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Volume 77, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0010-0994
  • E-ISSN: 2161-8178


This history explores the early growth of composition faculty between 1960 and 1990, arguing that composition has historically functioned as a site of flexible expertise. As archives of the Modern Language Association’s Job Information List attest, early job advertisements for composition “specialists” defined the work of composition in terms antithetical to specialization, expecting a compositionist to perform a variety of administrative work and to teach comfortably in multiple areas. The flexible identity of the field’s faculty aided its growth during a period when tenure-track faculty waned; composition thrived because faculty could serve multiple institutional roles. This essay calls readers to investigate the ways that composition’s flexibility has impacted and continues to impact the field’s identity and labor structures.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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