Annotated Bibliography: Speech-Act Theory and Composition Studies

My annotated bibliography surveys composition studies scholarship on speech-act theory. Through this assignment, I will think through how J.L. Austin’s formulations can help students understand language as performative and also inform the ways that we teach composition. Composition studies utilized speech-act theory primarily during the 1970s, late 1980s, and early 1990s.[1] Mary Lynch Kennedy notes that scholars have utilized speech-act theory to develop pedagogical tools, including Kim B. Lovejoy in the list below.[2] Edith H. Babin and Kimberly Harrison suggest that “speech act theory can be used in discussions of the writing process, audience awareness, voice, and text interpretation.”[3] Speech-act theory has broad implications for how we understand speech, language, and writing in general: it makes us aware of the coercive intentions of language, allows us to envision speech as an act, and thus opens our eyes to the performative nature of all language, especially writing.

Bibliography entries

    1. Marilyn M. Cooper, “The Ecology of Writing,” College English 48.4 (April 1986): 364-75.
    2. Kim B. Lovejoy, “The Gricean Model: A Revising Rubric,” Journal of Teaching Writing 6.1 (Spring 1987): 9-18.
    3. Reed Way Dasenbrock, “J.L. Austin and the Articulation of a New Rhetoric,” College Composition and Communication 38.3 (Oct. 1987): 291-305.

Group bibliography:


[1] Edith H. Babin and Kimberly Harrison, Contemporary Composition Studies: A Guide to Theorists and Terms (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999), 245.
[2] Mary Lynch Kennedy, Theorizing Composition: A Critical Sourcebook of Theory and Scholarship in Contemporary Composition Studies (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2006), 308.
[3] Babin and Harrison, 245.

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