Presentation on theme: "Construction of Writer Identity across Multiple Disciplinary Communities Dawang HUANG (Wilson) City University of Hong Kong IUSM, Rome."— Presentation transcript:
Construction of Writer Identity across Multiple Disciplinary Communities Dawang HUANG (Wilson) City University of Hong Kong email@example.com IUSM, Rome 25-27 October 2007 -- The socialization of a junior local-educated Chinese researcher
Part OneIntroduction Disciplinary socialization process of non-Anglophone scientists: inevitably an interplay of multi-level engagement and alignment in view of the lingua franca of English in scientific publishing (Swales & Feak, 2004; Wood, 2001), i.e., juggling between local and international disciplinary communities vis-à- vis the above intra-discipline recontextualization of Anglophone writers. Writer identity as disciplinary socialization: “negotiated experience, community membership, learning trajectory, nexus of multimembership, and a relation between the local and the global” ways of belonging (Wenger, 1998) that develop in the socially-situated writing and publishing (Bazerman, 1988; Casanave, 1998). embodied in textual, socio-cognitive and –political spaces of community practice （ Bhatia, 2004).
Extensive research: in the Swalesian school of genre analysis and the traditional contrastive rhetoric on cross-cultural discursive representations of non-Anglophone scientists (as well as other academics). Existing literature on writer identity of multilingual academics in high- context cultures: primarily examined disciplines of humanities and social sciences (Casanave, 2002; Canagarajah, 2002; Curry & Lillis, 2004) or specifically as regards on Chinese scholars, novice researchers as Ph.D. candidates of computer science (Li, 2006) Need better understanding of 1) their multidimensional socialization (Bhatia, 2002, 2004; Belcher, 2004), in particular social-critical and –political aspects (e.g., Canagarajah, 2002b, 2002c; Casanave, 2002, 2003) 2) local-educated academics of hard sciences in China who have held gatekeeper positioning at least in the local academic environment (cf. Burgess, 2002) Part TwoLiterature Review
Part ThreeMy study (1) Research design: an ethnographically-inspired case study supplemented with a socio- historic account of three focused parallel research articles (RAs, viz., SEnJ, EnJ01 and CeJ01) Participant and setting: Zhong (pseudonym), a vernacular-educated young faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of a top comprehensive university in East China multiple disciplinary communities of materials science: 1) local Chinese- medium, 2) local English-medium, and 3) international English-medium Evolution of positioning: phd (metals, 2002), post-doc (inorganic non-metallic materials, 2002-2005), asso. prof. (glass ceramics, 2006 ） Reporting period: 2004-2006
Data Collection: interviews, a microhistory of publications (2000-2006), documentations (CV, departmental, institutional and national) a set of three focus RAs (2004-2006) Part ThreeMy study (2) Triangulated and Multidimensional Analysis: inductively analyzing qualitative data and cross-checking with discourse-based interviews (through NVivo 2.0) examining focus RAs as social activities (via contrastive discourse analysis)
Part Four Findings about Dynamic Construction of Writer Identity across Multiple Disciplinary Communities
1) From interviews and documentary evidences a rather “harmonious” self-representation trajectory across the following multiple disciplinary communities Local.Chinese local.English international.English local.Chinese+English & international.English Positive towards local vs. appreciative towards international [Submission to] local English-medium journals got published quite smoothly, needing few changes and receiving cogent feedbacks. English submissions [to international journals] would usually have to get revised several times, mainly concerned with research content and language expressions. Their standards are strict. … [Furthermore,] international reviewers are more meticulous; they might find even problems of a very small point …. (Interview, Oct.15, 2006) 4.1. Writer Identity in flux: local international local/international
2) From the focus RAs a complex self-positioning scale of solidarity-affinity as reflected from his conscious switching of discursive representations across communities the mood and tense of verbs in Move 3 of RA introductions International.-English: passive voice + simple present Local.-English: low-risk 1 st person pronoun + simple past
Lithium aluminosilicate (LAS) glass-ceramics has been one of the most intensively studied systems because of … [1-3]. It has been commercialized to produce … [4,5]. The properties of glass ceramic materials depend on …, thus stimulating many experimental and theoretical studies …. The nucleation and crystallization mechanisms of LAS glass had mainly been studied by different measurement methods, [Ref.]. Johnson-Mehl- Avrami (JMA)  equation is one of the main representative theories and becomes the basis of other theories. In the present study, we attempted to … by using X-ray diffraction (XRD). As a matter of fact, I read extensively on other research topics but not on measurement methods of ---; perhaps, there’d be a number of researchers doing with XPS. So I can’t make a definite claim. … And all in all, I simply evade it and immediately address my own research topic. Furthermore, no comments were given by peer reviewers. Possibly, to him, this is my style of conciseness and directness. He might feel that there’re no prior works on it, and you did it. That’s the most important thing. Absence of gap-indicating in CeJ01-introduction Move 1: Creating a Territory Step 1. Providing Background information Move 3: Occupying the Niche Step 1: Announcing the study (purposively + descriptively) 3) Mediated authorship in the forming of research-gap statement
Draft No.1: Reviewer #2 directly challenged the novelty of his research (e.g., “it is not new”). Draft No.2: Zhong and his mentor justified their research by explicitly addressing the limitations of prior works and the resulting application constraints An increasingly critical and pertinent version of gap-indicating in EnJ01
4.2.Writer Identity in multiplicity: theoretical/applied researcher vs. gatekeeper applied research: institutional culture and disciplinary practice In our research institute, quite a few colleagues… only focused on one thing like film/membrane, time and again, and claimed for its high quality. But how and what for in the future? God knows. … Anyway, our research team has been working on very practical stuff, closely related to applications. You bet, if you want theoretical study, I can do that for you; and if you want products, I can also work them out. However, right now we have no other good choice; you know, sometimes you’ll have to apply for and support projects. Nowadays our university is changing from its original emphasis on Natural Science Foundation to more applied orientations. LAS glass ceramics is a highly application-oriented research topic Fig.2 (Applied/Theoretical Positionings in discourse switching)
Gatekeeper as peer reviewer (since 2005) Critical/elaborate vs. cursory Background information and Gatekeeper Identity (as shown in ‘dilatometry’ in Fig.3) Gatekeeper as postgraduate advisor (since 2006) Assigning students to draft CeJ01 (in particular the part of literature review)
4.3.Writer Identity at Stake: Chances vs. Challenges in the Institutional Context Historic transformation of disciplinary identities, broad research interests and easy-going personality also helped to empower institutional beings of Zhong as deputy director of the center laboratory and drafter of grant proposals, bidding documents, and other summary paper work of the whole center. Although a couple of teachers [in the field of building materials] provided their speciality documents to me, I still had to compile them into a closely- knit report; this is also a kind of professional expertise. You know, I’m now stumbled in a dilemma as a result. If I want to delve further in my research area, you see, I’d have to step away from many other things. Right? [In the current condition of mine—occupied with institutional responsibilities,] if you finally find out your limited research area hard to continue, at that time your knowledge about other potential research directions would be dramatically outdated....But such responsibilities have to be done because they’ll help you understand the underlying operation and tricks. Of course these benefits are not direct and instantaneous; growth of a researcher cannot solely rely on paper writing and projects. (Interview, Oct. 16, 2006)
Part FiveDiscussion and Conclusion A unique case from a much-materials-enriched non-Anglophone academic setting. The appreciative attitude towards local journal gatekeepers and receptive response to center-based counterparts: ultimately critical to the multi-dimensional construction of Zhong’s writer identity as enacted in a “balanced” juggling in cross- community writing games and his switching between Western and the ‘normal’ way of RA writing. Ways of being a non-Anglophone academic writer which were enacted in the coping strategy of “the less said, the better” or “avoidance strategy” (Canagarajah, 2002a, p.113) like absent provision of explicit gap-indication and poor elaborateness of literature review in CeJ01: attributed to the lack of critical scientific exchange and the prevalent undue courtesy for maintaining the Confucian order in the Chinese academy (Poo, 2004, p.204).
In sum, disciplinary socialization is the interplay of ‘big’ socio-cultural and ‘small’ institutional contexts of community engagement. To a certain extent, it is the intensity and efficacy of knowledge negotiation in local contingencies that determine both salient and silencing aspects of writer identity. Accordingly, instructional assistance like course materials in this socio-political dimension of advanced academic literacy can be provided by English for Academic Purposes (i.e., EAP) professionals (Canagarajah, 2002b; Casanave, 2002; Li, 2006). Acknowledgements I would like to thank Zhong, the Specialist Informant (referred to anonymously for confidentiality), as well as five other specialist informants who participated in my project, for their time and cooperation. My gratitude is also due to the fatherly mentorship of Prof. Vijay Bhatia.
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