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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Kory Ching

Name: Kory Ching, Department of English

Presentation Title: “Peer Response in the Composition Classroom: An Alternative Genealogy”

Date: November 10, 2005

Abstract

Peer response groups have become something of a ubiquitous feature of composition classrooms, thanks in no small part to the advent of theories of collaborative learning in the 1980s. Anne Ruggles Gere’s 1987 book, Writing Groups: History, Theory, and Implications, was the first (and still only) piece of scholarship to offer a detailed historical analysis of peer response. Drawing on many of the same sources as Gere, the paper I will present constructs an alternative genealogy to the one laid out in Writing Groups. My purpose in doing so is not to take issue with Gere’s version, but rather to explore the ways in which historical research is situated in a complex web of theoretical and practical concerns. Ultimately, the stories we choose to tell about our past, and the ways we chose to tell them, are shaped by the concerns of the moment and the rhetorical work that history can do for us.