The Danger of Dyadic Thought

The Importance of Fiction in Writing Center Theory


  • James M. Fitz Gerald Binghamton University



collaborative tutoring, composition, new racism, standardizing English, writing center


This essay is concerned with contemporary writing center and composition studies and focuses on including fiction in both the theory and practice of writing centers and classrooms. Stemming from contemporary theorists such as Andrea Lunsford and Min-zhan Lu, my work incorporates Sapphire’s (1996) novel, Push, so as to highlight the unique perspectives fiction can give as to how we approach teaching and tutoring students. Offering fiction as impacting both theory and practice – in its potential inclusion within tutor-training syllabi, for instance – I assert that fiction is an untapped resource for writing center and pedagogical studies that is often overlooked or cast aside. By also observing race and education theorists such as Laura Greenfield, Karen Rowan, and Victor Villanueva, my analysis of Sapphire’s work makes evident the potential for fiction to more thoroughly inform our approaches towards past, present, and future writing center and pedagogical studies.

Author Biography

James M. Fitz Gerald, Binghamton University

James Fitz Gerald holds an M.A. in English from Binghamton University, where he is currently a Ph.D. student. His major research interests include critical theory and composition studies, and he has worked in several writing centers, including those at Mount Saint Mary College and Binghamton University. He is also an editor for Wreck Park Literary Journal.


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How to Cite

Fitz Gerald, J. M. (2015). The Danger of Dyadic Thought: The Importance of Fiction in Writing Center Theory. Writing and Pedagogy, 7(1), 139-152.



Reflections on Practice