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CUNYThe Journal of Basic Writing is a national refereed print journal founded in 1975 by Mina Shaughnessy, who served as the journal's first editor. JBW is published twice a year with support from the Office of Academic Affairs of the City University of New York. Basic writing, a contested term since its initial use by Shaughnessy in the 1970s, refers to the field concerned with teaching writing to students not yet deemed ready for first-year composition. Originally, these students were part of the wave of open admissions students who poured into universities as a result of the social unrest of the 1960s and the resulting reforms. Though social and political realities have changed dramatically since then, the presence of "basic writers" in colleges and universities—and the debates over how best to serve them—have remained.

JBW publishes articles related to basic and second-language writing using a variety of approaches: speculative discussions that venture fresh interpretations; essays that draw heavily on student writing as supportive evidence for new observations; research reports written in non-technical language that offer observations previously unknown or unsubstantiated; and collaborative writings that provocatively debate more than one side of a critical controversy.

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Notes: Issues published since 2003 are also available via the ERIC database (available on the web) and EBSCO's Communication and Mass Media Complete database (available through many libraries) as well as on JSTOR (exclusive of the last two years). For subscription inquiries or updates, contact:

Journal of Basic Writing
P.O. Box 465
Hanover, PA 17331
Phone: (717) 632-3535
Fax: (717)633-8920

About the Archiving Process: The PDF files available on this site for volumes 1 through 22 were scanned as 600 pixels per inch color images. They were then converted to grayscale where appropriate (i.e., excluding covers) and the text was recognized. The files were optimized for web viewing by converting them to a resolution of 200 pixels per inch. Archival copies are saved at 600 pixels per inch. The use of grayscale (instead of the more commonly used black and white format) results in larger images, but the quality of the documents is higher.

The PDF files for more recent issues have been generated directly from the InDesign files. 

Embargo Period: Each volume of the journal is made available on this site following a one -year embargo period. 

View the JBW Archives

The Clearinghouse and JBW are pleased to offer special thanks to Ann Schwalm, Mark Shelstad, and Clarissa Trapp of the Colorado State University Libraries and to Vince Darcangelo of the Colorado State University Testing Center for their work scanning early issues of the JBW archives. We also offer our appreciation to Bonne August, Jim Cody, Theresa Enos, Karen Uehling, Shirley Rose, and Jessica Schreyer for their willingness to contribute their personal copies of the journal to this project.

The Journal of Basic Writing is Copyrighted © 1976-2020 by City University of New York.