Critical Expressivist Practices in the College Writing Classroom [500-1000 word proposals by January 15, 2011]

full name / name of organization: 
Roseanne Gatto & Tara Roeder, St. John's University

The term expressivism has fallen out of favor with many composition scholars in the past few decades. As social constructivist approaches to composition studies become increasingly common, the old myths about expressivism (e.g. it's solipsistic; it privileges the self over the social; it's apolitical) persist. But are the two movements actually antithetical?

We want to suggest that the best expressivist practices have always been about the social, the political, and the careful negotiation between self and community. This is a hard pill for some to swallow—arguments have been made that the label "expressivist" itself, with all its baggage, be jettisoned. However, as writing teachers who are committed to fostering social change as well as self-expression in our composition classrooms, we want to examine what it might mean to be "critically expressivist."

Our goal is to create a dialogue around the multiple histories and usages of the term "expressivism" in an attempt to investigate both its lineage and its continuing possibilities. We invite proposals for this edited collection that explore any aspect of critical expressivist theory and practice in the composition classroom. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

• histories and counter-histories of the term "expressivism"
• should we even continue using the term "expressivism"? what are the stakes of such a choice?
• classroom practices that enact critical expressivist theory
• theoretical underpinnings of critical expressivist practice
• feminist interventions in the history of expressivism
• ways in which race and class can inform expressivist models

Please send 500-1000 word proposals with a brief author bio. to Roseanne Gatto ( or Tara Roeder ( by January 15, 2011.