Composition: History & Theory: 2000 - 2009
Bawarshi, Anis. “Sites of Invention.” (2003)
In “Sites of Invention: Genre and the Enactment of First-Year Writing,” Anis Bawarshi explores how the relationship between teachers and students affects writing in first-year writing (FYW) courses. He begins by framing the class as an activity system determined by genres. The genres he discusses are the syllabus, writing prompt, and student essay. The syllabus outlines the expected actions of the teacher (prompt writer and student essay reader) and students (prompt readers and student essay writers). The writing prompt constructs the reading and writing parameters for the teacher and student to interact within; by providing a prompt, teachers put their students at the meeting point (topoi) between acquisition (the prompt) and articulation (the student essay); Bawarshi’s argument is that the writing prompt doesn’t function only as instructions for student writing to follow; rather, students must create their own exigencies for writing, recreating the prompt as their own (textual collusion). He believes that by understanding this, we are better able to understand why writers make the choices they make in their writing.
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