Quantum Echoes: The Spaces Between Interdisciplinary Composition and the Teaching of Writing

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Literature and Languages

Date of Award

Spring 2016


This dissertation contributes to the growing number of rhetorical historiographies in composition studies that that seek to define the ways in which composition instruction and research is experienced, perpetuated and enabled at the local level. All too often women help to write the academy and its texts but are often left out of composition histories. Joining the growing number of researchers who insist our field consists of multiple histories rather than a single narrative, I offer an extended analysis that traces the teaching and scholarship of two professors (Joanne Cockelreas and Richard Fulkerson) at the same rural institutions (East Texas State University) in the 1970s and 1980s. In doing so, I am building upon the work of Jessica Enoch, David Gold, and Cheryl Glenn who suggest that our field’s history is incomplete without the understanding of how writing instruction functions in the everyday lives of teachers and students. While Richard Fulkerson’s work is overrepresented in the field of composition studies, Joanne Cockelreas’s contributions are largely invisible even though she was well situated within the professional organizations at the time. By examining a range of archival materials—including scholarly publications, course materials, and ephemeral items—this dissertation attempts to make sense of that disparity and in doing so contributes to our growing understanding of the history of composition studies. The selection of these two individuals and this period reflects the inclusion of new interdisciplinary approaches and offers a unique perspective on the ways in which the field of composition studies manifests itself. My contribution of this study is to help us better understand the field of composition in the 1970s and 1980s as it begins to grow and settle into a discipline. In order to best do this, I am looking at the everyday contexts of writing instruction in conjunction with how they are being discussed in the national conversations of the field. Often, these rural narratives are in direct opposition to the understanding of how larger programs and scholarly publications in the field at the time portrayed knowledge creation and circulation.


Shannon Carter

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies