Davida H Charney
Professor — Ph.D., Carnegie-Mellon University
E 387M • Rhetoric Of Acad Disciplines
MW 500pm-630pm FAC 9
This seminar will analyze the shape of scholarship in a variety of academic disciplines, from the humanities to the sciences. We will begin by tracing the development of specialized journals and the emergence of the genre of academic articles. We will read analyses of the formal and rhetorical features of articles in these fields. We will also examine how scholars acquire their disciplines’ priorities, methods, and conventions—as graduate students or active researchers. Finally, we will consider the political and philosophical implications of academic discourse.
How does academic writing in English differ from writing in other fields, such as psychology or physics? The differences often turn on concepts like audience, purpose, "authority," and evidence. These concepts shape the very nature of reading and writing processes, as well as the style, structure, arguments, and goals of academic texts.
Students have found this seminar of great value for learning to read and write at the graduate level. Several projects started in this semester have grown into journal articles, dissertations, and books.
E 387M • Rhetoric Of Acad Disciplines
W 330pm-630pm FAC 10
READING, WRITING & ARGUING IN ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES
“Rhetoric is the discipline that lets all the other disciplines do their work” (James Golden)
How does scholarly academic writing in an English department differ from writing in other fields, such as psychology or physics? Recent studies of academic discourse suggests that the differences often turn on conceptions of audience, purpose, "authority," and representation. These conceptions shape the very nature of reading and writing processes, as well as the style, structure, arguments, and goals of academic texts.
This seminar will analyze the shape of written discourse in a variety of academic disciplines, from the humanities to the sciences. We will begin by tracing the development of specialized journals in several disciplines and the emergence of the genres of academic articles. We will read studies comparing the formal and rhetorical features of written discourse in these fields. We will also examine what practitioners in these fields understand about their disciplines’ rhetorical habits and formal constraints… and how they learn to apply and exploit them. We'll consider how undergraduates, graduate students and faculty gradually acculturate themselves. Finally, we will consider the political and philosophical implications of academic discourse.
This seminar will be of interest to anyone who expects to write scholarly publications (!) and particularly for those who want to find out more about the rhetoric of academic disciplines--those students who would like to conduct research, those who want to learn how to read the research, and those who want to teach students majoring in English or other disciplines to analyze and write texts. It is especially recommended for students who may be eligible to apply for a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Writing in the Disciplines at Southwestern University over the next three years.
- 8-10 short responses (2 pages each) to reading assignments: 25%
- a formal paper (10-15 pages) pursuing an issue raised by the research literature: 75%
- brief oral reports presenting your project in proposal and near-final stages
- MacDonald, Susan Peck. (1994). Professional Academic Writing in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois Press.
- Monroe, Jonathan (ed.). (2002). Writing and Revising the Disciplines. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
- Patton, Martha Davis. Writing in the Research University: A Darwinian Study of WID with Cases from Civil Engineering. Hampton, 2011.
- Perelman, Chaim, & Olbrechts-Tyteca, Lucie. (1969). The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation (J. Wilkinson & P. Weaver, Trans.). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
- Other articles on Blackboard
E 387N • Observ Rdr/Writer & Anlyz Disc
MW 200pm-330pm FAC 10
Methods of Research in Rhetoric and Composition: Observing Readers/Writers and Analyzing Discourse
From analyzing blogs to observing what goes on in the classroom, scholarship in English studies has grown to include many kinds of research beyond those involving historical and archival analysis. This seminar addresses the underlying assumptions, practicalities, successes, and limitations of research on reading and writing, broadly conceived. Understanding these methods is important not only for those who anticipate employing them but also for those who want to be able to read and critique this literature.
This seminar will provide background and hands-on experience with interviews, conversation analysis, surveys, discourse analysis, and observational studies. Considerable time will be devoted to small-scale projects that illustrate the nuts and bolts of conducting research from the proposal stage, through data collection, analysis, and presentation.
No prior research experience is expected but students with research projects already in mind will be able to advance their work. This seminar satisfies the core requirement for research methods.
Informal responses and hands-on exercises. Each week, you will write either an informal response to the readings or do some exercise (with partners) trying out some aspect of a research method.
Final paper (10-15 pages). The paper is usually a detailed proposal of a research project, but students may also write a review or critique of research articles or a preliminary report of findings (for those with projects already underway).
Abelson, Robert. (1995). Statistics as Principled Argument. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN: 0-805-80528-1.
Geisler, Cheryl. (2004). Analyzing Streams of Language. Pearson/Longman. ISBN: 0-321-16510-1.
Glesne, Corrine. (2005). Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction, 3rd. ed. Allyn & Bacon. ISBN: 0-205-45838-6