This timely intervention into composition studies presents a case for the need to teach all students a shared system of communication and logic based on the modern globalizing ideals of universality, neutrality, and empiricism.

Based on a series of close readings of contemporary writing by Stanley Fish, Asao Inoue, Doug Downs and Elizabeth Wardle, Richard Rorty, Slavoj Zizek, and Steven Pinker, this book critiques recent arguments that traditional approaches to teaching writing, grammar, and argumentation foster marginalization, oppression, and the restriction of student agency. Instead, it argues that the best way to educate and empower a diverse global student body is to promote a mode of academic discourse dedicated to the impartial judgment of empirical facts communicated in an open and clear manner. It provides a critical analysis of core topics in composition studies, including the teaching of grammar; notions of objectivity and neutrality; empiricism and pragmatism; identity politics; and postmodernism.

Aimed at graduate students and junior instructors in rhetoric and composition, as well as more seasoned scholars and program administrators, this polemical book provides an accessible staging of key debates that all writing instructors must grapple with.

chapter 1|15 pages


Reason, Rhetoric, Writing, and Global Progress

chapter 2|19 pages

Should We Teach Grammar?

chapter 3|22 pages

Is the Teaching of Writing Racist?

chapter 4|14 pages

The Rejection of Neutrality

chapter 6|11 pages

Ethos, Logos, Pathos, and Catharsis

chapter 7|9 pages

Teaching Post-Truth Rhetoric

From South Park to Trump

chapter 8|12 pages

Rorty, Zizek, and Pragmatic Idealism

chapter 9|11 pages

Teaching Reason in the Age of Unreason

chapter 10|2 pages