Composition Theory

The bibliography below is but a modest subset of resources related to the focus for our Fall 2022 study of critical, liberatory pedagogies, their theoretical forbears, and their uptakes, adaptations, and complications insofar as maps onto contemporary rhetoric and composition/writing studies. We will read some but not all of what is listed here. Items listed here may prove to be helpful leads for the collaborative timeline or the genealogy trace projects. ENGL5054: Composition Theory is an elective course in the MA in English and in the PhD in RW programs; for PhD students, assigned readings carry over onto preliminary exam reading lists. My hope is for this list to serve as a generative start; if you would like to see any source added to it, please write to me at and I will gladly make additions. -DM

Baker-Bell, April. (2020). Linguistic Justice (1st edition). Routledge.
Bali, Maha. (2014). Why doesn’t this feel empowering? The challenges of web-based intercultural dialogue. Teaching in Higher Education, 19(2), 208–215.
Bizzell, Patricia. (1991a). Classroom Authority and Critical Pedagogy. American Literary History, 3(4), 847–863.
Bizzell, Patricia. (1991b). Power, Authority, and Critical Pedagogy. Journal of Basic Writing, 10(2), 54–70.
Bizzell, Patricia. (2009). Composition Studies Saves the World! College English, 72(2), 174–187.
Carillo, Ellen C. (2021). The Hidden Inequities in Labor-Based Contract Grading. Utah State University Press.
Craig, Sherri. (2022). Embracing the erotic. Peitho. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from
Dewey, John. (1997). Experience And Education (Reprint edition). Free Press.
Durst, Russel K. (2006). Research in writing, postsecondary education, 1984-2003. L1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 6.
Durst, Russel K. (1999). Collision Course: Conflict, Negotiation, and Learning in College Composition. Natl Council of Teachers of English.
Ellsworth, Elizabeth. (2010). Why Doesn’t This Feel Empowering? Working Through the Repressive Myths of Critical Pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review, 59(3), 297–325.
Fazzolari, Benton. (2022). bell hooks & Paulo Freire: A Critique of Transgressive Teaching & Critical Pedagogy. Tarija Sur Publishing.
Fishman, Stephen M. (1993). Explicating Our Tacit Tradition: John Dewey and Composition Studies. College Composition and Communication, 44(3), 315–330.
Flax, Jane. (1990). Thinking Fragments: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and Postmodernism in the Contemporary West (1st edition). University of California Press.
Freire, Paulo. (2014). Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Bloomsbury Academic.
Freire, Paulo. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum.
Giroux, Henry A. (2012). Higher Education Under Siege: Rethinking the Politics of Critical Pedagogy. Counterpoints, 422, 327–341.
Giroux, Henry A. (2012). Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Bearing Witness. Counterpoints, 400, 116–123.
Giroux, Henry A. (2013). Memories of Hope in the Age of Disposability. JAC, 33(1/2), 65–84.
Giroux, Henry A. (2020). On Critical Pedagogy (2nd edition). Bloomsbury Academic.
Gore, Jennifer. (1992). The Struggle For Pedagogies. Routledge.
Gorzelsky, Gwen. (2002). Ghosts: Liberal Education and Negotiated Authority. College English, 64(3), 302–325.
Gorzelsky, Gwen. (2009). Working Boundaries: From Student Resistance to Student Agency. College Composition and Communication, 61(1), 64–84.
Gorzelsky, Gwen. (2013). Experiential Knowledge: How Literacy Practices Seek to Mediate Personal and Systemic Change. College English, 75(4), 398–419.
Greco, Sophia. (n.d.). Embracing a Pedagogy of Love and Grief. Peitho. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from
hooks, bell. (1994). Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. Routledge.
hooks, bell. (2003). Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope (1st edition). Routledge.
Horton, Myles, & Freire, Paulo. (1990). We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change (B. Bell, J. Gaventa, & J. Peters, Eds.; Reprint edition). Temple University Press.
Inoue, Asao B. (2015). Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future. Parlor Press.
Inoue, Asao B. (2019). Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the Compassionate Writing Classroom (1st edition). CSU Open Press.
Inoue, Asao B., & Poe, Mya. (Eds.). (2012). Race and Writing Assessment (First printing edition). Peter Lang.
Jacobs, Dale. (2005). What’s Hope Got to Do With It? Toward a Theory of Hope and Pedagogy. JAC, 25(4), 783–802.
Jacobs, Dale. (2008). The Audacity of Hospitality. JAC, 28(3/4), 563–581.
Kinloch, Valerie F. (2005). Revisiting the Promise of “Students’ Right to Their Own Language”: Pedagogical Strategies. College Composition and Communication, 57(1), 83–113.
Kohn, Alfie. (2020). Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (S. D. Blum, Ed.; 1st edition). West Virginia University Press.
Kynard, Carmen. (2007). “I Want to Be African”: In Search of a Black Radical Tradition/African-American-Vernacularized Paradigm for “Students’ Right to Their Own Language,” Critical Literacy, and “Class Politics.” College English, 69(4), 360–390.
Kynard, Carmen. (2014). Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacies Studies. State University of New York Press.
Kynard, Carmen. (2016). This Bridge: The Black Feminist Compositionist’s Guide to the Colonial and Imperial Violence of Schooling Today. Feminist Teacher, 26(2–3), 126–141.
Lotier, Kristopher M. (2017). On Not Following Freire: Foucault and the Critique of Human Capital. Pedagogy, 17(2), 151–175.
Peitho Volume 24 Issue 2, Winter 2022 – CFSHRC. (2022). Retrieved August 18, 2022, from
Perryman-Clark, Staci M. (2013). African American Language, Rhetoric, and Students’ Writing: New Directions for SRTOL. College Composition and Communication, 64(3), 469–495.
Roskelly, Hephzibah (2022). A Story of bell hooks. Peitho. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from
Seitz, David. (2004). Who Can Afford Critical Consciousness?: Practicing A Pedagogy Of Humility (New ed. edition). Hampton Press.
Shor, Ira. (1986). Pedagogy for Liberation, A: Dialogues on Transforming Education. Praeger.
Shor, Ira. (1987). Critical Teaching and Everyday Life (New edition). University of Chicago Press.
Shor, Ira. (1992). Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change (1st edition). University of Chicago Press.
Shor, Ira. (2009). Critical Pedagogy Is Too Big to Fail. Journal of Basic Writing, 28(2), 6–27.
Shor, Ira. (2014). When Students Have Power: Negotiating Authority in a Critical Pedagogy. University of Chicago Press.
Smitherman, Geneva. (1995). “Students’ Right to Their Own Language”: A Retrospective. The English Journal, 84(1), 21–27.
Wible, Scott. (2006). Pedagogies of the “Students’ Right” Era: The Language Curriculum Research Group’s Project for Linguistic Diversity. College Composition and Communication, 57(3), 442–478.
Young, Vershawn A. (2007). Your Average Nigga: Performing Race, Literacy, and Masculinity. Wayne State University Press.
Young, Vershawn A., Barrett, Rusty, & Young-Rivera, Y'Shanda. (2018). Other People’s English: Code-Meshing, Code-Switching, and African American Literacy (Revised and Updated ed. edition). Parlor Press.
Young, Vershawn A., & Martinez, Aja Y. (2011). Code-Meshing as World English: Pedagogy, Policy, Performance. National Council of Teachers of English.

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
Director of the University Writing Program
Department of English
Virginia Tech
Office: 315 Shanks Hall
Fall 2022 Office Hours: T, 1-3:30
Phone: +1-734-985-0485