The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Inventing the University” Precis August 26, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 7:44 pm
Tags: ,

David Bartholomae

“The academy” can be a very difficult thing to conceptualize.  There are so many different discourses and, essentially, languages and any student coming into the university must realize there.  There is no question that they do; however, it is hard from them to “invent the university” in their writing, i.e. to write as though they are authorities on the subject and capable of using the syntax and jargon of the field.  There is little discussion or instruction on how they are to go about learning to write at this level.  Instead, there is a insufficient emphasis on grammar (which in many cases may not be the problem at all!) and on writing to audiences that will never be relevant.  They do not need to write as though they were a teacher or a parent, talking down to their student or child, but rather as an equal – someone who knows something worth sharing, even if he may not know more on the subject than the person with whom he is sharing it.  This article continues to look through many examples of entry-level students’ writing to analyze and demonstrate the ways in which they try to “invent the university” and how they succeed or fail in doing so.  

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