Open Lecture - The College Research Paper: A Captivity Narrative with Bruce Ballenger
Author: Challenge & LINK Programs
Posted: February 20, 2012


The PSU English Department and the Challenge Program are pleased to welcome Bruce Ballenger, Professor of English at Boise State, to campus, and invite you to an open lecture: 

The College Research Paper:  A Captivity Narrative

For a hundred years, the research paper has been a fixture in courses across the curriculum, and no genre of student writing has generated more despair.  There are many reasons for this.  One that rarely gets much attention is the research paper's history, and especially the assumptions about the purposes of the assignment that were rarely challenged or theorized.  The story of the research paper assignment, which begins just after the turn of the last century, is a narrative that reveals not only the history of a troubled genre and our struggles to teach it.  It's a story that leads us to a different way of thinking about student research writing altogether.  How can we make the assignment more meaningful?  In an age of information overload, what might the contemporary research paper look like if freed from its own history? 

March 15 
Smith Memorial Student Union (SMSU) 294

Reception to follow 

Please RSVP to or 503.725.3430 by March 1.


About Bruce Ballenger. Dr. Bruce Ballenger is one of a small cadre of nationally known truly inspiring teachers. Ballenger is a Professor of English and former department Chair at Boise State University specializing in composition theory and creative nonfiction. He is the author of seven books, including best-selling textbooks, The Curious WriterThe Curious Researcher, and his most recent, Crafting Truth: Short Studies in Creative Nonfiction. Ballenger is brilliant at devising techniques like "the butcher block paper" exercise, with others appearing as staples in writing programs across the country.  PSU uses his book for its WR 222 course in both the English department and in writing courses taught at area high schools through PSU's dual credit program, Challenge. Teachers and mentors in University Studies are also familiar with his work. Ballenger's workshops and lectures leave teachers reinvigorated and ready to return to their classrooms with fresh insights and new strategies.