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Re-imagining Community Literacy, Public Writing, Service-Learning, and the University

Edited by Laurie Cella and Jessica Restaino

Unsustainable: Re-imagining Community Literacy, Public Writing, Service-Learning, and the University, edited by Jessica Restaino and Laurie Cella, explores short-lived university/community writing projects in an effort to rethink the long-held “gold standard” of long-term sustainability in community writing work. Contributors examine their own efforts in order to provide alternate models for understanding, assessing, and enacting university/community writing projects that, for a range of reasons, fall outside of traditional practice. This collection considers what has become an increasingly unified call for praxis, where scholar-practitioners explore a specific project that fell short of theorized “best practice” sustainability in order to determine not only the nature of what remains—how and why we might find value in a community-based writing project that lacks long-term sustainability, for example—but also how or why we might rethink, redefine, and reevaluate best practice ideals in the first place. In so doing, the contributors are at once responding to what has been an increasing acknowledgment in the field that, for a variety of reasons, many community-based writing projects do not go as initially planned, and also applying—in praxis—a framework for thinking about and studying such projects. Unsustainable represents the kind of scholarly work that some of the most recognizable names in the field have been calling for over the past five years. This book affirms that unpredictability is an indispensable factor in the field, and argues that such unpredictability presents—in fact, demands—a theoretical approach that takes these practical experiences as its base. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 292Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-7256-8 • Hardback • December 2012 • $100.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-7391-7257-5 • eBook • December 2012 • $99.99 • (£70.00)
Laurie Cella is associate professor and director of the First-Year Writing Program at Shippensburg University.

Jessica Restaino is associate professor of English and director of First-Year Writing at Montclair State University.
by Laurie Cella
Part 1. Short-Lived Projects, Long-Lived Value
Chapter 1. After Tactics, What Comes Next?
by Paula Mathieu
Chapter 2. Tales from the Crawl Space: Asserting Youth Agency Within an Unsustainable Education System
by Paul Feigenbaum, Sharayna Douglas, and Maria Lovett
Chapter 3. Strategic Speculations on the Question of Value: The Role of Community Publishing in English Studies
by Stephen Parks
Chapter 4. Everyone Loved It and Still It Closed: When a Writing Program Isn't a Core Mandate
by Emily Isaacs and Ellen Kolba
Part 2. Community Literacy, Personal Contexts
Chapter 5. Sustainability Deferred: The Conflicting Logics of Career Advancement and Community Engagement
by Thomas Deans
Chapter 6. Hope and Despair, Risk and Struggle: (j)WPA Work, Service-Learning, and the Case for Baby Steps
by Michael Donnelly
Chapter 7. Mobile Sustainability: An Adjunct's Development of a Permanent Practice
by Karen Johnson
Part 3. Pedagogy
Chapter 8. Assessing Sustainability: The Class that Went Terribly Wrong
by Ellen Cushman and Lorelei Blackburn
Chapter 9. The Idea of a Literacy Dula
by Hannah Ashley
Part 4. Toward a Transnational Sustainability
Chapter 10. No More Than Fire Belongs to Prometheus: Techne, Institutions, and Interventions in Local Public Life
by Elenore Long
Chapter 11. Mastery, Failure, and Community Outreach as Stochastic Art: Lessons Learned with the Sudanese Diaspora in Phoenix
by Jennifer Clifton
by Jessica Restaino
by Eli Goldblatt
Our current economic and social climate heightens the need for the critical scholarship featured in Unsustainable. The essays extend popular theoretical understandings of community-university dynamics through sometimes unnerving, too often familiar, narratives that recount funding debacles, student/community writer crises, ethical quandaries, and the politics of intervention. In the end, teachers, writers, and researchers are invited to find spaces for engagement, knowing that, despite inevitable challenges, community literacy theory and pedagogy represents some of the most dynamic work being done in composition, rhetoric, and literacy studies today.
Tobi Jacobi