讲座题目： How large are disciplinary differences? Clues from new natural language processing and phenomenological analysis
讲座人：Professor David Russell （Iowa State University ）
地 点：北京外国语大学东院 图书馆四层报告厅
How do students learn to write in a new discipline? In most contexts they do so without explicit instruction. And many are successful (though not enough of course) at mastering the new genres, often within very few years. Yet we know little about how this “uninstructed genre acquisition” occurs, what Peter Elbow called “writing without teachers.” I first present new natural language processing analysis of 240 lexical and cohesion indices from four disciplines using the Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP), which suggests that disciplinary differences in upper level university student writing are are quite pronounced, even between similar disciplines (e.g., chemical and industrial engineering), and that these differences are evident in the second year of study in a discipline. I will then suggest that new theories of “embodied cognition,” may help explain this by using biological theories rather than mechanistic (information processing) theories. In this view, we write with our bodies and our emotions as well as our “minds.” I combine Carolyn Miller’s theory of “genre as social action” with the French existentialist philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s concept of intercorporeal “harmonization” of one individual with others, and Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of perception, to theorize a bodily and affective core for writing.
David R. Russell is professor of English at Iowa State University, where he teaches in the ISUComm program (foundation composition and upper level business and technical writing) and in the Ph.D. program in Rhetoric and Professional Communication. His research interests are in writing in the disciplines and professions, international writing instruction, and online multi-media case studies for computer-supported collaborative learning. His book,Writing in the Academic Disciplines: A Curricular History,now in its second edition, examines the history of United States writing instruction since 1870. He has published over 60 refereed articles on writing in the disciplines (WiD) and professions, drawing mainly on cultural historical activity theory and rhetorical genre theory, to which he has contributed.
He co-editedLandmark Essays on Writing Across the Curriculum,a special issue ofMind, Culture, and Activityon writing research,Writing and Learning in Cross-National Perspective: Transitions from Secondary to Higher Education,andWriting Selves and Societies.He has given workshops and lectures on WiD, including at more than 50 international meetings, and he has been keynote or featured speaker at more than 50 conferences. He has consulted with numerous institutions on writing curriculum, and for international research projects sponsored by the German, British, French, and European Union governments.
For the past nine years he has editedJournal of Business and Technical Communication,aJCRranked journal, which during his editorship had more NCTE “best article” awards than any of its competitors, almost one third of all given. He was the first Knight Visiting Scholar in Writing at Cornell University, 1999, a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Queen Mary University of London, 2005, and a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal, 2012.