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Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only

1996
Author:

Linda Brodkey

Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only

One teacher's dispatches from the front lines of the culture wars.

Ranging from personal essay to hard-hitting polemic and touching on many of the major issues in the teaching of writing today, this volume explores alternatives to the standard methods for teaching composition.

Brodkey remains a fine and passionate writer; her work is recommended for college libraries.

Library Journal

In the early 1990s, Linda Brodkey ended up on the front page of the New York Times and in the columns of George Will and other conservative pundits. The furor was over the “Writing about Difference” syllabus she helped create at the University of Texas, an effort that came to be one more casualty in the debate over multiculturalism in the academy. Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only is made up of Brodkey’s dispatches from the front lines of the culture wars.

The essays in this book raise provocative questions about the way writing is taught in the United States. Brodkey lambastes conventional composition courses, which since their inception in the mid-nineteenth century have been the site of conflict over what “literacy” really means. She argues that such courses have institutionalized the practice of separating form and content, relegating teachers to the tasks of policing grammar and patrolling the borders of style and literature. Ultimately, this separation of structure and meaning depoliticizes the act of writing, creating an artificial distinction between what is being said and how it is expressed.

Comprising specific examples of student work in addition to Brodkey’s own essays, Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only works against this dynamic. Ranging from personal essay (“Writing on the Bias”) to hard-hitting polemic (“Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only”) and touching on many of the major issues in the teaching of writing today, this volume explores alternatives to the standard methods for teaching composition. The result is a passionate plea for the loosing of writing to achieve its full power and potential; to unharness writing—and its teachers—from the institutional strictures that stifle both creativity and independent thought.

Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only

Linda Brodkey is a prominent thinker on the teaching of writing. She is director of the Warren College Writing Program and associate professor in the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only

Brodkey remains a fine and passionate writer; her work is recommended for college libraries.

Library Journal

Readers will find pleasure in this large, sprawling book about the large, sprawling enterprise of teaching writing. What keeps the book moving is Brodkey’s gift for varying the rhythm and subject mater of her essays.

Hungry Mind Review

Brodkey, as a scholar and teacher, champions the right of student writers to state-of-the-art instruction based on state-of-the-art theory. This book is an impressive testament to her willingness to use her own critical literacy and professional reputation in a principled assault on those instructors and practices that teach students to hate writing.

Teaching English in the Two-Year College