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Composition Forum 21, Spring 2010

From the Editors

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Christian Weisser and Michelle Ballif

This volume of Composition Forum begins with an interview with one of the most influential compositionists of the past three decades: Cindy Selfe. Though composition studies has become diverse, focusing upon a range of issues and subjects, the relationship between technology and discourse has been and continues to be a clear focal point. In fact, it is easy to believe that future generations of compositionists might see the focus on digital technology as the most significant contribution of our time. And as interviewer Brian Bailie suggests, Cindy Selfe is a “pioneer in digital technologies in composition and rhetoric.” This interview describes how Cindy first came to work with and study computers and composition, outlines her current conceptions of literacy and technology, and examines her visions for future work with technology and composition. We hope that you find this, our second interview, to be useful and thought-provoking. Questions about our interviews or suggestions for future interviewees should be sent to

The first article in Volume 21 extends this focus on digital technologies by examining web surfing and its place within composition studies. Jessie Blackburn’s “The Web Surfer: What (Literacy) Skills Does it Take to Surf Anyway?” draws upon feminist composition theory to theorize critical digital literacies in a variety of contexts. The article argues that web surfing and “other” digital literacy practices must be addressed as valid and worthwhile subjects of study within composition studies. Similarly, the second article in this volume draws upon composition theory in an effort to better understand various contexts and sites of writing. Amy M. Patrick’s “Sustaining Writing Theory” looks to the intersections of ecocomposition theory and sustainability studies seeking to open discussions about theories of writing that are sustainable and that can sustain writing practices in various contexts. The editors at Composition Forum welcome articles that focus upon the intersections of composition theory and pedagogy. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to

This volume offers two Program Profiles, both focusing upon undergraduate writing programs. The first, “Back to the Future: First-Year Writing in the Binghamton University Writing Initiative, State University of New York,” describes that program’s initiative to offer a set of electives that complement discipline-specific and writing-across-the-curriculum courses. Our second profile is entitled “The Case for a Major in Writing Studies: The University of Minnesota Duluth,” and it makes an argument for the ways in which a writing major should be distinguished from other similar programs. Using their own program as an example, the authors offer a nuanced definition of writing studies, focusing upon the object of their program—writing—and its similarities and differences from other undergraduate majors. Program Profile queries should be addressed to

Volume 21 features our first review essay, as well as three reviews of single books. The review essay, entitled “The Third Turn Toward the Social,” examines two new books in composition that use “embodied activism” as a starting point for their inquiries. Kelly Kinney, Thomas Girshin, and Barrett Bowlin argue that these two books, and others like them, extend the current conversations about grassroots activism within composition studies. The three other reviews provide detailed analyses of books about writing laboratories, technological ecologies and sustainability in composition studies, and hip-hop studies and critical pedagogy, respectively. Comments about our reviews, as well as review queries, should be sent to

We’ve added another feature to Composition Forum to make archives easier to use. Using the social bookmarking site Delicious, we have added entries for every article in recent issues, and are converting older issues as well. By clicking on tags often used in the journal, you can now quickly see all recent Composition Forum articles for subjects which interest you. As we enter information about back issues into Delicious, we are creating abstracts for previously published articles, too. We welcome your feedback about any of these features.

Finally, we will continue to use our weblog to disseminate news about the journal more quickly. Add our feed to your newsreader to keep up with publications and other news. Please send questions or comments about the Composition Forum website to

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