Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Douglas Hesse, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Linda Bensel-Meyers

Third Advisor

Ann Dobyns

Fourth Advisor

Christina F. Foust


Composition and rhetoric, Enactment, Field theory, Orientation, Writing, Writing studies


Beginning primarily in the late 1980s, the phrase “Writing Studies” has increasingly come to be used as a synonym for “Composition and Rhetoric.” Analyzing the orientational and disorientational significance of assuming both synonymy and distinction between the two, I argue for a methodological enactment of Writing Studies as a distinct but deeply entailed field and consider a range of conceptual, practical, political, disciplinary, institutional, curricular, and identity issues at stake in doing so. As the possibility of a Writing Studies that is non-identical to Composition has not yet been widely taken up, the potential of Writing Studies as a distinct and emergent field in its own right has not yet been fully realized, and its nature is as yet unstable. However, the conception and actual use of Writing Studies by compositionists as a distinct place in which to study writing relative to—rather than as—Composition and Rhetoric has significant potential to enable new lines of inquiry and argument for Writing Studies in the current moment and may have considerable implications for the institutional, curricular, and disciplinary capital of Composition and Rhetoric, among others (particularly, Creative Writing and English) in the future. As the field is enacted, Writing Studies provides a distinct-but-entailed location in which to make orientation and disorientation more visible within contemporary Composition and to enact paradoxically new identities and orientations to writing for individual scholars and programs. Additionally, that distinct-but-entailed location provides new opportunities to conduct field-based inquiry and to re-examine a range of questions, including but not limited to: the interplay of field-ness and disciplinarity as Composition continues to evolve, the shifting relations between Composition and other fields and disciplines for whom writing is a subject of inquiry, the study and teaching of commonplace writing subjects in pedagogical/academic spaces and places, and the implications and limitations of field-oriented methodologies and texts as orienting and enactive tools in and beyond traditional disciplinary, institutional, and curricular contexts.

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Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Daniel Louis Singer

File size

231 p.

File format