To Know Her Own History

To Know Her Own History

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To Know Her Own History chronicles the evolution of writing programs at a landmark Southern womena€™s college during the postwar period. Kelly Ritter finds that despite its conservative Southern culture and vocational roots, the Womana€™s College of the University of North Carolina was a unique setting where advanced writing programs and creativity flourished long before these trends emerged nationally. Ritter profiles the history of the Womana€™s College, first as a normal school, where women trained as teachers with an emphasis on composition and analytical writing, then as a liberal arts college. She compares the burgeoning writing program here to those of the Seven Sisters (Wellesley, Smith, Radcliffe, Barnard, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, and Mount Holyoke) and to elite all-male universities, to show the singular progressivism of the Womana€™s College. Ritter presents lively student writing samples from the early postwar period to reveal a blurring of the boundaries between a€œcreativea€ and a€œexpositorya€ styles. By midcentury, a quantum shift toward creative writing changed administratorsa€™ valuation of composition courses and staff at the Womana€™s College. An intensive process of curricular revisions, modeled after Harvarda€™s a€œRedbooka€ plan, was proposed and rejected in 1951, as the college stood by its unique curricula and singular values. Ritter follows the plight of individual instructors of creative writing and composition, showing how their compensation and standing were made disproportionate by the shifting position of expository writing in relation to creative writing. Despite this unsettled period, the Womana€™s College continued to gain in stature, and by 1964 it became a prize acquisition of the University of North Carolina system. Rittera€™s study demonstrates the value of local histories to uncover undocumented advancements in writing education, offering insights into the political, cultural, and social conditions that influenced learning and methodologies at a€œmarginalizeda€ schools such as the Womana€™s College.English 102 was, in contrast, the writing-about-literature course, as had been the case earlier in the institutiona#39;s normal school curricula ... Within these blocks, students were asked to write, again in the following order, a€œtwo informal or familiar essays; outline and develop a research ... one impromptu critical essay; write either one long critical paper or a long narrative; write three critical short themesa€ (8a€“9).

Title:To Know Her Own History
Author:Kelly Ritter
Publisher:University of Pittsburgh Pre - 2012-02-01


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