Sarah Allen’s Beyond Argument: Essaying as a Practice of (Ex)Change is required reading for anyone who teaches composition—perhaps especially if rhetoric and composition is not your home discipline. Allen urges readers to reevaluate how we teach and value arguments. Although written a few years ago, Allen’s call “to teach and to practice a different notion of subjectivity” could not be more timely. She explains, “We need to make [subjectivity], to cultivate it. To my mind, the way to cultivate it is through privileging other kinds of writing—kinds of writing in which writers would be empowered to practice different ways of engaging with ideas, with texts, with each other” (7). To this end, Allen suggests a turn toward what is often seen as a polar opposite of the argumentative essay: the personal essay. In her pro–personal essay efforts, Allen traces the shortcomings of the argumentative essay taught in many composition classes...

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