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Invention through Textual Reuse: Toward Pedagogies of Critical-Creative Tinkering

Koupf, Danielle (2014) Invention through Textual Reuse: Toward Pedagogies of Critical-Creative Tinkering. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This project investigates the many ways in which writers reuse preexisting texts in new writing. I introduce the umbrella term textual reuse to identify any practice of incorporating “old” text in a “new” composition. With this broad term, I expand and enrich the field of derivative writing beyond the two most prominent practices discussed in composition studies: remix and plagiarism. More than affirming that reuse is valuable or interesting altogether, I indicate what makes some instances of reuse more inventive than others. I ask how we can both recognize and produce inventive works of reuse. To investigate these questions, I examine a range of example texts, from sentence-level reuse in poetry and writing exercises, to larger-scale compilation in textual collections such as miscellanies and anthologies. In drawing on many instructional texts from the eighteenth century to today, I demonstrate how textual reuse has contributed to the teaching of reading and writing throughout the history of modern English studies and propose how it might continue to do so. I extract from these materials some key strategies for inventive reuse, including rearrangement, combination, substitution, addition, deletion, and reformatting.

These strategies form the foundation for a pedagogical practice that I call critical-creative tinkering, a mode of engaging with a text by rewriting it. I argue that manipulating a source text in this way can prompt critical insight into it while also generating new writing, making it a broadly creative activity. Critical-creative tinkering is a writing pedagogy that also teaches active close reading and thus appeals broadly to the teaching of reading and writing. It is a practice with consequences for the text being reused and revised, as well as for the tinkerer, who gains facility with language and an enhanced understanding of how texts work. I theorize and advocate for critical-creative tinkering by explicating successful examples from literary works, the Internet and popular culture, professional writing, and student writing. I argue that tinkering can help to bridge courses across the different branches of English studies and outline classroom and curricular conditions that will support its wide integration.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Koupf, Danielledrk25@pitt.eduDRK25
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCarr, Stephenscarr@pitt.eduSCARR
Committee MemberBialostosky, Don Hdhb2@pitt.eduDHB2
Committee MemberCarr, Jeanjcarr@pitt.eduJCARR
Committee MemberLyne, Johnjlyne@pitt.eduJLYNE
Date: 23 September 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 May 2014
Approval Date: 23 September 2014
Submission Date: 9 June 2014
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 342
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: composition, compilation, English studies, arrangement, professional writing, writing studies
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2014 14:14
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 05:15


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