Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Daly-Goggin, Authoring A Discipline.

Daly-Goggin, Maureen. Authoring A Discipline: Scholarly Journals and the Post-World War II Emergence of Rhetoric and Composition. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000.

Searchable text available in Google Book Search.

Daly-Goggin presents a study of nine major journals in rhetoric an composition over 40 years as evidence of the discipline's emergence: College English, CCC, Research in the Teaching of English, Rhetoric Society Newsletter/Quarterly, Freshman English News, Journal of Advanced Composition (later only JAC), Pre/Text, Rhetoric Review, and Written Communication. The preface very clearly positions the project as a history; the opening traces rhetoric as an institutional interest, from its lowly status in the early twentieth century to its resurgence in the late twentieth century. Daly-Goggin draws heavily on a gardening metaphor--an organic framework related to gardening, budding, fruits, transplanting, and harvesting.

The book is organized by periods. The second chapter covers 1950-1965; the third chapter, 1965-1980; and the fourth chapter, 1980-1990. The fourth chapter/era is the time when disciplinarity was best established, relative to the earlier periods, and, as such, Daly-Goggin suggests that the ways journals defined themselves shifted toward theory, methods, and history and away from practice and pedagogy. Put another way, the discipliniographers (i.e., editors and contributors who literally write the discipline (xvii)) continued to move in their thinking to a point where rhetoric and composition was thought a Wissenschaft (14, 122a) or legitimate knowledge-making conglomerate.

Daly-Goggin's analysis of each journal focuses on transitions between editors; she characterizes the journals according to each editor's predilections for what the journal would do and how decisions would be made about what sorts of content would be featured. This is especially significant when it comes to features such as tables of contents (added to RSQ in 1981) and double-blind peer review (introduced to CCC relatively late compared to other journals, during Richard Gebhardt's editorship, starting in 1987).

To account for the early years (1950-1965), Daly-Goggin draws on Laurence Veysey's idea of patterned isolation where "knowledge production and consumption was dispersed, localized, and personal" (48, 65). Collin has written about this, as well, and it is tremendously useful for getting at questions of just how much journals did to alter the pattern or relieve the experience of isolation. Daly-Goggin also suggests that, for this era, many in English studies might not have been paying attention to the journal--might not have been reading it at all. In 1964, Macrorie published ten accounts by graduate students criticizing their graduate training in English. Daly-Goggin writes, "Yet English professors were silent for reasons that are not entirely clear; some may have agreed and thus saw no reason to speak out; others may have chosen to ignore the publication, and still others--most likely many others--probably simply had not read the journal" (61d). Simply had not read the journal.


  • Rel. to Crowley's notion of mechanical literacy, how are models positioned (12b)?
  • Blind peer review for CCC arrives in 1987, during Gebhardt's term as the ninth ed. (63)
  • Graphs: 2 in chapter two, 0 in three, 0 in four, 6 in five, and 0 in six.
  • Subhead: "Defining Disciplinary Practices: Developing Lines of Inquiry and Building Social Networks" (79) (rel. ns)
  • Lauer and Berthoff exchange (96b); see Lauer's "Heuristics"
  • Early articulation of process model by Flower and Hayes in 1977 "Problem-Solving Strategies and the Writing Process" (100c)
  • 1984 Christopher Burnham on cataloguing articles by type: "as monumental as Sisyphus's task and equally absurd" (115d)
  • Joseph Harris on algorithms and heuristics from A Teaching Subject (117)
  • Journal of Advanced Composition to JAC in effort to distinguish from Journal of Basic Writing (122b).
  • RSQ adds table of contents in 1981--to look more professional (136a).
  • On citation frequency, density of publications, and critical mass (177)
  • Social fabric metaphor (in addition to the organic/garden metaphor) (178)
  • Trimbur on specialization as threat (205a)

Terms: discipliniographers (xviii, 148), density of publications (xviii, 176, rel. to graphs), research ideal (5), grammatocentrism (8c), Crowley's mechanical literacy (12b) (rel. models as merely or more than), Wissenschaft (14b), patterned isolation (48, 65), interdisciplinarity (87), poesis/noesis (91), generations (149b; rel. to Latour SIA), critical mass (176), marketing myopia (199d).

"However, I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that journals alone construct the disciplinary work of a field; the phenomenon is much more complicated than that" (xviii).

"The point is disciplines have never been unified or coherent; rather by the mid-20th century academicians began to confront the illusions of coherence" (xx).

Technique: "Given the enormous new demands for work and recreational literacy, the question is why rhetoric did not expand to fill those needs instead of contracting so sharply. The answer is too complex to deal with in one chapter, but the following three sections address some of the major forces that worked to eclipse rhetoric within departments of English" (10d).

Lloyd-Jones compares research agenda to chemistry/alchemy: "Although some in the field of rhetoric and composition have criticized the natural sciences analogy, it was fitting. As I already pointed out, those in the field were isolated in home institutions and thus, largely in the dark about what others were doing, making coherent research agendas virtually impossible" (77b).

"One point must then be highlighted: The contributors and the journals in rhetoric and composition became dispersed across the entire United States, and they further began to represent fairly well the geographical distribution of postsecondary educational institutions" (160).

"In each case, the analysis suggests just how strong and how tightly woven the social fabric for the field had become by the 1980s" (178a).

"Narrow specialization threatens rhetoric--an observation made by Cicero over two millennia ago that appears in the epigraph that opens chapter 1 of this history" (205).

Related sources:
Burnham, Christopher. "Research Methods in Composition." Research in Composition and Rhetoric: A Bibliographic Sourcebook. Eds. Michael G. Moran and Ronald F. Lunsford. Westport: Greenwood, 1984: 191-201.
Crowley, Sharon. "The Perilous Life and Times of Freshman English." Freshman English News 14 (1986): 11-16.
Flower, Linda S., and John R. Hayes. "Problem-Solving Strategies and the Writing Process." CCC 39 (1977): 449-61.
Lauer, Janice. "Heuristics and Composition." CCC 21 (1976): 396-404.
Trimbur, John. "The Problem of Freshman English (Only): Toward Programs of Study in Writing." Writing Program Administration 22 (1999): 9-30.
Veysey, Laurence R. The Emergence of the American University. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1965.
Veysey, Laurence R. "The Plural Organized Worlds of the Humanities." The Organization of Knowledge in Modern America, 1860-1920. Eds. Kenneth Oliver and John Voss. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1979. 51-106.
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