Linda Flower

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Linda Flower (born March 3, 1944, in Wichita) is a composition theorist. She is best known for her emphasis on cognitive rhetoric, but has more recently published in the field of service learning. Flower currently serves Carnegie Mellon University as a professor of rhetoric.

Extended bio[edit]

Important factors of earlier works

"My early work concentrated on studying cognitive processes in writing and bringing a strategic, problem-solving approach to writing instruction. Motivated by the need for a more integrated social-cognitive approach to writing, my recent research has focused on how writers construct negotiated meaning in the midst of conflicting internal and social voices. Concerned with the logic of the learner, I studied negotiated meaning making in school settings in which students are learning new literate practices, and in inner city community settings in which teenagers and adults are working across cultural differences. Out of this has grown a new body of research in intercultural rhetoric and education for community consequences."



"I am drawn to rhetoric as an art of discovery and change, of inquiry and social action. My current work brings the emerging theories of deliberative democracy and the public sphere to the design of sites of intercultural inquiry, such as the community think tanks on educational and workplace issues, in which my students are involved. Analysis of such dialogues is revealing the distinctive kinds of knowledge that deliberative dialogues in local publics can create and the power of a hybrid, cross-cultural discourse.

This question of how marginalized voices can "go public," also shaped my role in the creation of Pittsburgh's Community Literacy Center, which I documented in Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Public Engagement, winner of the 2009 RSA book award. It takes another form in the Decision Makers mentoring project my students do with urban teenagers. My interest in studying and supporting rhetorical agency builds on earlier work with my colleague, John R. Hayes which helped define the new area of cognitive rhetoric, studying the problem-solving processes of expert and novice writers. In the Construction of Negotiated Meaning: A Social and Cognitive Theory of Writing I tracked the strategic process of effective student writers and their willingness to engage with cognitive conflict. I have been a Co-Director the National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy at Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon as well as Director of the CMU Center for University Outreach."


Ph.D., Rutgers University BA, Simpson College

Reference Carnegie Mellon University


Independent works[edit]

  • "Cognition, Context, and Theory Building" College Composition and Communication, Vol. 40, No. 3. (October 1989), pp. 282–311.
  • "Writer-Based Prose: A Cognitive Basis for Problems in Writing" College English, Vol. 41, No. 1. (September 1979), pp. 19–37.
  • "The Construction of Purpose in Writing and Reading" College English, Vol. 50, No. 5. (September 1988), pp. 528–550.
  • "Intercultural Inquiry and the Transformation of Service" College English, Vol. 65, No. 2. (November 2002), pp. 181–201.
  • Problem-Solving Strategies for Writing
  • The Construction of Negotiated Meaning: A Social Cognitive Theory of Writing
  • Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Public Engagement (2008)

Collaborative works[edit]

  • Kathleen McCormick; Gary Waller; Linda Flower. Reading Texts: Reading, Responding, Writing
  • Christina Haas; Linda Flower. "Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning" College Composition and Communication, Vol. 39, No. 2. (May 1988), pp. 167–183.
  • Linda Flower; Victoria Stein; John Ackerman; Margaret J. Kantz; Kathleen McCormick; Wayne C. Peck. Reading-to-Write: Exploring a Cognitive and Social Process (1990), New York: Oxford University Press
  • Linda Flower; John R. Hayes; Linda Carey; Karen Schriver; James Stratman. "Detection, Diagnosis, and the Strategies of Revision" College Composition and Communication, Vol. 37, No. 1. (February 1986), pp. 16–55.
  • Irvin Y. Hashimoto; Linda S. Flower"Bait/Rebait: Teachers Should not Spend Class Time Teaching Students How to Understand Their Audience" The English Journal, Vol. 72, No. 1. (January 1983), pp. 14–17.
  • "Karen Scriven; Linda Flower; John Schilb. "Three Comments on 'Rhetoric and Ideology in the Writing Class' and 'Problem Solving Reconsidered'" College English, Vol. 51, No. 7. (November 1989), pp. 764–770.
  • Linda S. Flower; John R. Hayes. "Problem-Solving Strategies and the Writing Process" College English, Vol. 39, No. 4, Stimulating Invention in Composition Courses. (December 1977), pp. 449–461.
  • Wayne Campbell Peck; Linda Flower; Lorraine Higgins. "Community Literacy" College Composition and Communication, Vol. 46, No. 2. (May 1995), pp. 199–222.
  • Linda Flower; John R. Hayes. "A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing" College Composition and Communication, Vol. 32, No. 4. (December 1981), pp. 365–387.
  • Linda Flower; John R. Hayes. "The Cognition of Discovery: Defining a Rhetorical Problem" College Composition and Communication, Vol. 31, No. 1. (February 1980), pp. 21–32.