Academic discourse and the language of the university
English 270: Academic discourse and the language of the university
This course serves as an introduction to academic discourse and the language of the university. In exploring academic discourse and language, we will first look closely at how language policy and ideology in the United States has impacted common conceptions about standard academic English. We will then focus on how beliefs about standard academic writing practices have shaped writing in the university, before lastly taking a close look at how language diversity has influenced current policies and statements on the use of the English language in college writing. Readings will be available in the form of a course pack. This is also a “W” course.
SMITH 305: MW 2:30-4:20
Instructor: Justina Rompogren (email@example.com)
Office hours: MW 1:30-2:20 in Padelford A-11
Course website: Canvas (https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1040223)
“Every time a student sits down to write for us, he has to invent the university for the occasion…the student has to learn how to speak our language, to speak as we do, to try on the peculiar ways of knowing, selecting, evaluating, reporting, concluding, and arguing that define the discourse of our community” (Bartholomae 523)
Each one of us, as students or as teachers at UW, are part of the academic discourse community of the university. We each, during our initiation into the community, have adapted to the university’s expectations for our academic and professional work, learned the common communicative practices of the university, and developed expertise in the specialized discourses of our varying disciplinary realms. But how has the standard language of the university been constructed? Who decided what the “correct” forms of language in the university constituted and how does this knowledge continue to be fostered in the university? What do the standard language practices of academia impose on students, and what are the implications of such impositions?
We will attempt to answer these questions as we take a step back from our personal involvement in the academic discourse community in order to analyze its language and policies. We will look closely at how language policy and ideology in the United States have impacted common conceptions about standard academic English. We will examine how beliefs and texts about standard academic writing practices have shaped writing in the university, and take a close look at how language diversity has influenced current policies and statements on the use of the English language in college writing. We will also practice critical inquiry through rigorous discourse analysis of disciplinary texts and policies. Ultimately the course serves as an introduction to the ways in which language attitudes, policies, and practices shape standard university language and writing.
- Students are able to contextualize and analyze the materials or topics covered, historically, politically, culturally. (Analytical; Writing; Disciplinary)
- Students can appreciate the value and challenge of difference and disagreement. (Analytical)
- Students understand the investments, contexts, and effects of the kind of close/critical reading skills or approaches under study/use. (Analytical; Disciplinary; Writing)
- Students develop more sophisticated discussion and presentation skills in the interest of being better able to construct and defend their own arguments or interpretations. (Analytical; Disciplinary; Writing)
- Course pack with readings: available at Rams Copy Center (4144 University Way NE)
- Access to UW email account and Canvas (check this daily for announcements and assignments)
- A laptop or mobile device to access online texts in class when necessary
Assignments & Grading:
- Participation (40 PTS): English 270 is a reading and writing intensive course. Consequently, your success relies on completing assigned readings and/or homework before class. Class participation is also an important part of your engagement with course material and is essential to creating an intellectual community. Students are expected to be present, punctual, and ready to discuss the assigned materials.
- Four Reading Journals (100 PTS/25 PTS EACH): In order to get in the habit of engaging with texts that you read in class, I would like you to write a polished reading journal for four texts of your choosing (selected from the texts assigned in this course). Your journals should be 1 page each, and should include two parts: (1) a comprehensive summary of the text and (2) a thoughtful, critical response to the text. Your critical response may include salient thoughts, comments, or questions about the readings or their connections to other readings; may explore a line of inquiry about a reading; or otherwise thoughtfully and critically engage with the material.
- Discourse Analysis Project (60 PTS): This is a group project that requires you to conduct an analysis on a text or policy within a discourse community that is salient within the academic institution. As a group, you will submit a 3-4 page discourse analysis paper in Week 7.
- Discourse Analysis Proposal (40 PTS): This 1-2 page proposal will outline the text or policy your group has chosen, along with reasons for the choice and a preliminary discussion of what you hope to find in your analysis. This proposal will be submitted in Week 5.
- Discourse Analysis Presentation (40 PTS): You will present your discourse analysis project in groups via a formal PowerPoint Presentation or Prezi Presentation in Week 7. The presentations will be 12-15 minutes long, with 5 minutes allowed for questions afterward.
Final Paper (200 PTS): This 6-8 page final paper will be due on Wed. 6/8. You may choose to write on one of the following topics:
- Make an argument for how language attitudes have shaped standard academic writing practices OR the impact that a certain theory/practice/event/text/policy had on the construction of academic English in the university.
- Write a research paper on a topic related to the course (example research topics include: the English-only movement, linguistic diversity or discrimination in education, history of writing instruction in the university, and so on)
- A topic of your own choosing (you must run this by me first)
Expectations: All submitted assignments (reading journals, discourse analysis project materials, and final paper) must follow MLA format. That means every assignment must include a title and a heading with your full name, your instructor’s name, the course and number, and the due date. All essays must be typed in a size 12 standard font (i.e., Calibri, Times New Roman), double-spaced, with 1-inch margins on all sides. Please also number your pages. All assignments are due before class (2:30 PM) on the due date in the class Canvas Dropbox, unless otherwise specified.
Contact: Outside of office hours, e-mail is the best way to get in touch with me, and I will be happy to address brief questions over email. If you have more involved questions, I will be glad to speak with you in office hours or by appointment.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism in the Expository Writing Program includes: failing to accurately cite sources, representing someone else's work as your own, undocumented paraphrasing, the resubmission of work completed for another course or purpose, and undocumented collaboration. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing, as long as you cite them. Please talk to me if you have any concerns regarding plagiarism. Infractions will result in a grade of 0.0 and be referred to the Dean’s Representative for Academic Conduct.
Disabilities: If you have a documented disability that requires special accommodations, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can make necessary arrangements.
Week 1: Common Attitudes about Language
- Monday, 3/28:
- Syllabus and discussion of language attitudes
- HW: Buy course pack at Rams Copy Center, read Milroy & Milroy: “Prescription and Standardisation” (1-23)
- Wednesday, 3/30:
- Discuss Milroy & Milroy
- Discuss reading journal format
- HW: Read Wiley “Language planning, language policy, and the English-Only Movement” (319-338)
- Friday: Reading journal #1 due
Week 2: Language Policy
- Monday, 4/4:
- Discuss Wiley “Language planning”
- Discuss MLA format
- HW: Read Wiley “Accessing Language Rights in Education: A Brief History of the U.S. Context” (39-64)
- Wednesday, 4/6:
- Discuss Wiley: “Accessing Language Rights”
- HW: Read Wodak & Meyer: “Critical Discourse Analysis: History, Agenda, Theory, and Methodology” (1-33)
- Friday: Reading journal #2 due
Week 3: Discourse Analysis
- Monday, 4/11:
- Discuss Wodak & Meyer “Critical Discourse Analysis”
- ANALYSIS: Bilingual Education Act / English Acquisition Act
- HW: Read van Dijk “Critical Discourse Studies: A Sociocognitive Approach” (62-86)
- Wednesday, 4/13:
- Discuss Van Dijk: “Critical Discourse Studies”
- HW: Read Hyland “Disciplinary Differences: Language Variation in Academic Discourses” (17-45)
Week 4: Academic Discourse
- Monday, 4/18:
- Discuss Hyland “Disciplinary Differences”
- Discuss Swales’ criteria for a discourse community and discuss academic discourse communities
- HW: Read NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing: http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/teaching-writing ; bring computers to class on Wednesday
- Wednesday, 4/20:
- ANALYSIS: NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing
- Discourse analysis (DA) project: assign groups and brainstorm proposals
- HW: Bring your group’s chosen text (or several options) to class on Monday for analysis
Week 5: DA Project
- Monday, 4/25:
- DA project group workshops and analysis
- HW: DA Proposals due Wed. 4/27
- Wednesday, 4/27:
- DA Proposals due
- DA project conferences
- HW: Work on DA project (presentation and paper)
Week 6: DA Project
- Monday, 5/2: DA project conferences
- Wednesday, 5/4: No class
Week 7: Presentations
- Monday, 5/9: Research Presentations and DA Paper Due
- Wednesday, 5/11: Research Presentations and DA Paper Due
- HW: Read Crowley “Composition in the University” (1-18)
Week 8: Linguistic Diversity in Academic Writing
- Monday, 5/16:
- Discuss Crowley “Composition”
- Discuss final paper
- HW: Read Horner “Introduction: From ‘English-Only’ to Cross-Language Relations” (1-17), and read Matsuda “The Myth of Linguistic Homogeneity in U.S. College Composition” (81-96)
- Wednesday, 5/18:
- Discuss Horner “Introduction” and Matsuda “The Myth of Linguistic Homogeneity”
- HW: Williams “Phenomenology of Error” (152-165)
- Friday: Reading Journal #3
- Monday, 5/23:
- Discuss Williams “Phenomenology of Error”
- HW: Draft of final paper due Wednesday; bring two copies to class
- Wednesday, 5/25:
- Peer review of final paper
- HW: Revise final paper
- Friday: Reading Journal #4 Due
- Monday, 5/30: No class: Memorial Day
- Wednesday, 6/1: Final paper roundtable and evaluations
- FINAL PAPER DUE: Wednesday, 6/8 by 2:30 PM
This course serves as an introduction to academic discourse and the language of the university. In exploring academic discourse and language, we will first look closely at how language policy and ideology in the United States has impacted common conceptions about standard academic English. We will then focus on how beliefs about standard academic writing practices have shaped writing in the university, before lastly taking a close look at how language diversity has influenced current policies and statements on the use of the English language in college writing. Readings will be available in the form of a course pack. This is also a "W" course.