Books

 

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Gravyland is a book for all in writing and literacy studies who want not only to theorize about the world within which we teach, learn, and write but to change it.”—Nancy Welch, author of Living Room: Teaching Public Writing in a Privatized World

In Gravyland, Parks chronicles the history of an urban university writing program and its attempt to develop politically progressive literacy partnerships with the surrounding community while having to work within and against a traditional educational and cultural landscape. He details the experience of the New City Writing program at Temple University from its beginning as a small institute with one program at a local public school to a multi-faceted organization, raising millions of dollars, and establishing partnerships across the diverse neighborhoods of Philadelphia. In doing so, the author describes classrooms where the community takes a seat and becomes part of the conversation—a conversation which is recorded and shared through a selection of writing produced. (From Back Cover.)


 

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“Stephen Parks restores politics to the history of Composition Studies,” Richard Ohmann, author of English in America: A Radical View of the Profession.

Class Politics The Movement for the Students’ Right to Their Own Language (2e) is a response to histories of Composition Studies that focused on scholarly articles and university programs as the generative source for the field. Such histories, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s divorced the field from activist politics—washing out such work in the name of disciplinary identity. Class Politics shows the importance of political mass movements in the formation of Composition Studies—particularly Civil Rights and Black Power. Class Politics also critiques how the field appropriates these movements. The book traces a pathway from social movement, to progressive academic groups, to their work in professional organizations, to the formation of the Students’ Right to Their Own Language. Stephen Parks then shows how the SRTOL was attacked and politically neutralized by conservative forces in the 1980s and 1990s, arguing for a return to politics to reanimate it’s importance—and the importance of politics in the field.

While Parks celebrates classroom success in generating knowledge through dialog with the larger community, he also highlights many of the obstacles the organizers of the New City Writing program faced. The author shows that writing alliances between universities and communities are possible but they must take into account the institutional, economic, and political pressures that accompany such partnerships. Blending the theoretical and practical lessons learned, Parks details New City Writing’s effort to offer a new model of education, one in which the voice of the professor must share space with the voices of the community, and one in which students come to understand that the right to sit in a classroom is not just the result of war, but of peaceful civil disobedience, of community struggles to gain self-recognition, and of collective efforts to seek social justice.(From Back Cover.)

 


 

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Eds: Stephen Parks, Paula Mathieu, and Tiffany Rousculp

“Circulating Communities introduces a much needed, new area of scholarship: community publishing. It tackles a question largely ignored by most scholarship on public writing: How do groups – especially marginalized groups – publish and distribute their work? Best of all, it provides clear-eyed analyses of marginalized communities as they struggle to speak publicly on their own terms. This new focus on circulation and community publishing is a must-read for any program that studies or teaches public writing.” Phyllis Mentzell Ryder, The George Washington University.

Circulating Communities: The Tactics and Strategies of Community Publishing, edited by Paula Mathieu, Steve Parks, and Tiffany Rousculp, represents the first attempt to gather the myriad of community and college publishing projects, providing not only history and analysis but extended samples of the community writing produced. Rather than feature only the voices of academic scholars, this collection features also the words of writing group participants, community organizers, literacy instructors, librarians, and stay-at-home parents as well.

In libraries, community centers, prisons, and homeless shelters across the US and around the world, people not traditionally understood as writers regularly come together to write, offer feedback, revise, publish—and most importantly circulate—their words. The vast amount of literature that these community-publishing projects create has historically been overlooked by scholars of literature, journalism, and literacy. Over the past decade, however, higher education has moved outward, off campus and into the streets. Many of these efforts build from writing and publication projects that extend back over decades, are grassroots in nature, and are independent of college efforts. Circulating Communities offers a unique glimpse into how neighbor and scholar, teacher and activist, are using writing and publishing to improve the daily lives on the streets they call home. (From Back Cover.)


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Eds: Stephen Parks, Cristina Kirklighter, and Samantha Blackmon

In 2011, the National Council of teachers of English (NCTE) turned one hundred years old. But our profession is endlessly beginning, constantly transforming itself and its purpose as new voices and identities claim their rights in our classrooms and in our country. The recognition of such claims, however, does not occur without a struggle, without collective work.

Listening to Our Elders attempts to capture  the history of those collective moments when teachers across grade levels and institutions of higher education organized to insure that the voices, heritages, and traditions of their students and colleagues were recognized within our professional organizations as a vital part of our classroom and our discipline. In doing so, Listening to Our Elders demonstrates this recognition was not always easily given. Instead, whether the issue was race, sexuality, class, or disability, committed activist organizations have often had to push against the existing limits of our field and its organizations to insure a broader sense of common responsibility and humanity were recognized.

Featuring interviews with: Malea Powell, Joyce Rain Anderson, Jeffery Paul Chan, James Hill, James Domage, Geneva Smitherman, Carolota Cardenas de Dwyer, Victor Villanueva, Louise Dunlap, Karen Hollis, Louie Crew, William Thelin, and Bill Macauley. (From Back Cover.)


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Eds. Stephen Parks and Brian Bailie

The Best of the Independent Rhetoric and Composition Journals Series represents the result of a nationwide conversation—beginning with journal editors, but expanding to teachers, scholars and workers across the discipline of Rhetoric and Composition—to select essays that showcase the innovative and transformative work now being published in the field’s independent journals. Representing both print and digital journals in the field, the essays featured here explore issues ranging from classroom practice to writing in global and digital contexts, from writing workshops to community activism. Together, the essays provide readers with a rich understanding of the present and future direction of the field.

 

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