Morris Young

Position title: Charles Q. Anderson Professor of English; Director of English 100; Affiliate, Asian American Studies


6187C Helen C. White Hall

Composition and Rhetoric, Literacy Studies, Race and Rhetoric, Asian American Literature and Culture
Teaching Interests
My teaching focuses on race and rhetoric, spatial rhetorics, literacies and identities, writing program administration and assessment, literacy studies, language and literacy politics, the teaching of writing, and Asian American literature and culture
Scholarship and Current Projects
My current book project examines Asian American rhetorical space, focusing specifically on imagined, material, and textual spaces. I am also developing a project that considers Asian American rhetoric and literacy as transnational practices and processes, and beginning work on an anthology to collect primary sources of Asian American rhetoric

Degrees and Institutions

Ph.D., The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, August 1997
M.A., The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, May 1991
B.A., The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (with High Honors), May 1989

Selected Publication

Books and Editions

Special Issue. “The Transnational Movement of People and Information.”  Literacy in Composition Studies.  Co-Editor with Kate Vieira and Rebecca Lorimer Leonard.  October 2015.

Stephen Parks, Brian Bailie, Heather Christiansen, Elisabeth Miller, and Morris Young, Eds.  The Best of the Independent Rhetoric and Composition Journals 2013.  Clemson, South Carolina: Parlor Press, 2015.

Mao, LuMing and Morris Young, eds.  Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric.  Utah State University Press, 2008.

Recipient of Honorable Mention for the 2009 Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize from the Modern Language Association of America.

Minor Re/Visions: Asian American Literacy Narratives as a Rhetoric of Citizenship.  Studies in Writing and Rhetoric.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004.

Recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Book Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC).

Recipient of the 2004 W. Ross Winterowd Award for the most outstanding book in composition theory from JAC and the Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition.

Articles and Chapters

Lorimer Leonard, Rebecca, Kate Vieira, and Morris Young. “Introduction: Principles of Transnational Inquiry for Literacy in Composition Studies.” “The Transnational Movement of People and Information.”Literacy in Composition Studies.  Special Issue (October 2015): vi-xii.

Miller, Elisabeth and Morris Young. Introduction. The Best of the Independent Rhetoric and Composition Journals 2013. Eds. Stephen Parks, Brian Bailie, Heather Christiansen, Elisabeth Miller, and Morris Young. Clemson, South Carolina:  Parlor Press, 2015.

“Identity.” Keywords in Writing Studies. Eds. Paul Heilker and Peter Vandenburg. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2015. 88-93.

“Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition in the Age of Obama.” College English 76.6 (July 2014): 580-586.

“Writing the Life of Henry Obookiah: The Accumulation and Sponsorship of Literacy and Identity.” In Literacy, Economy, and Power. Eds. Julie Nelson Christoph, John Duffy, Nelson Graff, Rebecca S. Nowacek, Bryan Trabold, Eli Goldblatt.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. 2013. 61-78.

“Neither Asian nor American: The Creolization of Asian American Rhetoric.” In Literacy as Translingual Practice: Between Communities and Classrooms. Ed. Suresh Canagarajah. New York and London: Routledge,  2013. 59-69.

“Sponsoring Literacy Studies.” Literacy in Composition Studies 1.1 (2013): 10-14.

“Foreign and Domestic: Gender and the Place(s) of Asian American Rhetoric.” In Narrative, Rhetoric, Race, and Knowledge. Eds. Debra Journet and Beth A. Boehm.  Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2011. 67-82.

Recent Books

  • Young (Co-editor), Morris, and LuMing Mao, Eds. (Co-editor).“Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric.” 2009: n. pag. Print.

    MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize Honorable Mention 2009

    Despite tremendous growth in attention to and scholarship about Asian Americans and their cultural work, little research has emerged that focuses directly on Asian American rhetoric. Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric addresses this need by examining the systematic, effective use of symbolic resources by Asians and Asian Americans in social, cultural, and political contexts. Such rhetoric challenges, disrupts, and transforms the dominant European American rhetoric and it commands a sense of unity or collective identity. However, such rhetoric also embodies internal differences and even contradictions, as each specific communicative situation is informed and inflected by particularizing contexts, by different relations of asymmetry, and, most simply put, by heterogeneous voices. The essays in Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric examine broadly the histories, theories, and practices of Asian American rhetoric, situating rhetorical work across the disciplines where critical study of Asian Americans occurs: Asian American studies, rhetoric and composition, communication studies, and English studies. These essays address the development and adaptation of classical rhetorical concepts such as ethos and memory, modern concepts such as identification, and the politics of representation through a variety of media and cultural texts. As these essays collectively argue, Asian American rhetoric not only reflects and responds to existing social and cultural conditions and practices, but also interacts with and impacts such conditions and practices. To the extent it does, it becomes a rhetoric of becoming–a rhetoric that is always in the process of negotiating with, adjusting to, and yielding an imagined identity and agency that is Asian American.

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  • Through a blend of personal narrative, cultural and literary analysis, and discussions about teaching, Minor Re/Visions: Asian American Literacy Narratives as a Rhetoric of Citizenship shows how people of color use reading and writing to develop and articulate notions of citizenship. Morris Young begins with a narration of his own literacy experiences to illustrate the complicated relationship among literacy, race, and citizenship and to reveal the tensions that exist between competing beliefs and uses of literacy among those who are part of dominant American culture and those who are positioned as minorities. Influenced by the literacy narratives of other writers of color, Young theorizes an Asian American rhetoric by examining the rhetorical construction of American citizenship in works such as Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory, Victor Villanueva’s Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color, Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart, and Maxine Hong Kingston’s “Song for a Barbarian Reed Pipe” from Woman Warrior. These narratives, Young shows, tell stories of transformation through education, the acquisition of literacy, and cultural assimilation and resistance. They also offer an important revision to the American story by inserting the minor and creating a tension amid dominant discourses about literacy, race, and citizenship. Through a consideration of the literacy narratives of Hawaii, Young also provides a context for reading literacy narratives as responses to racism, linguistic discrimination, and attempts at “othering” in a particular region. As we are faced with dominant discourses that construct race and citizenship in problematic ways and as official institutions become even more powerful and prevalent in silencing minor voices, Minor Re/Visions reveals the critical need for revising minority and dominant discourses. Young’s observations and conclusions have important implications for the ways rhetoricians and compositionists read, teach, and assign literacy narratives.

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