Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What is 'academic writing'?

I have been looking at a book proposal for the Pagan Studies series that I fear would not be an "academic" book. (Of course, the proposers might revise it yet.)

Too often, people think that the definition of "academic" writing is (1) writing by people with advanced degrees that (2) no one else would care about.

Try this instead.

Some of the writer's subtitles:
  • Scholarship does more than evoke feelings
  • Scholarship goes beyond self-justification
  • Scholarship transcends group advocacy
  • Scholarship makes appeals beyond personal experience
  • Scholarship utilizes theory in non-cosmetic ways
  • Scholarship admits to reasoned criticism
Read the whole thing.


Blogger prairie mary said...

Chas, this addresses some things that I've not been able to sort. One is why my papers are constantly rejected by academics though I consider them QUITE academic. The other is the problem of why Unitarianism is always drifting off into the ether. It's supposed to have a "learned ministry" but sometimes one wonders what they learned.

I think that I myself am often trapped by "self-justification" -- not as a feminist but as an outsider. And I found that in the ministry I was expected to do "group advocacy" -- push the congregational agenda. Too much personal experience, not enough rational analysis. One of my weaknesses is a strength taken to excess: "evocative narrative." I get too much praise for it. But then, if it's not academic, maybe it's something else respectable in the right framework.

I had not heard the term autoethnographic before and what a useful term it is! This whole article was excellent clarification as well as an example of good writing.

Prairie Mary

9:46 PM  

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