research

assignments4

 

Whether in my in-process publications, conference presentations or my dissertation, my research is invested in the relationships of the writing classroom: relationships between writing assignments and students, between teachers and students, and between students, their writing, and their understanding of what’s possible. I have studied these relationships from a variety of research areas, including: feminist pedagogy, feminist composition and rhetoric, rhetorical genre studies, race and whiteness studies, research writing, composition pedagogies and histories, and Citation Project and plagiarism research.

Research Projects

Dissertation

“The Epistemologies They Carry: An Investigation of Feminist Writing Assignments”

While pedagogy is a broad reaching term that encompasses classroom relationships in addition to classroom practices and curriculum, I have studied the writing assignment as one textual site in which feminist pedagogy and epistemological understandings are conveyed in ways that shape classroom interactions. In my dissertation, “The Epistemologies They Carry: An Investigation of Feminist Writing Assignments,” I analyze a corpus of writing assignments by feminist teachers, which includes 73 assignments from 30 courses, in order to understand the visibility of feminist epistemologies. Through grounded theory coding of the assignments, I found that, despite the theoretical commitment of feminist scholars, 38% of the assignments did not reflect feminist epistemologies. The supporting data, teacher interviews and an autoethnographic account of my own teaching, confirm that while feminist pedagogy theoretically and sometimes abstractly informs curricular choices, teachers are less certain about how to explicitly translate their pedagogies into the texts of writing assignments or how they are already doing so. However, the assignments surveyed that did reflect feminist epistemologies (whether the content was feminist or not) highlight a variety of ways that assignment texts have the potential to be transformative—by offering students new understandings of their own roles and positions as writers and students, by complicating perspectives on the aims of the assignment or work of the class, by challenging students to view the world in new, slanted, or different perspectives, and by re-imagining what is possible in the world and in writing. Based on these findings, I argue for more attention to the ways in which our assignments visibly reflect our pedagogies. Towards this end, I offer a heuristic framework for building  pedagogically-purposeful assignments.

 

For more details on my dissertation, see:

An Infographic of my Research
Longer Dissertation Abstract, PDF

 

Publications in Progress
Navickas, Kate. “Teaching for Liberation: Lessons from Minnie Bruce Pratt.”

[Abstract coming soon]

 

Watson, Missy & Kate Navickas. “Writing Assignment Prompts, Curricular Outcomes, and Western Ideology: Other Plagiarism Culprits.” Composition Forum. (Under Review)

Drawing from scholarship on authorship and plagiarism, Citation Project research, and analysis of teaching practices and curricular materials, this essay seeks to contribute to composition pedagogy by considering practical and sustainable approaches to teaching responsible source-use. Utilizing Citation Project findings that suggest that students are currently using sources superficially and procedurally, we argue for teaching students to critically engage with the ideologies supporting academic source-use. We begin by situating our work within the scholarship on authorship and plagiarism and theorizing distinctions between procedural and ideological treatments of sources. Then, we look at a revised set of curricular objectives as a programmatic site that can constrain or encourage responsible approaches to source-use. To exemplify our approach to teaching source-use as ideological, we look to one writing assignment that we argue accomplishes a more ideological approach by challenging students to critically engage with and rhetorically analyze uses of evidence, sources, and methods. We advocate for programmatic objectives and writing assignments that support a more complex and ideological treatment of source-use that moves beyond procedural ones.