Genre and the Invention of the Writer: Reconsidering the Place of Invention in Composition

  • genre studies, writing to engage, rhetorical theory, writing studies

By Anis S. Bawarshi

CoverIn a focused and compelling discussion, Anis Bawarshi looks to genre theory for what it can contribute to a refined understanding of invention. In describing what he calls "the genre function," he explores what is at stake for the study and teaching of writing to imagine invention as a way that writers locate themselves, via genres, within various positions and activities. He argues, in fact, that invention is a process in which writers are acted upon by genres as much as they act themselves. Such an approach naturally requires the composition scholar to re-place invention from the writer to the sites of action, the genres, in which the writer participates. This move calls for a thoroughly rhetorical view of invention, roughly in the tradition of Richard Young, Janice Lauer, and those who have followed them. Bawarshi is also keenly interested in the writing classroom. Instead of mastering notions of "good" writing, Bawarshi feels that students gain more from learning how to adapt socially and rhetorically as they move from one "genred" site of action to the next. He explores the major genres of the classroom (the syllabus, the writing prompt) as a way to introduce such an approach. He argues strongly and concretely for making the rhetorical art of adaptation central to first-year writing instruction, empowering students to navigate disciplinary and professional boundaries that await them beyond the writing classroom.

Table of Contents

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Front Matter


Chapter 1. Introduction: A Meditation on Beginnings

Chapter 2. The Genre Function

Chapter 3. Inventing the Writer in Composition Studies

Chapter 4. Constructing Desire: Genre and the Invention of Writing Subjects

Chapter 5. Sites of Invention: Genre and the Enactment of First-Year Writing

Chapter 6. Re-Placing Invention in Composition: Reflections and Implications




About the Author

Publication Information: Bawarshi, Anis S. (2003). Genre and the Invention of the Writer: Reconsidering the Place of Invention in Composition. Utah State University Press.

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