Writing Center Journal


Despite comprising the majority of labor in higher education in general and writing centers more specifically, contingent workers’ voices and experiences have often been overlooked. The contingent voices that have been represented have predominantly been those in director or administrative positions, not the professional tutors who engage in centers’ day-to-day consulting. This lack of representation in the literature perpetuates institutional inequities and belies a larger paradox: that contingent workers attempting to ameliorate the precarity of their situation may jeopardize their livelihood. Because contingent workers’ identities and roles have historically been ignored and marginalized, few research and publication options are available to them. For this reason, this research used autoethnography, one of the only methodologies available to the contingent professional tutor authors that allowed us agency to share our lived experiences and identities as contingent workers. Three themes emerged from our autoethnographies: vital to but not valued by the institution, working to live but destroying the body, and the illusion of choice. After discussing themes, we call for a continuation of what this work begins, particularly that the field of writing center studies should aim for wider representation of contingent and multi-identitied voices in its literature, conferences, and leadership organizations.