Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title



While there is strong support within the field of composition studies for requiring two writing-intensive general education courses, there is, as others have noted (Lindemann 1993; Richardson 2004; Steinberg 1995), little agreement as to what the second course ought to focus on. Scholars have argued for a research-intensive course in students' major area of study (see McLeod et al. 2001), or a focus on digital media (Yancey 2004). These options share the perspective that writing, though often housed in English (literature) departments, is not the exclusive province of English departments and literature faculty. As the discipline of composition and rhetoric has gained in prominence, many are asking if there is any good reason to require university students to meet general education writing requirements through writing about literature, despite significant scholarship arguing for teaching writing through literary study (Tate 1993; Elbow 2002; Richardson 2004; McCrimmon 2006);. In this article I offer for the value of teaching writing about literature through a cultural studies approach on practical grounds. If the goal is to provide multiple opportunities for process-writing instruction, composition faculty working within English departments are well advised to put aside their personal, professional, and even theoretical arguments against literary studies and English departments to consider -- as a practical measure -- who at our universities is actually in the best position to teach writing well.

Journal ISSN / Book ISBN


Published Citation

Isaacs, Emily. 2009. “Teaching General Education Writing: Is There a Place for Literature?” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 9 (1): 97–120.