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Composition Forum 16, Fall 2006

From the Editors

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Christian Weisser

This issue marks a return to Composition Forum’s central focus: publishing high-quality essays, program profiles, and reviews of books addressing pedagogical theory in rhetoric and composition. Our last issue, guest edited by Christopher Keller, was devoted to space and location in composition studies. Chris and I both thank the many readers who sent notes, congratulations, encouragement, and comments about that issue. Because of the positive feedback on that special topics issue, Composition Forum will devote future issues to important special topics in the field. We welcome your suggestions about topics you’d like to see addressed in future issues, and we will consider proposals to guest edit future issues of the journal by those with expertise in particular areas.

The essays in this issue range from the global to the local. Claude Hurlbert and Anestine Hector Mason’s “Exporting the ‘Violence of Literacy’” focuses upon the worldwide politics of literacy, arguing that the United Nations’ policies of literacy devalue diversity of thought and expression, academic freedom, and teacher knowledge and security. The authors argue that literacy educators must give careful consideration to these practices. Joseph Eng’s “Embracing the Exit” focuses on a narrower but no less important subject to rhetoric and composition specialists: assessment in writing programs. By drawing upon his own experience, the author argues for an expansion of assessment to include a wider variety of individuals while simultaneously overlapping assessment, evaluation, and teaching in writing programs.

Jennifer Clary-Lemon and Peter Vandenberg’s Program Profile addresses their own writing program: the MA in Writing at DePaul University. Their essay argues that MA programs (like theirs) need not be seen exclusively as preparation for PhD study; in fact, they serve a wider variety of roles, interests, and demands within the field. Send Progam Profile queries to Michelle Ballif at

Adding to these three essays are three reviews of current scholarly books in rhetoric and composition. Reviews focus on significant new scholarly publications within the field of rhetoric and composition, but also examine noteworthy books in related fields as well as important textbooks, websites, and other publications of interest to teachers of writing and rhetoric. Book review queries should be sent to Derek Owens through email at

With this issue, we have also updated Composition Forum to use standards-compliant code. This should make the journal more accessible to readers who use assistive technology such as screen readers, and will hopefully make the appearance of Composition Forum more consistent from computer to computer. (This is always a challenge!) You may notice that we have eliminated “printer-ready” versions of articles from the table of contents. We have been able to do this because a print-friendly version is automatically generated from each page thanks to our new encoding scheme. We welcome your feedback about these changes.

Please see our submissions page for further information and submission guidelines for all of these features and sections. We hope you will visit this site often to view our progress; we will continue to add to our Archives section and have other plans underway for the structure and content of the journal. Please send any comments or suggestions about Composition Forum to Christian Weisser at Questions concerning the website should be directed to Bradley Dilger at

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