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ERIC Number: EJ1038720
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-1522-7502
Gateway to Complexity: The Adjacent Possible of Beginning Writing
Yood, Jessica
Composition Forum, v30 Fall 2014
Writing studies' "recent enthusiasm" (Roderick "CF 25") for complexity theory has morphed into higher education's rabid embrace of reform. New curricula claim commitment to an "advanced," "networked," and "global" culture by erasing introductory composition, thereby dismissing the practices of those courses. Examples abound, but the author pays particular attention to the 2013 overhaul of general education at the nation's largest public university. She then draws on a year-long ethnography of one English 111 class to show how this course is a hospitable environment for genres that seek what Systems Biologist Stuart Kauffman calls "the adjacent possible." The "adjacent possible" represents unfinished combinations of complex structures-- those that haven't fully evolved but make visible what's next in our expanding biosphere. The author defines one such genre and reveals how it offers another route to complexity and another understanding of FYC: as the gateway course to complexity.
Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A