The Politics of the Personal Narrative Essay (Deadline 9-30)

This panel will explore the potential (and threshold) of the personal narrative essay in our first-year writing courses. As opposed to other writing assignments (the research paper, the persuasive essay) that appear more geared toward developing transferable skills, the personal narrative is often considered, to borrow from Elizabeth Wardle, a “mutt genre,” meaning a genre important only in first-year writing courses to which they are also exclusive. However, this panel carefully considers how the personal narrative prompts and encourages such skills as rhetorical maneuvering, genre awareness, and metacognition, which many Transfer Studies scholars (see for instance: Devitt [2007]; Nowacek [2011]; or Russell [2002]) have often prioritized.

We will discuss but by no means limit ourselves to the following questions: how do we as writing instructors combat the notion that the personal narrative essay is nothing more than standard first-year “fluff” that all students simply “b.s” for the sake of a grade? (Bergmann and Zapernik 125). How might we use the personal narrative to foster transferable skills that will assist students in their future courses of study and their eventual professional fields? 

Submissions of no more than 200 words should be sent to Francisco.Delgado@stonybrook.edu by September 30, 2016. All submissions should include the scholar’s name, school affiliation, and specify what (if any) A/V equipment will be needed. 

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