David R. Russell

Professor of English
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011
(515) 294-4724 Fax: (515) 294-6814

Thanks for finding me. My research and teaching are in academic writing. I study (see below) writing in the academic disciplines, including computer-supported learning across the curriculum and portfolio assessment. I also study international writing instruction, and the history of writing instruction--all from the perspective of cultural-historical activity theory and genre systems theory. Recently I have been creating and researching online multi-media case studies as environments for writing to learn.

I teach in the ISU Ph.D. programs in Rhetoric and Professional Communication and Applied Lingistics and Technology, most recently Modern Rhetorical Theory and Teaching Writing Online. I am editor of Journal of Business and Technical Communication (JBTC). And I also do WAC/WiD/CAC consulting and workshops.

Résumé (complete, in pdf format)


Writing in the Academic Disciplines, 1870-1990: A Curricular History 2nd edition examines the history of American writing instruction outside of composition courses

Writing Selves/Writing Society. Edited by Charles Bazerman and David
Russell. A free online book on writing and activity.

Writing and Learning in Cross-National Perspective: Transitions from Secondary to Higher Education. Foster, David, and Russell, David, eds.

Landmarks Essays in Writing Across the Curriculum. Bazerman, Charles, and Russell, David, eds.

Selected Papers

Papers are all preprints unless indicated. Please check published version before citing.

Writing in the Academic Disciplines

Where do the naturalistic studies of WAC/WID point? A research review.” WAC for the new millennium: Strategies for continuing writing-across-the-curriculum programs : Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2001. 259–98.

Rethinking Genre in School and Society: An Activity Theory Analysis, Written Communication 14 (1997): 504-554..(pdf version with diagrams)

Activity Theory and Its Implications for Writing Instruction. In Reconceiving Writing, Rethinking Writing Instruction. Ed. Joseph Petraglia. (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum,1995): 51-78.

'Big Picture People Rarely Become Historians': Genre Systems and the Contradictions of General Education. With Arturo Yañez.In Writing Selves/Writing Society. 2003 (online)

"'The World is Too Messy': The Challenge of Historical Literacy in a General-Education Course." With Arturo Yañez. Composition(s) in the New Liberal Arts. Eds. Joanna Castner Post and James A. Inman. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2009.

Teoria de la Actividad Histórico-Cultural Vygotskiana y la Teoria del Sistema de Géneros: Una Sintesis sobra la Escritura en la Education Formal y la Escritura en otras Prácticas Sociales. (pdf) With Arturo Yañez. Entre Lenguas 8.1 (2002-2003): 67-81.

The Limits of the Apprenticeship Models in WAC/WID Research, Conference of College Composition and Communication, 1998.

Computer-Supported Learning Across the Curriculum

Looking Beyond the Interface: Activity Theory and Distributed Learning. In Distributed Learning: Social and Cultural Approaches to Practice. Ed. Mary Lea and Kathy Nicoll. London: Routledge, 2001. 64-82.

Dave, Anish, and David R. Russell. "Drafting and Revision Using Word Processing by Undergraduate Student Writers: Changing Conceptions and Practices.Research in the Teaching of English (May 2010). (pdf)

Russell, David, and Dave Fisher. “Online, multimedia case studies for professional education: Revisioning concepts of genre recognition.” In Theories of Genre and the Internet. Giltrow, J., & Stein, D. (Eds.). 163-191. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 2010. (rtf)

"Writing in Multiple Contexts: Vygotskian CHAT Meets the Phenomenology of Genre." In Traditions of Writing Research. Ed. Charles Bazerman et al. 353-364. New York: Routledge, 2010. (Word)

Fisher, David, Russell, David, Williams, Joseph, and Dan Fisher. "Space, Time, and Transfer in Virtual Case Environments (VCEs)." Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, Pedagogy 12.2 (January 2008). (online)

Portfolo Assessment

"The Kind-ness of Genre: An Activity Theory Analysis of High School Teachers' Perception of Genre in Portfolio Assessment Across the Curriculum." The Rhetoric and Ideology of Genre: Strategies for Stability and Change. Ed. Richard Coe, Lorelei Lingard, and Tatiana Teslenko. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton, 2002. 225-242.

"Portfolios Across the Curriculum: Whole School Assessment in Kentucky" (with Lizabeth Berryman). English Journal 90 (2001): 76-84.

"Growing Together: Curricular and Professional Development Through Collaborative Portfolio Assessment." with Starr Lewis and Anella Riggs. English Leadership Quarterly 18 (1996): 13-18.

International Writing Instruction

Re-Articulating Articulation. In Writing and Learning in Cross-National Perspective: Transitions from Secondary to Higher Education.

Collaborative Portfolio Assessment in the English Secondary School System. Clearing House 68 (March/April1995): 244-47.

Russell, David R., Mary Lea Jan Parker, Brian Street, and Tiane Donahue, “Exploring Notions of Genre in "Academic Literacies" and "Writing Across the Curriculum": Approaches Across Countries and Contexts.” (pdf) In Genre in a Changing World. Perspectives on Writing. Ed. Bazerman, Charles, Bonini, Adair, and Figueiredo, Débora. Fort Collins, Colorado: The WAC Clearinghouse and Parlor Press, 2009. (free online)

History of Writing Instruction in Education

"Romantics on Rhetoric: Liberal Culture and the Abolition of Composition Courses." Rhetoric Review 6 (1988): 132-148. (pdf)

"Institutionalizing English: Rhetoric on the Boundaries" In Disciplining English: Alternative Histories, Critical Perspectives. Ed. David Shumway and Craig Dionne. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002. 39-58.

"Composition's History." Research on Composition, 1983-2003, Ed. Peter Smagorinsky. Urbana, IL: NCTE. (Teachers College Press, 2006)

"Writing Across the Curriculum in Historical Perspective: Toward a Social Interpretation." College English 52 (January 1990): 52-73. (pdf)