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2018
Volume 73, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0010-096X
  • E-ISSN: 1939-9006

Abstract

As the discipline of rhetoric and composition engages archival studies, we must not only theorize and narrate primary-source research, but also build archival exhibits. Describing our effort to construct a digital exhibit of primary source material relevant to the history of writing instruction at the University of Texas at Austin 1975–1995 (RhetCompUTX, rhetcomputx.dwrl.utexas.edu), we explain how this project speaks to current historiographic debates about the status and the shape of the discipline. We argue that, to make the shift towards an institutional-material perspective, historians and scholars in rhetoric and composition will need to build our own archives of primary-source material, archives that feature four types of items: items relevant to classroom practice, items documenting the institutional circumstances, items recording the disciplinary conversation, and items capturing the political situation. RhetCompUTX not only features all four types of items, but also encourages the user to see the relations among these layers of practice. By describing this exhibit, by summarizing its argument, and by explaining how we described and assembled its items, we encourage other researchers to build similar archival exhibits and to move towards institutional-material historiography.

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2022-06-01
2024-02-23
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