Standing in the Shadow of Giants: Plagiarists, Authors, Collaborators

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Who's cheating whom in college writing instruction? This book argues that through binary privileging of the real author (the inspired, autonomous genius) over the transgressive writer (the collaborator or the plagiarist), composition pedagogy deprives students of important opportunities to join in scholarly discourse and assume authorial roles. From Plato's paradoxical dependence on and rejection of Homer, to Jerome McGann's dismissal of copyright as the hand of the dead, Standing in the Shadow of Giants surveys changes and conflicts in Western theories of authorship. From this survey emerges an account of how and why plagiarism became important to academic culture; how and why current pedagogical representations of plagiarism contradict contemporary theory of authorship; why the natural, necessary textual strategy of patchwriting is mis-classified as academic dishonesty; and how teachers might craft pedagogy that authorizes student writing instead of criminalizing it.

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Editorial Reviews

Ventures an evaluative argument about plagiarism. Argues that the term "plagiarism" has come to describe disparate behaviors and that the inclusion of what the author calls patchwriting in the category of plagiarism denies students opportunities to become scholars. Looks at why patchwriting is associated with academic dishonesty, and the cultural work accomplished by the criminalization of patchwriting, contending that criminalization of patchwriting protects the power of the dominant culture by preventing students from practicing one of the important means by which scholars write. Surveys rhetorical practices on which inclusion of patchwriting could be based, and offers policy arguments for a positive pedagogy of patchwriting. The author is associated with Texas Christian University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567504378
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/18/1999
  • Series: Perspectives on Writing Series
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

REBECCA MOORE HOWARD chairs and directs the Writing Program at Syracuse University. She is co-author of Standing in the Shadow of Giants (1999), The Bedford Guide to Teaching Writing in the Disciplines (1995), and co-editor of Coming of Age: The Advanced Writing Curriculum (2000 forthcoming).

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Table of Contents



Introduction: Toward a Pedagogy of (Re)Formative Composition

I. Agiarists: What A Mess!

The Problems of Plagiarism

The Anxieties of Authorship and Pedagogy

Autonomous Collaboration

II. Authors: How Did We Get Into This Mess?

Historical Models

Modern Authors

III. Collaborators: How Can We Get Out Of This Mess?

Contemporary Alternatives

Pedagogy for (Re)Formative Composition

Reforming Plagiarism Policies



Author Index

Subject Index

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