Michael Carter. Ways of Knowing, Doing, and Writing in the Disciplines.

Carter, Michael. “Ways of Knowing, Doing, and Writing in the Disciplines.” CCC 58.3 (2007): 385-418.

Abstract: One way of helping faculty understand the integral role of writing in their various disciplines is to present disciplines as ways of doing, which links ways of knowing and writing in the disciplines. Ways of doing identified by faculty are used to describe broader generic and disciplinary structures, metagenres, and metadisciplines.

Area Cluster: 107-Institutional and Professional

Methodology: genre theory, induction, synthesis

Most Valuable Citations: CMiller, CBazerman, DRussell

Money Quotes:

The assumptions behind writing outside the disciplines are deeply ingrained in the very concept of the university, based on a particular understanding of the disciplines that has its roots in the transition to the modern American university in the last quarter of the nineteenth century (386).

The concept of metagenre, based on the idea of genre set in Miller, Bazerman, and Russell, is beneficial not only because it emphasizes the importance of writing in the disciplines but also because it provides a structure WID professionals can use to work with faculty in the disciplines. By highlighting generic patterns of knowing, doing, and writing both within and across disciplines, metagenres underline the critical role that writing can play in helping students participate fully in their disciplines (403).

For WID faculty, however, the ability to perceive the broader disciplinary formations and to understand the way genres shape and are shaped by those formations offers a rich conception of the integration of writing in the disciplines (407).

However, I do think that reconceptualizing the disciplines in terms of metagenres and metadisciplines is at least an implicit challenge to the disciplines as separate divisions of declarative knowledge. Instead, disciplines may be seen as based on ways of doing and thus ways of knowing and writing, modes of inquiry rather than static territories of knowledge to be more and more thoroughly mapped, a shift in emphasis from knowledge to knowing (410).

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