And then they started tearing doors down : a look at chora in the writing center

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


This thesis examines the roles of the writing center through the rhetorical idea of chora, or space. There is still much debate amongst writing center scholars as to what exactly a writing center is, and because of this no real definition of the writing center space has been created. Rather than try to create my own definition, I instead use the idea of chora to examine the space of the writing center in terms of these other spaces in an attempt to see ways in which various definitions of the space interact and sometimes conflict with each other. Because of the flexible nature of chora, I examine the space of the writing center not only in terms of its physical manifestations, but also through its metaphorical spatial relationships within the university setting as well as the pedagogical space it can inhabit as a true center for writing. In the process of looking at the chora of writing centers, I discovered several threads that ran through many definitions of the writing center space. First, writing centers are largely identified as "marginalized" spaces--or spaces that don't seem to fit in anywhere else in the university setting. However, unlike many in the writing center field, I identify the strengths that are inherent in the marginalized space. Second, because of the marginalized space in the institution, writing centers are prime locations for multimodal writing pedagogies. There the works of several compositional theorists, I identify multimodal moves that translate easily into the writing center space. Finally, I look at ways in which the multimodal pedagogies can be better reflected in the physical space of writing centers. This includes looking at several different kinds of spaces and their efforts that can be adapted moving towards multimodal pedagogies in writing centers.




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