"Writing in an Alien World" is a vigorous analysis of contemporary basic writing programs and everyone who participates in them. Tracing the history of basic writing from its origins to recent political attacks on college-level "remediation," Deborah Mutnick offers an account of one of composition's most vexing and rewarding challenges.
Mutnick places basic writing in a historical context and theorizes how its location in higher education overlaps with other social, geographic, and political margins. She explores how the low status of the teaching of basic writing-its devaluation in respect to literature, its gatekeeper role in the university, and its increasing reliance on part time teachers-constructs the academic margins. As a critique of basic writing, "Writing in an Alien World" suggests how the conception of social relations as inevitably hierarchical, depicted by a center and margins, might be reconstrued. But it also celebrates basic writing's pedagogical insights and questions the value of criticizing it at a time when equal opportunity initiatives are under siege.
Basic writing teachers, compositionists, graduate students, and critical educators will benefit from this book's theoretical scope, political analysis, and illuminating portraits of students and teachers....Continua