• July 8th, 2015

Discourse Communities and Disciplinarily

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

 

Finish the Johns chapter and read at least pages 13-18 of Leavy.  Also skim through Repko, paying special attention to the tables.

One of the points that Johns makes in her chapter is that professors in different disciplines often believe that there are “general [writing] abilities” that students should learn (505)–things such as good organization, sufficient evidence, appropriate use of sources, appropriate tone, evidence of critical thinking, etc. But she also suggests that those “general abilities” are often very specific depending on the discipline. For instance, Leavy’s examples on page 16 suggest that an article about bullying written by a psychologist might rely on different kinds of evidence than an article written by a sociologist. Johns also mentions a geographer who suggested that professors shouldn’t get promoted if they don’t use statistics in their articles (516). Based on Leavy’s and Repko’s discussions of disciplinarity (including Repko’s tables) and on your own experiences, suggest some ways in which different disciplines might have different conceptions of these “general” writing expectations. If you’re having trouble thinking comparatively about different disciplines, just focus on one (your own, presumably) and how it might have specific ideas about what “good writing” is–perhaps you can compare with the writing demands of first-year writing.

Reading through Repko, you might notice that some of your majors are not included in his tables. In fact, as he says in a note on page 139 (48), “applied fields and professions” like engineering, education, communications, and business are considered by one scholar (Geertz) to be “‘rather baggy’ because of their indeterminacy”–what in the world might be meant by that? (Really. I’m hoping someone will be able to tell me!) Given the definitions of “discipline” that show up in Repko and Leavy, what discipline are you part of? (Is it the same as your major?) Do you feel that Repko and Leavy’s definitions exclude your major from being (part of) a discipline? Can you identify elements of the disciplines discussed by Repko that might correspond to your own discipline’s perspectives, assumptions, etc.?

 

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