Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2011




I frame the continuing value of basic writing as part of a long tradition in composition studies challenging dominant beliefs about literacy and language abilities, and I link basic writing to emerging--e.g."translingual"--approaches to language. I identify basic writing as vital to the field of composition in its rejection of simplistic notions of English, language, and literacy; its insistence on searching out the different in what might appear to be the same and the familiar; and its commitment to work with students consigned by dominant ideologies to the social periphery as in fact central, leading edge. These positions enable basic writing teacher-scholars to learn, and re-think, along with their students, what it can, does, and might mean to write. They thus help to maintain the intellectual, pedagogical, and ethical integrity of composition as a field committed to working and reworking language and literacy. (Contains 7 notes and 2 figures.)

Original Publication Information

This article was originally published in Journal of Basic Writing, volume 30, issue 2, in Fall 2011.