Venue: Portland Hall, Little Titchfield Street.

Speaker: Dr Julio Gimenez, Principal Lecturer in Academic English for Disciplinary Study, University of Westminster.

Attributes such as criticality, evidentiality and voice are considered key qualities of ‘good’ academic writing in higher education (Campbell et al. 1998; Cottrell 2005; Peck & Coyle 2005). These attributes have tended to be conceptualised as transferable in that once learned students are able to use them in a variety of contexts and for a range of purposes.

Over the past few years, however, this conceptualisation has come under close scrutiny as such attributes have been discovered to be highly context-sensitive rather than context-flexible and thus substantially shaped by disciplinary epistemologies (e.g. Gimenez 2012; Jones 2009). This has resulted in a dichotomous approach— generic vs discipline-specific— to teaching academic writing.

Based on recent research in the fields of English for academic purposes (EAP), academic literacies (AcLit), and writing across the disciplines (WAD), this lecture will reassess the generic vs discipline-specific dichotomy in teaching writing for academic purposes and argue for pedagogic practices that empower learners to be able to navigate a generic to discipline-specific continuum instead. Practical examples will be used to illustrate this alternative pedagogy for academic writing in higher education contexts.

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