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Elizabeth Burmester

Director, Rhetoric and Composition, and Associate Professor

Ph.D. University of Illinois, Chicago


History of Rhetoric and Writing Center Studies


Dr. Burmester is currently at work on a monograph exploring the discursive formation and professionalization of Rhetoric and Composition as a field, specifically looking at how the field has represented its identity and areas of expertise in the first 100-years of its graduate programs. This work is titled Off the Pages: Analyzing the Printed History and Identity of the First Century of Graduate Pedagogy in Rhetoric and Composition, 1899-1999. She also has two other book projects underway. Between the Café and the Studio: Intellectual Sites of Writing Center History and Practices, examines the intellectual history and philosophy of writing center work, focusing on the role of conversation as teaching, and looking at social and public sites of writing instruction. The other, titled Only in Hollywood Pedagogy, argues for using films that represent teaching as texts for teacher education and professionalization. She is also working on an article on the literary history of tutoring.


“Chapter One: Mythic and Legendary Origins of Writing Contests: Competitions of Intellect in Greek and Roman History, Rhetoric, and Literature,” In Contest(ed) Writing: Reconceptualizing Literacy Competitions, Edited by Mary Lamb, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2012)

Rev. of The Writing Center Director’s Resource Book, edited by Christina Murphy and Byron Stay, Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006. In Composition Studies 36.1 (Spring 2008): 106-109.

“Drinking Coffee with Peitho: A History of Classical Rhetoric, Conversation, and Public Spaces at the Center of Writing Center Theory.” In Writing At the Center: Proceedings of the 2004 Thomas R. Watson Conference. Ed. Carol Mattingly, Jo Ann Griffin, and Michelle Eodice. General Editor: Byron Stay. Emmitsburg, MD: IWCA Press, 2007. 114-40. (CD-ROM) [ISBN 0-9648067-6-2]

“Discovering the Legacy of Rhetoric in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Colleges: Connecting Institutional and Individual Histories Across Geographies.” South Atlantic Review, 71.4 (Fall 2006): 6-25.

“Classical Rhetoric and Nineteenth-Century American Clubwomen: Parallels of Feminist Rhetorics, Civic Reform, and Spiritual Agendas.” In Rhetorical Agendas: Political, Ethical, Spiritual. Ed. Patricia Bizzell. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers, 2006. 309-316. [ISBN 0-8058-5311-1]

“New Scripts for Rhetorical Education: Alternative Learning Environments and the Master/Apprentice Model.” With James J. Sosnoski. In Culture Shock and the Practice of Profession: Training the Next Wave in Rhetoric and Composition. Ed. Virginia Anderson and Susan Romano. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2005. 325-45. [ISBN 1-57273-578-3]