Identity Matters

Schooling the Student Body in Academic Discourse

By Donna LeCourt

Subjects: Political Science, Public Policy, Identity, Education
Series: SUNY series in Public Policy
Paperback : 9780791460566, 255 pages, March 2004
Hardcover : 9780791460559, 255 pages, March 2004

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Table of contents



1. Material Conditions of Identity Politics, or How Identity Matters in Public and Academic Discourses

Interchapter 1: Home Places

2. Academic Discourse and Subject Production: Toward a Technology of Power

Interchapter 2: Learning My Class

3. Turning Ourselves Into Subjects: Identification, Power, and Desire

Interchapter 3: The Imposter in Me

4. Colonialism, Capitalism, And Composition: Structural Limitations on Composing Identities

Interchapter 4: Loss And Gain

5. The Turn to Identity: Multiplicity and Agency Within Material Relations of Power

Interchapter 5 : My Blindness

6. Writing Matters: Revitalizing Agency

Works Cited


Blends memoir and scholarship to provide a moving and sometimes unsettling look at how academic discourse affects the cultural values and identities that students bring into the writing classroom.


Identity Matters explores the question that consistently plagues composition teachers: why do their pedagogies so often fail? Donna LeCourt suggests that the answer may lie with the very identities, values, and modes of expression higher education cultivates. In a book that does precisely what it theorizes, LeCourt analyzes student-written literacy autobiographies to examine how students interact with and challenge cultural theories of identity. This analysis demonstrates that writing instruction does, indeed, matter and has a significant influence on how students imagine their potential in both academic and cultural realms. LeCourt paints not only a compelling and vexing picture of how students interact with academic discourse as both mind and body, but also offers hope for a reconceived pedagogy of social-material writing practice.

Donna LeCourt is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.