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Bodily Discourses: When Students Write About Abuse and Eating Disorders / Edition 1

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At a northeastern university, a student turns in an essay for her writing course that uses her own experiences of being beaten by her boyfriend to argue for change in women's legal protection. Another student writes a research essay on child sexual abuse, describing her own abuse at the age of ten. In an advanced writing course, a student composes an essay on her addiction to hunger, her hospitalization, and her ultimate recovery from her obsession. Bodily Discourses is about these students. But it is also about how we interpret and respond to essays about bodily violence and the questions these responses raise about composition theory.

Some argue these topics have no place in the writing classroom, often assuming that only in expressivist classrooms will students choose to write about them. Payne looks closely at these responses and the anxiety behind them to offer a richly layered, provocative, and contextual analysis of both the student texts and composition theory - taking us into the texts these students write, their classrooms, and their interactions with students and peers.

Bodily Discourses is based upon a study that draws from twenty-five student essays, as well as interviews and ethnographic field work. It is the first book to move beyond teachers' typical concerns about how to respond and grade such "personal essays" to ask instead: Why are students writing about these subjects? How are they writing about them? What assumptions inform teachers' responses? What larger cultural contexts shape how such experiences are represented and understood by students and teachers? With each chapter, readers reexamine their own responses to these texts, discover a better way of reading and responding to them, and come to understand how students' writing about bodily violence challenges current debates about ideology, identity, and the teaching of writing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867094718
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 3/16/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Michelle Payne is Assistant Professor of English at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho, where she currently serves as Assistant Director of the Writing Program, trains teaching assistants, and teaches courses in writing, composition and rhetorical theory, and feminist theory. She has contributed essays and chapters to several publications, including The Bucknell Review, Taking Stock: The Writing Process Movement in the 90's (coedited by Lad Tobin and Thomas Newkirk), and Writing and Healing: Toward an Informed Practice (coedited by Charles Anderson and Marian MacCurdy).
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Table of Contents

1. The Weepy World of Confession

It's Like It Never Even Happened: Situating Student Texts Within Discursive Traditions of Writing About Sexual Violence

"The Bruises Were Inside of Me": Writing the Hungry Body

"Sometimes I Just Want to Beat the Shit Out of You!" Anger and the Making of Knowledge in the Writing Classroom

Conclusion: Listening

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