SIU Department Name | Page Title

siu logo siupress logo

SIU logo


Main Content Area

A Shared History

A Shared History

Writing in the High School, College, and University, 1856-1886

Add to Cart

Amy J. Lueck


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
272 pages, 6 x 9, 9 illustrations

Writing Research, Pedagogy, and Policy


Additional Materials

  • Table of Contents
  • News / Publicity

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



About the Book

In the nineteenth century, advanced educational opportunities were not clearly demarcated and defined. Author Amy J. Lueck demonstrates that public high schools, in addition to colleges and universities, were vital settings for advanced rhetoric and writing instruction. Lueck shows how the history of high schools in Louisville, Kentucky, connects with, contradicts, and complicates the accepted history of writing instruction and underscores the significance of high schools to rhetoric and composition history and the reform efforts in higher education today.
Lueck explores Civil War- and Reconstruction-era challenges to the University of Louisville and nearby local high schools, their curricular transformations, and their fate in regard to national education reform efforts. These institutions reflect many of the educational trends and developments of the day: college and university building, the emergence of English education as the dominant curriculum for higher learning, student-centered pedagogies and educational theories, the development and transformation of normal schools, the introduction of manual education and its mutation into vocational education, and the extension of advanced education to women, African American, and working-class students.
Lueck demonstrates a complex genealogy of interconnections among high schools, colleges, and universities that demands we rethink our categories and standards of assessment and our field’s history. A shift in our historical narrative would promote a move away from an emphasis on the preparation, transition, and movement of student writers from high school to college or university and instead allow a greater focus on the fostering of rich rhetorical practices and pedagogies at all educational levels. As the definition of college-level writing becomes increasingly contested once again, Lueck invites a reassessment of the discipline’s understanding of contemporary programs based in high schools like dual-credit and concurrent enrollment.


Amy J. Lueck is an assistant professor of English at Santa Clara University. Her work has been published in College English, Rhetoric Review, and Composition Studies.


A Shared History is a thoughtful and essential analysis of late nineteenth-century composition instruction told through the microhistories of three American high schools. Amy J. Lueck delivers compelling and original accounts of high school writing instruction in a work that challenges today’s scholars. Her research demonstrates how a new perspective on our shared history—one that accounts for diverse institutional sites of learning—can illuminate present-day conversations about dual-credit and concurrent enrollment programs.”—Lori Ostergaard, coeditor of In the Archives of Composition: Writing and Rhetoric in High Schools and Normal Schools 

“In this elegantly written and meticulously constructed study, Lueck provides historians and nonhistorians alike with a rich and engaging history that makes clear the importance of knowing our educational pasts in order to improve and make accessible all our educational futures.”—Kelly Ritter, author of Reframing the Subject: Postwar Instructional Film and Class-Conscious Literacies

“This in-depth archival study exhibits an approach to the history of the high school–college divide in composition studies that, given recent growth in dual enrollment programs and the concurrent (re)blurring of boundaries between high school and university education, should be of interest not only to historians of composition but also to writing instructors and writing program administrators.”—Wendy B. Sharer, author of Vote and Voice: Women's Organizations and Political Literacy, 1915–1930