How I Became the Kind of Writer I Became: An Experiment in Autoethnography

By Charles Bazerman
Copy edited by Caitlin Kahihikolo. Designed by Mike Palmquist.

CoverIn his exploration of his development as one of the most prolific and thoughtful writers in the field of writing studies, Charles Bazerman considers how, like all writers, he has been shaped in distinctive and unique ways by his literate experiences. “Each of our stories is particular,” he writes, calling this book “my experiment in saying what I can from my perspective about my development as a writer.” How I Became the Kind of Writer I Became poses questions about the lifespan development of writing and, in particular, how writing emerges within the “conditions, relations, and needs of life.” Observing that his autoethnography does not offer a norm or an ideal, Bazerman calls attention to the need for more of these kinds of reflections. “We need many such stories from many kinds of writers,” he notes, “reflecting on what opportunities, needs, experiences, and resources came their way and how they iteratively solved the problem of what to write and how to write it, as they saw it.” As the first book in the Lifespan Writing Research book series, Bazerman’s work serves as both a model for reflective inquiry and a call for additional work in this area.

Table of Contents

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Front Matter



Part One. Writing From Where I Was

Chapter 1. Contexts for This Writer’s Journey

Chapter 2. Starting Down a Path: Earliest Dispositions, Interactions, and Education

Chapter 3. Writing in Secondary School: Learning to Confront the World through Writing

Chapter 4. Family Troubles and Academic Identity

Chapter 5. Political Awareness and Political Passions

Part Two. Writing to Find Myself

Chapter 6. Telluride House: Are We Home Yet?

Chapter 7. First-Year Composition: Setting Terms for College Writing

Chapter 8. Writing in Non-Literature Courses

Chapter 9. Writing in Literature Courses Through the Third Year: Learning Close Textual Analysis

Chapter 10. University Crises and the Search for Meaning: Where Do I Belong?

Chapter 11. Dramatic Literature, Dramatic Performance, and the Drama of Life: Casting About for Meanings

Chapter 12. Playing Out the Vision: Other Writing About Literature in the Senior Year

Chapter 13. Graduate School, Take One: Imagination and Discipline

Part Three. Finding Writing as a Way to Be

Chapter 14. Into the World: The Social Value of Writing

Chapter 15. Finishing Graduate School

Chapter 16. Teacher of College Writing: A Meaningful Commitment

Chapter 17. First Steps in Academic Publishing: Bringing My Writing into the Published World

Part Four. Learning the Writing Scholar Trade

Chapter 18. Becoming a Writing Researcher: The Classroom as Design Inquiry

Chapter 19. Science Studies as Writing Studies

Chapter 20. Studying the Changing Genres of Science and Figuring Out How to Write about It

Chapter 21. Following Rhetorical Innovators: Why Were They Writing That Way?

Chapter 22. Edison: How to Write About Complex Multi-Dimensional Social Projects

Chapter 23. Becoming a Writing Theorist: Keeping Abstractions Tied to the Ground

Chapter 24. Elaborating the Theory: Finding a Point to Stand On

Part Five. Participating in a Field and Its Future

Chapter 25. Editing as Writing and Developing Writing: Understanding What Others are Doing in Their Writing

Chapter 26. Administrative Writing: Making Genres, Actions, and Topoi Work in Institutions

Chapter 27. The Production and Circulation of Environmental Knowledge: Can Historical Scholarship on Writing Effect Social Change?

Chapter 28. Data Gathering and Methodology in Writing: Fact Production and Use

Chapter 29. Writing and Thinking: Psychiatry, Psychology, and Consciousness

Chapter 30. Writing Across the Lifespan

Chapter 31. Learning to Write Across Borders

Chapter 32. Looking Backward and Writing Forward


Charles Bazerman Publications, Interviews, and Edited Book Series

About the Author

Charles Bazerman is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he served as Chair of the Program in Education for six years He is the author of numerous research articles and books on the social role of writing, academic genres, and textual analysis, as well as textbooks on the teaching of writing.

Publication Information: Bazerman, Charles. (2023). How I Became the Kind of Writer I Became: An Experiment in Autoethnography. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado.

Web Publication Date: April 10, 2023
Print Publication Date: TBD

ISBN: 978-1-64215-188-6 (PDF) | 978-1-64215-189-3 (ePub) | 978-1-64642-499-3 (pbk)
DOI: 10.37514/LWR-B.2023.1886

Contact Information:
Charles Bazerman:

Lifespan Writing Research

Series Editors: Ryan Dippre, University of Maine, and Talinn Phillips, Ohio University

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). It will also be available in a low-cost print edition from our publishing partner, the University Press of Colorado.

Copyright © 2023 Charles Bazerman. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 308 pages, with notes, illustrations, and bibliographies. This book will also be available in print from University Press of Colorado as well as from any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. Available in digital format for no charge on this page at the WAC Clearinghouse. You may view this book. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website.