Moran: “Computers and Composition 1983-2002” (2003)

Moran’s 2003 essay is an overview of the journal Computers and Composition from its inception in 1983 to 2002. He chronicles the ways in which hope is implemented as a force and theme throughout the journal. In particular, writers in C&C have shown hope, sometimes critically and sometimes uncritically, but as hope for certain advances or changes has been critiqued or dashed, new hopes arose. Moran argues that previous “hopes” expressed in the pages of the journal were for computers to alleviate some of the “drudgery” of writing and of teaching, for computers to improve student writing, and for technology to help rhetoric and composition to gain status with English departments and universities. As new research showed many of these hopes to be largely unfounded, Moran chronicles the change in direction for the journal in the 1990s, from an idea of “objective” researchers to a goal of educational reform (352-53). While prior hopes expressed in Computers and Composition may today seem naive or uncritical, Moran believes that “[t]hese hopes, however extreme they may now seem, became in their time powerful agents for good. I now read these antique hopes as the sign and cause of some very good and inspired teaching” (354).

Moran, Charles. “Computers and Composition 1983-2002: What We Have Hoped For.” Computers and Composition 20 (2003): 343-58.

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