Situating Writing Processes

  • history of writing, composition studies, reform, Teaching strategies, writing to engage, writing to learn, Pedagogy

By Hannah J. Rule
Copy edited by Don Donahue. Designed by Mike Palmquist. Cover image by Justin Lincoln.

CoverWhat should it mean today to "teach writing as a process"? In Situating Writing Processes, Hannah J. Rule takes stock of this familiar commonplace in composition studies, arguing for a renewed understanding of process that emphasizes situatedness. To situate processes is to physically locate them: to observe the infinite ways they are shaped by particular bodies and affects, environments and spaces, others near and distant, and various tools or objects. When we call attention to the physical, material, and located dimensions of processes, we foreground the differences, contingencies, and lived experiences of composing. Doing so is critical, Rule argues, to finally letting go of discrete skills and instead teaching writing as experience in seeing and responding to ranging constraints immediate and distant, material and social. Situating processes ultimately emphasizes vulnerability: how all writing involves risk, uncertainty, and the possibility of failure, as processes are susceptible to the participation and control of forces on ranging scales and always in excess of the writer alone. Accounting for context, difference, and improvisation, Situating Writing Processes helps writing teachers and scholars freshly reimagine the histories and potential of an enduring concept.

Table of Contents

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Front Matter


Introduction. Seeing Writing Processes

Chapter 1. "Deep in the Discipline's Bones"—Latent Histories of Situated Processes

Chapter 2. Larger Forces or Individual Processes—Situatedness and Scale across Post/Process Theories

Chapter 3. Writing Moves—Theorizing/Picturing Situated Processes

Chapter 4. Writers as Situated Process Researchers

Chapter 5. Process as Improv

Conclusion. Situating Writing Processes

Works Cited

About the Author

Hannah J. Rule is Assistant Professor of English in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of South Carolina. In both her research and teaching, Rule asks questions related to writing pedagogies, writing process histories and theories, and the embodied and material dimensions of composing. Her scholarship appears in a range of venues including College Composition and Communication, Composition Studies, and Composition Forum.

Publication Information: Rule, Hannhan J. (2019). Situating Writing Processes. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado.

Web Publication Date: August 12, 2019.
Print Publication Date: April 2020.

ISBN: 978-1-64215-019-3 (PDF) | 978-1-64215-020-9 (ePub) | 978-1-60732-923-7 (pbk.)
DOI: 10.37514/PER-B.2019.0193

Contact Information:
Hannah J. Rule:


Review by Turnip Van Dyke in Enculturation: a journal of rhetoric, writing, and culture, September 14, 2020.

Review by Jeremy Lavine in Composition Forum, Spring 2021.

Perspectives on Writing

Series Editors: Susan H. McLeod, University of California, Santa Barbara; Rich Rice, Texas Tech University

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

Copyright © 2019 Hannah J. Rule. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 182 pages, with illustrations and bibliographies. This book is 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.