Academic Writing and Influence, Identity, Inclusivity
Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity--I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself.
When Gloria Anzaldua wrote those words in 1987, she captured the experiences of many whose languages are dismissed and marginalized in academia and the compromises they have to make when forced to adopt ‘standard’ English or write in academic discourse. While the kind of violence Anzaldua is talking about is specific to individuals whose native languages are outside of the dominant culture, even those whose language and identity affords them a certain cultural capital in academia are constrained by the same expectations that they adopt discourse conventions privileged in the academy. Thirty years later, as many practitioners have taken stances that support diversity and inclusivity in our work, the richness of linguistic diversity is still largely unrealized in our classrooms, at conferences, and in publications. While we have articulated pedagogical approaches to support diverse identities and communicative practices, such as translingual approaches (Canagarajah 2013; Horner, Lu, Royster, & Trimbur, 2011), many of these practices make space for students’ native linguistic resources only during process—the writing in final products is still mostly expected to conform to academic discourse.
Primary in this conformity are the tensions that lie at the intersections of a writer’s identity and the influences over their writing that they negotiate, such as avoiding plagiarism and exhibiting originality versus modeling privileged discourse conventions. Lori G. Power asserts that students may experience the standard warnings against plagiarism not as an appeal to shared moral values in relation to intellectual property but rather as their teachers’ exercise of their power (2009). Indeed, the explicit warnings against plagiarism are counterbalanced by the implicit demand that students learn to mimic published writers in their field and mould their writing style and other communicative strategies to align with their teachers. While students are often asked to declare their work to be original, they are also implicitly guided to produce work that conforms to the consensus view or existing knowledge (Power, 2009). Horner, Lu, Royster, and Trimbur (2011) similarly argue that traditional writing instruction is informed by unspoken intentions that promote “conformity and the reduction of ʻinterference,’ excising what appears to show difference” (p. 303). As a result, writing practitioners and administrators who mediate this terrain in their teaching, research, and service while at the same time advocating inclusivity of diverse voices often find themselves performing a kind of balancing act between the gate-keeping mandates of the academy and supporting access.
At this years symposium, we hope to explore the many influences writers negotiate, how they impact identity constructions, and what this means for our efforts to promote inclusivity. We welcome proposals that explore the intersections between Influence, Identity, and Inclusivity from a variety of angles and address a range of perspectives: students negotiating writing assignments, scholars writing for publication, and practitioners (such as those working in writing centers) who work with writers Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:
· What does conforming to academic writing mean for a writers identity?
· What influences do writers mediate in different contexts? How do different influences compete, and how are they negotiated?
· What are the implications of privileging certain writing standards? What standards must remain in place?
· What are the possible futures of writing if we embrace linguistic and literacy diversity?
· What would/could it look like if our publications moved toward translingualism?
· How do practitioners who support writers negotiate the terrain between a writer’s natural language and academic discourse?
· What are the possible consequences of embracing linguistic diversity in academic writing?
· How can writing studies and cross-disciplinary approaches help us understand student plagiarism?
· What can we learn by examining the intersections between student writing, identity, and well-being?
Proposals for panel presentations (3-4 presenters in a 75-minutes session), individual presentations (we will combine into 3 person 75-minute panels), and workshops (individual or panel and largely comprised of interactive elements) should be submitted to email@example.com by Monday, December 30 , 2019. Proposals should be no more than 300 words for individual presentations/workshops and 500 words for panel presentations or group workshops This year we will also have a portion of the 2 days reserved for virtual modes of the above, so please indicate if your proposal is for virtual participation. Please send any questions to Ira at irina.ruppo@nuigalway or Georganne at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to seeing you in Galway!
Ira Ruppo (National University of Ireland, Galway) &
Georganne Nordstrom (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)
Anzaldua, G. (1987). Borderlands/la frontera: The new mestiza. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books.
Canagarajah, S. (2013) Literacy as translingual practice: Between communities and classrooms. London, UK: Routledge.
Horner, B., Lu, M., Royster, J.J., Trimbur, J. (2011). Language difference in writing: Toward a translingual approach. College English, 73(3), 303-321.
Power, L.G. (2009). University students' perceptions of plagiarism. The Journal of Higher Education, 80(6), 643-662.