DepositWriting in the academy: collaborative writing development with students and lecturers at the UWC Writing Centre

Writing and reading critically are core academic practices that many South African tertiary students struggle with throughout undergraduate study. This is partly due to a lack of competency in English as a first language, and partly due to a lack of preparation at primary and secondary school level. Critical reading and writing practices need to be developed simultaneously, and contextually. The Writing Centre at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is currently exploring ways to make itself a more relevant and focused part of the University’s teaching and learning interventions and strategies, and to make it more responsive to the multiple reading, writing and language needs of students. Influenced theoretically and practically by New Literacy Studies and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) approaches, the Writing Centre is working to position itself as part of a teaching and learning environment that develops and supports both student writers and disciplinary lecturers. We aim to do this by foregrounding, theorising, researching and building a culture of writing intensive teaching that imagines and uses writing as a tool for learning, thinking and evaluation, as well as for assessment. In order to become a significant part of teaching and learning in higher education more generally, Writing Centres will need to work increasingly with lecturers to address the writing and reading needs of students in a supportive, critical and collaborative space that better serves the needs of both parties.

DepositAcademic and Journalistic Writing Structures

This A3 poster shows the difference between the structures of academic and journalistic pieces of writing. I call these the ‘Academic Triangle’ and the ‘Journalistic Triangle’. There’s lots of great advice online to help you write one way or the other. But this poster contrasts the two styles side-by-side, using an important archaeological paper published in 1973 by Professor Colin Renfrew for illustration. For more information and some context, check out my presentation uploaded to @humcomms CORE, “Sometimes, I just want to draw…”.

DepositPostexilic Prose Traditions in the Writings

This chapter explores the prose traditions in the Writings under the broad division between historiography and storytelling. While 1–2 Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah make use of archival sources and possibly genuine first-person accounts, these materials are arranged and subsumed under an ideological umbrella—much like contemporaneous Greek historiography. Similarly, the storytelling of Daniel, Esther, Ruth, and the prose portions of Job, while clearly exhibiting folkloristic qualities, also show their primary concern to be with and address the realities faced by Jewish communities in the Persian and Hellenistic Diaspora. Overall the prose traditions in the Writings offer evidence of vibrant and active literary cultures among both temple personnel and cultured elites.