All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Christopher Minnix

Advisory Committee Members

Kerry Madden

Bruce M McComiskey

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

My thesis explores and advances the discussion of how easing the boundary between creative nonfiction and composition studies might invigorate composition studies by moving from theory to practice. Building upon work by Wendy Bishop, Douglas Hesse, Robert L. Root, Jr., and Andrew Bourelle, it offers a study of the impact of introducing creative nonfiction texts and creative writing pedagogy into the composition classroom. Composition studies and creative writing currently exist in separate worlds. Those teaching composition tend to focus on the social-epistemic, while creative writing pedagogy focuses on expressivism. Negative stereotypes have evolved about both departments based on their approaches to writing, and altering the relationship between the two departments might be mutually beneficial. Shifts in nonfiction writing during the past thirty years, both in the publishing world and in academia, suggest that a new definition of nonfiction writing is necessary. This new definition requires an inevitable restructuring of writing departments, which would make the relationship between composition studies and creative nonfiction a much more intimate one. An infusion of creative nonfiction into composition studies might heal the rift between seemingly conflicted pedagogies. Modifying UAB's departmental syllabus for EH 101 and teaching sample assignments that mix creative nonfiction and composition in the spring of 2013 reveals what "creative composing" might look like. Even the most subtle infusions of creative nonfiction works to heal the fissures between conflicting pedagogical theories and better prepares students to navigate the complex world of nonfiction writing. It is to the benefit of students to locate common ground between seemingly competing pedagogical theories, to pull the best elements from this range of possibilities, and to combine them in new ways within a course. Thinking about a class in this way creates surprising ripple effects and fosters an atmosphere of innovation.

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