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The recent cases of Doris Kearns Goodwin and Kaavya Viswanathan demonstrate that plagiarism is a hot-button issue. It is also pervasive, occurring in universities, four-year colleges, community colleges, and secondary schools. In graduate programs, international classrooms, and multicultural classrooms. In writing centers and writing-across-the-curriculum programs. In scholarly publications and the popular media.
How do we understand a literacy practice that is simultaneously so abhorred and so present in the lives of both beginning and advanced writers, students, and Pulitzer Prize winners? Pluralizing Plagiarism offers multiple answers to this question - answers that insist on taking into account the rhetorical situations in which plagiarism occurs.
While most scholarly publications on plagiarism mirror mass media's attempts to reduce the issue to simple black-and-white statements, the contributors to Pluralizing Plagiarism recognize that it takes place not in universalized realms of good and bad, but in specific contexts in which students' cultural backgrounds often play a role. Teachers concerned about plagiarism can best address the issue in the classroom - especially the first-year composition classroom - as part of writing pedagogy and not just as a matter for punishment and prohibition.
Pluralizing Plagiarism opens a productive dialogue about what is at stake in plagiarism - one that approaches the topic with students rather than for or about them. Leading the way toward curricular reform, its contributors take student work seriously and, therefore, encourage teachers to take student writing and learning seriously.