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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Writing studies in Canada : a people's history Landry, Dana Leanne


This study answers the question “what is writing studies?” by answering the question, “who is writing studies?” This dissertation attempts a people’s history of writing studies in Canada insofar as it defines writing studies, gives shape to the people who work in it, and begins to offer an explicitly political account of working in this field. Chapter 1 covers the motivation and context for the study, the framing of the research through feminist standpoint theory and survey research informed by life writing, significance of the study, and an outline of the chapters. Chapter 2 provides a literature review and fleshes out the theoretical framework. Chapter 3 details the methodology and methods for a quantitative and qualitative surveyof writing studies professionals in Canada, defined here as subscribers to the list-servs of Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (CASDW), the Canadian Association for the Study of Language and Learning (CASLL), the Canadian Writing Centres Association (CWCA), and the Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric (CSSR). Chapter 4 situates me as researcher through life writing about my journey into writing studies. Chapter 5 presents data to provide a definition of writing studies in terms of demographic information, institutional locations, and working conditions.Chapter 6 describes a collective identity for writing studies through respondents’ definitions and uses of the term, “writing studies,” their membership in and understanding of the scholarly organizations of writing studies, and their identities as in writing studies or not. Chapter 7 details respondents’ descriptions of their experiences in writing studies in terms of their routes into the field, their perceptions of change, their perceptions of tensions within their institutions as well as their aims to improve teaching and learning conditions. Chapter 8 gathers the data from Chapters 5-7 into a working definition of writing studies and discusses implications and limitations of the research as well as future directions.

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