Critical Expressivism: Theory and Practice in the Composition Classroom
Tara Roeder and Roseanne Gatto
Literature & Fiction
Critical Expressivism: Theory and Practice in the Composition Classroom
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Edited by Tara Roeder and Roseanne Gatto. Copy edited by Don Donahue. Designed by Tara Reeser.

Critical Expressivism is an ambitious attempt to re-appropriate intellectual territory that has more often been charted by its detractors than by its proponents. Indeed, as Peter Elbow observes in his contribution to this volume, "As far as I can tell, the term 'expressivist' was coined and used only by people who wanted a word for people they disapproved of and wanted to discredit." The editors and contributors to this collection invite readers to join them in a new conversation, one informed by "a belief that the term expressivism continues to have a vitally important function in our field."

About the Editors

Tara Roeder is an Associate Professor with the Institute for Writing Studies at St. John's University. She earned her doctorate in English from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2014. Her research focuses on feminist theory and women's memoir; non-oedipal psychoanalytic theory and pedagogy; and queer theory and pedagogy.

Roseanne Gatto is an Associate Professor with the Institute for Writing Studies at St. John's University. She earned her doctorate in composition and rhetoric at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2011. Her research interests include archival research methods and social justice in composition/rhetoric.

Publication Information: Roeder, Tara, & Gatto, Roseanne (Eds.). (2014). Critical Expressivism: Theory and Practice in the Composition Classroom. Perspectives on Writing. Fort Collins, Colorado: The WAC Clearinghouse and Parlor Press. Available at

Print and PDF Publication Date: November 28, 2014.

ePub Publication Date: November 8, 2015.

Preface: Yes, I Know That Expressivism Is Out of Vogue, But …
Lizbeth Bryant
Re-Imagining Expressivism: An Introduction
Tara Roeder and Roseanne Gatto
Section One: Critical Self-Construction
“Personal Writing” and “Expressivism” as Problem Terms
Peter Elbow
Selfhood and the Personal Essay: A Pragmatic Defense
Thomas Newkirk
Critical Memoir and Identity Formation: Being, Belonging, Becoming
Nancy Mack
Critical Expressivism’s Alchemical Challenge
Derek Owens
Past-Writing: Negotiating the Complexity of Experience and Memory
Jean Bessette
Essai—A Metaphor: Writing to Show Thinking
Lea Povozhaev
Section Two: Personal Writing and Social Change
Communication as Social Action: Critical Expressivist Pedagogies in the Writing Classroom
Patricia Webb Boyd
From the Personal to the Social
Daniel F. Collins
“Is it Possible to Teach Writing So That People Stop Killing Each Other?” Nonviolence, Composition, and Critical Expressivism
Scott Wagar
The (Un)Knowable Self and Others: Critical Empathy and Expressivism
Eric Leake
Section Three: Histories
John Watson Is to Introspectionism as James Berlin Is to Expressivism (And Other Analogies You Won’t Find on the SAT)
Maja Wilson
Expressive Pedagogies in the University of Pittsburgh’s Alternative Curriculum Program, 1973-1979
Chris Warnick
Rereading Romanticism, Rereading Expressivism: Revising “Voice” through Wordsworth’s Prefaces
Hannah J. Rule
Emerson’s Pragmatic Call for Critical Conscience: Double Consciousness, Cognition, and Human Nature
Anthony Petruzzi *
Section Four: Pedagogies
Place-Based Genre Writing as Critical Expressivist Practice
David Seitz
Multicultural Critical Pedagogy in the Community- Based Classroom: A Motivation for Foregrounding the Personal
Kim M. Davis
The Economy of Expressivism and Its Legacy of Low/No-Stakes Writing
Sheri Rysdam
Revisiting Radical Revision
Jeff Sommers
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