Re Visioning Composition Textbooks

Conflicts of Culture, Ideology, and Pedagogy

Edited by Xin Liu Gale & Fredric G. Gale

Subjects: Comparative Religion
Paperback : 9780791441220, 274 pages, April 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441213, 274 pages, April 1999

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Table of contents


Gary A. Olson

I. Overview

1. Introduction
Xin Liu Gale and Fredric G. Gale

2. In Case of Fire, Throw In (What to Do with Textbooks Once You Switch to Sourcebooks)
David Bleich

II. Textbooks, Culture, and Ideology

3. The Great Way: Reading and Writing in Freedom
Kurt Spellmeyer

4. Self, Other, In-Between: Cross-Cultural Composition Readers and the Reconstruction of Cultural Identities
Yameng Liu

5. Appreciating Narratives of Containment and Contentment: Reading the Writing Handbook as Public Discourse
Joseph Janangelo

6. A Textbook's Theory: Current Composition Theory in Argument Textbooks
Lizbeth A. Bryant

III. Textbooks and Pedagogy

7. Teaching from a Single Textbook "Rhetoric": The Potential Heaviness of the Book
Michael W. Kleine

8. Imitations of Life: Technical Writing Textbooks and the Social Context
Fredric G. Gale

9. The "Full Toolbox" and Critical Thinking: Conflicts and Contradictions in The St. Martin's Guide to Writing
Xin Liu Gale

IV. Material and Political Conditions of Publishing Textbooks

10. Of Handbooks and Handbags: Composition Textbook Publishing after the Deal Decade
Peter Mortensen

11. Textbook Advertisements in the Formation of Composition: 1969-1990
James Thomas Zebroski

12. Writing Writing Lives: The Collaborative Production of a Composition Text in a Large First-Year Writing Program
Sara Garnes, David Humphries, Vic Mortimer, Jennifer Phegley, and Kathleen R. Wallace



Explores the cultures, ideologies, traditions, and the material and political conditions that influence the writing and publishing of textbooks.


An exploration of the sometimes tenuous relationship between textbooks and the discipline of composition and rhetoric, (Re)Visioning Composition Textbooks critically scrutinizes the culture of textbooks from the vantage point of scholars and teachers. It examines a variety of textbooks including: standard rhetorics, handbooks, cross-cultural anthologies, readers, technical textbooks, and argumentation textbooks. Different perspectives are used to discuss the cultures, ideologies, traditions, and the material and political conditions that influence the writing and publishing of these works. Contributors raise challenging questions about the relationship between textbooks and the cultures which produce them, the discipline of which they are an indispensable part, and the classrooms in which they are to have their most tangible effects on teaching and learning.

Xin Liu Gale is Assistant Professor of Writing and English at Syracuse University. She is the author of Teachers, Discourses, and Authority in the Postmodern Composition Classroom, also published by SUNY Press. Fredric G. Gale is Associate Professor of Writing and English at Syracuse University. He has coedited several books and is the author of Political Literacy: Rhetoric, Philosophy and the Possibility of Justice, also published by SUNY Press.


"(Re)Visioning Composition Textbooks intelligently addresses a significant issue in the profession. From the time of Adam and Eve before the fall until recently, the profession ignored the problematics of textbooks. Now we are beginning to take the theory, effectiveness, economics, and politics of textbooks seriously. " — Ross Winterowd, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California