Introduction: English 570

Welcome to English 570! I’m looking forward to working with you. As you may have noticed, this class is one of two courses being offered this term as part of our new “flex” schedule, which means our work together officially begins January 30. After that date, you’ll have access to our course through eCollege.

1. Syllabus
Information about the course, including our required course texts, can be found at As soon as the syllabus is ready, I’ll post it there (very soon). A few of you have asked for a schedule so you can start reading. Absolutely! We’ll begin that first week discussing the first couple chapters of Elenore Long’s Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Local Publics, which you can access in its entirely (free!) here:

2. Class Meetings
This is an online course with no required face-to-face meetings. I always welcome face-to-face meetings with my students, though! I’ll firm up my office hours in the next day or so, but I always welcome appointments as well. If you’d like to meet, let me know via email ( or Or call/text me at 903-366-1767. That’s my cell and it is a far better way to reach me than my campus phone.

3. Books
The required books are listed below. As I said, we’ll begin with Long. We’ll continue reading her book throughout much of the term, a couple of chapters at a time. We’ll be working through Writing and Community Engagement (Deans) in much the same way. We’ll take up our other two texts (Writing Democracy and Cedar Crossing) about midway through the course.

NOTE: The bookstore seems to be having trouble with Writing Democracy. It still isn’t showing up on their list of required texts, and they haven’t yet been able to tell me why despite my repeated attempts. Hopefully they’ll resolve this soon. In the meantime, is a good bet. You can purchase it at


Some exciting news about that special issue: Last night, at the Modern Language Association awards ceremony in Chicago, the Council of Editors of Learned Journals gave it the 2013 Best Public Intellectual Special Issue. Below is what they had to say:

– Notes from the award ceremony and judge’s remarks:

According to the Council for Editors of Learned Journals, journal contestants in the “Best Public Intellectual Issue” Award category must reach out beyond academe, connect with a popular audience in terms of accessible language and attractive presentation, and seek to achieve the democratic mission of higher education.
For the 2013 award, there is one winner — the Community Literacy Journal, edited and produced in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse at DePaul University — and two runner-ups. The special issue “Writing Democracy” was guest edited by Shannon Carter and Deborah Mutnick.

The Community Literacy Journal’s mission is “defining community literacy as the domain for literacy work that exists outside of mainstream educational and work institutions.” Consequently, the special issue dedicated to “Writing Democracy” takes the intellect out of the academy and gets it to function in ways that are useful and direct to people outside the walls of academe.The journal’s special issue “Writing Democracy” cover, a photograph of the Norris Community Club established by the university in partnership with local citizens to provide “A clear channel of communication” between residents of Norris, a historically segregated neighborhood, and the City of Commerce, “serves as a very powerful reminder of the very real, very concrete impact university-community partnerships can have.” The impressive range of articles discuss in a scholarly way the field’s search for its own identity in its “turn to public writing” that emanates from a widely-held belief that higher education should prepare students to participate in a democratic polity.


Shannon Carter


In English 570 (“Strategies in Composition”), students will examines strategies in composition for community engagement, especially with respect to the ways writing might help bridge the seemingly insurmountable gap between universities and the communities in which they are situated (the “town”/”gown” dichotomy).  Together, we will consider questions like the following: How have everyday people used writing to make a difference in their local communities? How do/can ordinary people “go public”? How do/can college students go public, and how can educators best support them? We will cover issues in community literacy studies, featuring historical examples of ordinary people garnering rhetorical agency across local publics and contemporary examples of civic engagement both within and beyond the college writing classroom. 


Location: online

Dates: January 30-May 9, 2014


Instructor: Shannon Carter (


Required Texts: Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Local Publics (Long 2008), Writing and Community Engagement(Deans et. al., 2010) Writing Democracyspecial issue of Community Literacy Journal (Carter and Mutnick, Eds, Fall 2012),Cedar Crossing (Busby 2013). 



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