Getting Restless: Rethinking Revision in Writing Instruction

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Boynton/Cook Publishers, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 198 pages

In Getting Restless, Nancy Welch calls for a reconception of what we mean by "revision," urging compositionists to rethink long-held beliefs about teacher-student relations and writing practices. Drawing primarily on feminist and psychoanalytic theories, she considers how revision can be redefined not as a process of increasing orientations toward a particular thesis or discourse community, but instead as a process of disorientation: an act of getting restless with received meanings, familiar relationships, and disciplinary or generic boundaries--a practice of intervening in the meanings and identifications of one's text and one's life.

Using ethnographic, case-study, and autobiographical research methods, Welch maintains two consistent aims throughout the study:

  • to show how composition teachers can create for themselves and for their students environments that encourage and support revision as restlessness and as a process of intervening in a first draft's thoroughly social meanings and identifications
  • to demonstrate how composition's process legacy is revitalized when we understand that our means to form and change communities- to form and change constructions of authority--are located in revision.

In achieving these ends Welch examines three academic sites: a campus writing center, undergraduate writing classrooms, and a summer workshop for K-12 teachers.

This book will appeal to a wide audience, including classroom and writing center teachers, historians and theorists in composition and rhetoric, feminist theorists, and those engaged in literacy studies, teacher education, and connections/tensions among teaching, writing, and psychoanalysis.

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About the author (1997)

NANCY WELCH is Assistant Professor in English and Women's Studies at the University of Vermont, where she teaches a wide variety of courses in writing, literacy, and theory. Her essays and short stories have appeared in such journals as College English, College Composition and Communication, Sonora Review, and Threepenny Review. She hopes that anyone seeking more information about or support for VHL will contact the VHL Family Alliance, 171 Clinton Road, Brookline, MA 02445,

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