Seminar in Composition Studies: Emerging Issues & Perspectives in Community-Based Pedagogies

ENG705: Emerging Issues & Perspectives in Community-Based Pedagogies

Dr. John Gagnon; Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 9:00pm

This course centers on two central questions: given recent calls for the field of Composition to be more responsive to communities both within and external to the academy (1) what are some of the important emerging issues and perspectives in community based pedagogies? and (2) how might we leverage these ways of thinking, teaching, and meaning making to foster community engagement, while enhancing diverse partnerships? Emphasizing collaboration between students and various community contexts, this course carefully considers the ways in which the field of Composition engages or might engage both within and beyond the academy. Drawing from the concept of relationality as a foundation, students will read, listen to, and interact with narratives about community based work, while examining multifaceted perspectives on emerging issues and their implications for working in community contexts, including: the constellating realities of identity (race, class, gender, sexuality), affect and activism, translingualism, and multimodality and digital literacies. Bringing in conversations from the methodological considerations of composition studies in community-based research, the class will focus closely on the hows and whys of community-based pedagogy.

Salient Questions. What are community based pedagogies and how does our understanding of definition, boundaries, and histories impact relationship building in the contexts of research and, in particular, teaching? What role does community work have in composition studies, and how is that evolving? What do current trends, perspectives, and debates teach us about the values and pitfalls of community work? What are some ways to create and foster engagement, accounting both for the institutional expectations of academia and community needs?

Student Learning Outcomes. Enter into conversations of importance to the field, learning about theoretical, methodological, and political considerations in bridging composition and community. Identify and evaluate scholarship relevant to developing self-identity as a teacher responsive to community contexts. Engage in practical considerations of the relationship between community based pedagogy and one’s own work and orientation to teaching and research. Articulate one’s own position in scholarly conversations around emerging issues and perspectives through invention, drafting, and revision of research and experiential based writing.

Required Texts. Canagarajah, Suresh. Literacy as Translingual Practice: Between Communities and Classrooms. Routledge, 2013. ISBN: 978-0415524674; Deans, Thomas et al. Writing and Community Engagement: A Critical Sourcebook. Bedford, 2010. ISBN: 978-0312562236