Anderson, Chris. “The Description of an Embarrassment: When Students Write about Religion.” ADE Bulletin 094 (Winter 1989): 12-15. (I have a digital copy.) Addendum 01-14-08: here’s a link to this article: http://web2.ade.org/ade/bulletin/n094/094012.htm
Dively, Ronda Leathers. “Censoring Religious Rhetoric in the Composition Classroom: What We and Our Students May Be Missing.” Composition Studies/Freshman English News, v25 n1 p55-66 Spr 1997 Ordered via ILL 4-10-08 Transaction Number 297674.
ABSTRACT: Notes that it is not unusual for writing teachers to place “religion” on lists of forbidden subject matter. Describes a two-year research project that developed and tested a pedagogy for responding to the unique problems that composition instructors face when intellectually and rhetorically unsophisticated religious texts do cross their desks. (RS)
Added 4-10-08 ABSTRACT: The purpose of this research was to investigate the potential effects of a pedagogy designed to help students avoid dualistic modes of thought and expression when writing about religious subject matter. Specifically, the study focused on the following questions: (1) How might the nature of students’ attitudes toward, the processes involved in, and the products elicited by engagement with a religious topic be characterized? (2) To what extent is it possible to help freshman composition students write about religious faith in an intellectually and rhetorically astute fashion as that is defined by appropriations of William Perry’s model of the intellectual and ethical development of undergraduates for the composition classroom? (3) How might composition instructors successfully address the many problems which necessarily arise when helping students to write about religious values and experiences within forums (including the academy) composed of individuals who may not share their convictions?
The research pedagogy drew heavily on theories of audience and forum analysis, multiple subjectivity and the centripetal and centrifugal capacities of language. The potential effects of the pedagogy were investigated by means of preexperimental and case-study methodology. The primary data (collected from each of forty students in three separate classes) included two drafts written in response to an essay assignment on religion, one written before implementation of the pedagogy, and the second written after implementation of the pedagogy. Other data included questionnaire responses, process journals, revision plans and end-of-the-semester self-analyses.
The data led to the following conclusions: (1) The majority of students did not produce dualistic initial responses to the essay assignment on religion. (2) Some students involved in the preexperiment did improve the quality of their essay on religion after implementation of the pedagogy. (3) Case-study documents revealed that the students’ attitudes toward the assignment on religion were positive. (4) Case-study documents and students’ drafts suggested that certain aspects of the pedagogy were helpful in facilitating successful revision processes for the assignment on religion. (5) Many of the students experienced common difficulties when drafting the essay assignment on religion.
McGuire, Vail H. Unlikely Connections: The Intersection of Composition, Rhetoric, and Christian Theology. Diss. Doctor of Philosophy, Miami University, English, 2007. Ill’d 4-11-08 297763.
ABSTRACT: The discipline of composition and rhetoric and the discipline of theology, particularly Christian theology, are two areas which have often found themselves distanced from one another, especially as they are positioned both within the academy and the composition classroom. Because the epistemological orientations of these two disciplines are often perceived as so dissimilar, the discipline of composition and rhetoric has been remarkably disinclined to include theology and religion among its many theoretical tributaries. In addition, composition pedagogy often conduces to a more liberal sociopolitical orientation, thus promoting further distance between the composition teacher and the conservative Christian student. The purpose for this paper, therefore, is twofold: first, to promote greater awareness among the professionals in my discipline of the contiguity which exists between composition and rhetoric and contemporary theology. There are conversations that are currently taking place regarding how to appropriate religious faith into the composition classroom in pedagogically productive and meaningful ways, but they are not addressing the issue within a theological context. Thus, the second objective is to address the following question: How might rhetoric and composition be informed by contemporary theology? In answering this question, it is important to recognize that Christianity is neither a coherent nor a monolithic cultural identity, something that will be examined at length. In addition, an exploration of the theologies of Trinitarian doctrine and of evangelism reveals how they might speak to the issues of subjectivity, ontology, and social construction, discussions which, in turn, suggest how theology can both inform and transform classroom practices.
Rand, Lizabeth A. “Enacting Faith: Evangelical Discourse and the Discipline of Composition Studies.” College Composition and Communication, Vol. 52, No. 3 (Feb., 2001), pp. 349-367.
ABSTRACT: This essay contends that religious belief often matters to our students and that spiritual identity may be the primary kind of selfhood that more than a few of them draw upon in making meaning of their lives and the world around them. Particular attention is given to evangelical expression in the classroom and the complex ways that faith is enacted in discourse.
Williams, Bronwyn T. “Taken on Faith: Religion and Identity in Writing Classes.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(6), 514–518.
ABSTRACT: In exploring her uneasiness in dealing with issues of religion in her classroom, the author asks, “Should I guide students away from writing about issues that explicitly dealt with their faith? Should I impose an outright prohibition on such writing? Or should I find ways to engage with the issues and the perspectives that were so clearly important to these students?” This insightful and reflective essay highlights the connections between faith and identity and the role that literacy may play in expression of both.