it’s a great volume to be part of. Congratulations to Kelly Blewett, Tiane Donahue, and Cynthia Monroe for their hard work bringing this excellent volume together!

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