Digital Archiving Resources

Claiming the Archive for Rhetoric and Composition


Claiming the Archive for Rhetoric and Composition




Susan Wells’ "Claiming the Archive for Rhetoric and Composition" is broken into three sections where she outlines the “gifts” of “resistance,” “freedom,” and “possibility” that digital archiving technology affords composition and rhetoric students, and scholars. Her concept of resistance involves the tendency for archives to complicate, and challenge a researchers’ hypotheses forcing them to critically engage the(ir own) process of inquiry. She continues by offering the gift of “freedom,” where she argues that the proliferation of resources and archives pertaining to the humanities, and composition and rhetoric in particular serve as justification of the field, while challenging traditional conceptions of “text” and “scholarly” work. She defines the gift of “possibility” by suggesting that archives can, and should be used to review and revise the substance, and political positioning of composition and rhetoric departments in the face of reduced budgets, and the dismissal of the field as merely a service to other “legitimate” scholarly subjects. She further posits that archives allow for the emergence of new and important dialogistic relationships, seeing archives as a place for the voices of “others” to be discovered, studied, and engaged. She uses Jacqueline Jones Royster’s Traces of a Stream as an example of an archive of “other” voices, the study of which she suggests should lead to new perspectives of our own voices, and situations.


Wells, Susan




Foley, Christopher




ISBN-13: 978-0809324330

Bibliographic Citation

Wells, Susan. "Claiming the Archive for Rhetoric and Composition." In Rhetoric and Composition as Intellectual Work, 55-64. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2002.


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Wells, Susan, “Claiming the Archive for Rhetoric and Composition,” Digital Archiving Resources, accessed May 22, 2018,