The Evolution of College English: Literacy Studies from the Puritans to the Postmoderns

The Evolution of College English: Literacy Studies from the Puritans to the Postmoderns

by Thomas P. Miller


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The Evolution of College English: Literacy Studies from the Puritans to the Postmoderns by Thomas P. Miller

In The Evolution of College English, Thomas P. Miller defines college English studies as literacy studies and presents a history of how it has evolved in tandem with broader developments. He maps out ?four corners? of English departments: literature, language studies, teacher education, and writing studies. Miller identifies their development with changes in the technologies and economies of literacy that have redefined what students write and read, which careers they enter, and how literature represents their experiences and aspirations. Miller looks to comprehensive departments of English that value studies of teaching, writing, and language as well as literature. He also examines broadly based institutions that are engaged with writing at work in public life, with schools and public agencies, with access issues, and with media, ethnic, and cultural studies. With the growing privatization of higher education, such pragmatic engagements become vital to sustaining a civic vision of English studies and the humanities generally.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822961161
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 11/28/2010
Series: Pitt Comp Literacy Culture Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Thomas P. Miller is associate provost for faculty affairs at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is the author of The Formation of College English: Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in the British Cultural Provinces, a winner of the Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction: Working Past the Profession 1

Histories of the Four Corners of the Field 6

Literacy, Literacy Studies, the Literate and Literary 15

1 Learning and the Learned in Colonial New England 24

The Corporation on the Hill 27

The ?Circle of Learning? within the Curriculum 32

The Great Awakening, When ?The word was sharper than a two-edged sword? 40

The Introduction of Formal English Studies 47

Conclusion: From Public Seminaries to Private Corporations 52

2 Republican Rhetoric 56

The First Professorships of English 60

Oratorical Literature and the New Learning 67

Moral Philosophy and the Politics of Republican Education 72

The Reading Public That Became the Republic 76

Conclusion: The Formation of English and the Transformation of Civil Society 83

3 When Colleges Were Literary Institutions 87

The Diversification and Consolidation of Literate Expertise 90

Schooling the Public in ?Republican Institutions of Self-Government? 97

The Political Economy of the Liberal Arts 103

The Transition from Rhetoric through Composition to Literature 112

Conclusion: Literature and Literacy in the Extracurriculum 120

4 How the Teaching of Literacy Gave Rise to the Profession of Literature 124

Articulating the Cost of Admissions 130

Mapping Out the Field of Work 137

How Work with Literacy Became Isolated from Language Studies and Public Discourse 143

The Pragmatics of Making a Difference 151

?Criticism, Inc.,? 161

Conclusion: Why College English Didn't Become a More Progressive Discipline 167

5 At the Ends of the Profession 173

From Social Reconstruction to Life Adjustment in Postwar General Education 177

English Education in the ?Golden Age? of the Profession 184

The Crisis in Literacy and Literary Studies in the 1970s 193

The Strategic Possibilities of Rhetoric in the Curricular Revisions of the 1980s 203

Conclusion: A ?Humanistic Conception? of ?An Active Participation in Practical Life? 212

Conclusion: Why the Pragmatics of Literacy Are Critical 218

Critical Junctures in the History of Literacy and Literacy Studies 221

Literary and Literacy Crises, or What's an English Major For? 228

Organizing Teaching 237

Realizing the Pragmatic Potentials of Departments of Literacy 244

Notes 251

Works Cited 281

Index 317

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