This dissertation is accessible only to the Illinois State University community.

  • Off-Campus ISU Users: To download this item, click the "Off-Campus Download" button below. You will be prompted to log in with your ISU ULID and password.
  • Non-ISU Users: Contact your library to request this item through interlibrary loan.

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English: English Studies

First Advisor

K. Aaron Smith


The anti-grammar movement within composition studies took hold after a failed attempt during the mid-twentieth century to integrate linguistically-based grammar instruction into the curriculum. While this movement has been celebrated as a theoretical turning point within the field, the abandonment of prescriptivist sentence-level pedagogies also led to the dismissal of sentence-level instruction and training in general with profound consequences for the field as a whole. In this dissertation, I will map the development of the anti-grammar movement beginning with the emergence of post-secondary composition instruction through more recent calls for linguistically-informed grammar instruction in order to show how this anti-grammar movement has also worked to stigmatize any kind of grammar instruction and, as a result, has led to the adoption of ineffective methods and to a widespread lack of structural knowledge that has delayed the application of sociolinguistically-informed pedagogies and diminished support for linguistically-informed resolutions and position statements by the National Council of Teachers of English and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. I will then show how more recent efforts to reintegrate sentence-level instruction through the publication of a new generation of grammar resources and the promotion of linguistically-based pedagogies have also been significantly constrained by the anti-grammar tradition and by prescriptivist legacy, often resulting in pedagogical practices that are as discriminatory as the prescriptivist tradition and maintain existing systems of domination. Finally, I will illustrate how the anti-grammar movement has promoted a (raced and classed) binary thinking about language to the detriment of all students and argue for the field-wide inclusion of a variationist approach to grammar


Imported from ProQuest Lovelass_ilstu_0092E_10171.pdf


Page Count


Off-Campus Download