Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Committee Chair

Williams, Bronwyn T.

Author's Keywords

Education; Language; literature and linguistics; Creative writing; Writing curricula and Instruction


Creative writing (Higher education)--Study and teaching--United States; Composition (Language arts)--Study and teaching; English language--Rhetoric--Study and teaching (Higher)


The trend in writing curriculum has been to diversify and separate courses. This dissertation looks at one set of divided curricula--creative writing and composition--in order to examine the ways in which writing pedagogy has been affected by this parceling out of writing objectives into separate niches of the English department. I argue that there should be a way for different curricula and disciplines to share information between them and to bridge arbitrary gaps created by misguided binaries. My dissertation examines some of the problematic generalities propagated within the English department and interrogates the limits of such generalities. Using what scholars have termed grounded theory, I closely examine the assumptions underlying the construction of historical texts, scholarship on pedagogy, and some predominant textbooks used in composition and creative writing and make arguments about the effects of these implicit assumptions on writing curricula. Chapter one studies the more widely read and influential histories of composition and creative writing in order to call attention to the ideologies which imbue the histories and establish how these unstated assumptions have molded the English department we see today. Chapter two looks at scholarship about pedagogy in both fields in order to parse the binary of assumptions about the students in and the stated and unstated goals of these courses. Additionally, chapter two takes up the issue of teacher education, questioning why composition insists its instructors need schooling while a proven track record of publication is enough to qualify as a creative writing instructor. Chapter three studies popular textbooks used for composition and creative writing courses and argues that the texts are a direct reflection of the assumptions underlying what should be taught in each discipline. Chapter four examines the peer review/workshop and uses this practice as a case study of one pedagogical technique which has been integrated into both curricula. Chapter five presents conclusions which can be made from this close reading of scholarship and texts used for and about composition and creative writing and makes recommendations for more integrated pedagogies.