Show Less
Restricted access

Invisible Effects

Rethinking Writing through Emergence


Chris Mays

Invisible Effects directly engages systems and complexity theory to reveal how the effects of writing and writing instruction work in deferred, disguised, and unexpected ways. The book explains how writing and language that exist in "writing systems" can indirectly (though powerfully) affect people and environments in sometimes distant contexts. In so doing, the book takes on a question central to rhetoric and writing throughout its long history but perhaps even more pressing today: how do we recognize and measure the effects of writing when those effects are so tangled up with our complex material and discursive environments? The surprisingly powerful effects explored here suggest new ways of thinking about and teaching writing and the applications, lessons, and examples in the text precisely model what this thinking and teaching might look like.

This book is primed to serve as an important addition to reading lists of scholars and graduate students in Writing Studies and Rhetoric and should appear on many syllabi in courses on writing and writing instruction and on rhetoric, both introductory and advanced. As well, the book’s advocacy for the unrecognized potential impact of writing instruction makes it appealing for writing program directors and any potential university faculty, administrators, and non-academics interested in the importance and the efficacy of writing instruction. This book is also a useful resource for scholars and graduate students specializing in Writing Across the Curriculum, as the text provides a useful way to shift the conversation and communicate about writing across disciplines.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access



are an attempt to account, as much as possible, for those who have contributed to this work in ways that tend to be overlooked. First, and most importantly, I’d like to thank my mom, who has never stopped encouraging me in my work and in everything else, from music, to gardening, to just reading. In short, this project wouldn’t have happened without her. I’d also like to thank my entire family, who have in a million small and large ways contributed to the content of this work. This includes Mollie Buchanan, and my aunts and uncles (Pat, Joy, Norm, and Graydon). This also includes my cousins (Kim, Laurie, and David), who always let me hang out with them when I was a kid, and whose enthusiasm for arguing ←ix | x→debate helped shape my interest in language (shout-out to Dave for being my most frustrating—and enjoyable—adversary).

My brother and sister (Zack and Abby) deserve their own thanks, as I am so glad to have gotten to know them better as I’ve gotten older, and I’m lucky to have such amazing siblings, who have contributed to the thinking in this book in innumerable ways. Thanks, too, to my Dad, and to Cynthia. Their kindness—and interest in what I’m working on—has substantially contributed to my confidence in myself and my work.

Friends and colleagues have played a giant role in shaping this work. I must start with my mentor, colleague, and friend, Julie, who...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.