Composing Agency: Theorizing the Readiness Potentials of Literacy Practices


  • Clay Walker Wayne State University



agency, embodiment, embodied cognition, potentiality, literacy


This essay argues that literacy actors compose agency through the embodied practice of literacies in combination with self-aware feedback loops. The argument brings together recent conversations on agency, embodiment, and cognition in composition studies, neuroscience, and the humanities to develop the concept of discursive readiness potential. Discursive readiness potential refers to one’s embodied agency and accounts for the range of possible actions available to an actor on the basis of her or his past experiences. Furthermore, discursive readiness potential points to one’s capacity to navigate a field of potential literate practices into one actualized action. As such, the essay supports a renewed call for research on agency and embodied cognition in composition studies by outlining discursive readiness potential as a flexible process model for understanding how agents act in emergent discursive situations.

Author Biography

Clay Walker, Wayne State University

Clay Walker is a lecturer in the Rhetoric and Composition program at Wayne State University. His areas of interest include literacy studies, embodied cognition, and composition pedagogy. Clay first learned of readiness potential through his practice as a competitive wrestler and musician, and continues to learn about embodied capacities for doing as a wrestling coach, practicing musician, and composition instructor.




How to Cite

Walker, C. (2015). Composing Agency: Theorizing the Readiness Potentials of Literacy Practices. Literacy in Composition Studies, 3(2), 1–21.