Thursday, September 1, 2011

On composition studies

After reading Fulkerson's 2005 article, I decided to read his earlier overview articles. I read the articles in reverse chronological order just because I thought it would be a different experience. I like the fact that reading Fulkerson's articles one after the other shows how things wax and wane and theories and dominant views and methods all interact and change. Who knows where they are headed, there is no direction, no path. Ah, sometimes a person like Fulkerson brings order to chaos and I find it beautiful.
Fulkerson's articles gave me a lot to think and find out about second language writing (SLW) (and also reminded me of the discussions in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) studies on what an SLA theory should look like in the 1990s). I think I know what to look for now in SLW, but I have to be careful because I do want to see what now I'm primed to see. Hopefully, being exposed to the quest for (the holy grail, uhm, I mean) a, or the, theory in several fields will keep me safe on my way and I will be able to see SLW when I look at SLW, not reflections of another field.

Fulkerson, R. (1990). Composition theories in the eighties: Axiological consensus and paradigmatic diversity. College Composition and Communication, 41(4), 409-429.  

Fulkerson, R. (1979). Four philosophies of composition. College Composition and Communication, 30(4), 343-348. 

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