This collection introduces the reader to the ideas that have shaped writing center theory and practice. The essays have been selected not only for the insight they offer into issues but also for their contributions to writing center scholarship. These papers help to chart the legitimation of writing centers by providing both a history and an examination of the philosophies, praxis, and politics that have defined this emerging field. They demonstrate the ways a clearer profile of the discipline has emerged from the research and reflection of writers, like those represented here.
This volume charts the emergence of writing centers and the growing recognition of their contributions, roles, and importance. As a nascent discipline, writing centers reflect the concerns with marginality and with finding a respected place in the academy that characterize any new field of academic inquiry, practice, and research. Concomitantly, professionals in these fields seek standing within the academy and a way of defining and validating their contributions to the educational process.
Contemporary writing center theorists look to interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary investigations to interpret the work they do and to clarify their aims to the academy at large. Their work employs a variety of philosophical perspectives -- ranging from sociolinguistics to psychoanalytic theory -- to show the complex nature and potential of writing center interactions. The idea has now become the multidimensional realities of the writing center within the academy and within society as a whole. What its role will be in future redefinitions of the educational process, how that role will be negotiated and evaluated, and how professionals will shape educational values will constitute the future landmark directions and essays on writing center theory and practice.