Yancey, Kathleen Blake. “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key.” College Composition and Communication 56 2 (2004): 297-328. Print.
Yancey begins this essay with a recognition that never before have the technologies of writing contributed so quickly to the creation of new genres. For Yancey these technological developments mirror the development of the reading public in the 19th century as the technological and economic changes of an increasingly globalized world created changing material conditions of work and life. Moving to the present, Yancey notes that the expansions of reading publics across the web driven by the economics of use value (301). More pointedly, Yancey highlights how this writing occurs on its own outside the strictures of the academy. This off-site education into new ways of composing is scary for traditional English departments (and the rhet/comp. folks inhabiting them) as it demonstrates a decrease in the relevancy of English Studies. Yancey supports this position with the fact that roughly 1/3 of English departments have disappeared/changed names in the last 10 years.
Reflecting on current teaching in Composition, Yancey supports the idea that we must move beyond strictly print instruction to a “new curricular home.” To revise Composition she offers three ideas: 1) develop a new curriculum; 2) revisit and revise our WAC efforts; and 3) develop a major in composition and rhetoric (308). Eschewing the dominant model of composition (student writing for teacher), Yancey provides numerous justifications for revising the curriculum away from the one-to-one tutor/student model toward a more social model of composition, circulation, and distribution that is more in line with “real world” genres in order to do a better job preparing student writers to be part of a “writing public” (311). This new approach will have three foci: A) Circulation (circulation is an exercise in the production of audience while at the same time understanding how certain themes/histories have a currency above and beyond other themes/histories; in other words, an epistemological understanding of different disciplinary fields); B) a revival of work with the rhetorical cannons as interrelated activity; and C) the deicity of technology (the idea that technology moves really, really quickly and the acquisition of new literacies mediated by technology is what’s important. . . not the technology itself). This last element is the most interesting because it urges Composition to visit/acquire the new literacies of writing in technologically mediates spaces moving forward in revisions of our curriculum.