ERIC Number: ED362869
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Composition and Culture: Reforming the English Department.
Chapman, David W.
Ideological tensions at the heart of conflicting philosophies concerning the role of English department studies in higher education generate such questions as: "Should courses in literature be required?" and "Is the ultimate goal of the English major a good job or a good karma?" The answers to these questions are important, as they concern the acceptance and expansion of writing programs within English departments. A 1993 survey of undergraduate writing programs from 264 four-year colleges and universities revealed a variety of positions. In some places those advocating utilitarian approaches have maintained sway, occasionally being motivated by political pressure. In some cases an increased emphasis on writing has become a matter of survival. Frequently, composition offerings have been allowed to be expanded only if they were not expanded at the expense of the literature program. As English departments have reacted to change in undergraduate writing programs, occasionally the dichotomy of literature versus composition is giving way to a synthesis of writing and reading as mutually supportive activities intended not merely to refine human sensibility but to enable and empower students in the academy and beyond. The challenge those persons in higher education face is not simply to replace the old hegemony of literature with a new hegemony of composition, but to construct a new English department where reading and writing are mutually valued and mutually supportive activities. (NH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Curriculum Emphases; Literary Canon
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (44th, San Diego, CA, March 31-April 3, 1993).