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Tactics of Hope

The Public Turn in English Composition

By Paula Mathieu

Institutions of higher learning seem traditionally isolated from the realities of the neighborhoods around them. But increasingly, colleges and universities have thrown open their gates and made a public turn toward school-community partnerships, bringing literacy activities to the streets and service-learning opportunities to faculty, staff, and student volunteers.

Paula Mathieu is one such faculty volunteer, and in Tactics of Hope she examines the workings behind the public turn in composition studies at several institutions. Recounting various types of initiatives, she describes how these...

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Institutions of higher learning seem traditionally isolated from the realities of the neighborhoods around them. But increasingly, colleges and universities have thrown open their gates and made a public turn toward school-community partnerships, bringing literacy activities to the streets and service-learning opportunities to faculty, staff, and student volunteers.

Paula Mathieu is one such faculty volunteer, and in Tactics of Hope she examines the workings behind the public turn in composition studies at several institutions. Recounting various types of initiatives, she describes how these ideas for outreach were received by both local residents and members of the campus, and she outlines how each side worked together to relieve town-gown tensions. More important, Mathieu examines why a tactical, not strategic, approach to outreach provides the most flexibility for all involved and creates the best opportunities for real learning and deeper interaction between volunteers and their community.

Outside the dormitories, the classrooms, and the gates of every university live people who can benefit from public-academic partnerships. And on the inside of those very same structures are people who can benefit equally. Read Tactics of Hope and discover ideas and tactics for tapping the transformative power of learning on and from the streets.

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