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Title:Engineering literacy: the practice of discipline
Author(s):Bilbro, Rebecca S.
Director of Research:Prior, Paul A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Prior, Paul
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Markley, Robert; Bauer, Dale M.; Schaffner, Spencer W.
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
activity theory
writing studies
Actor-Network Theory
science and technology studies
Abstract:This study is a methodological and theoretical re-mapping of disciplinarity, which seeks to retrace and excavate more nuanced links between enculturation and communication. The work engages original participant research (interviews, classroom observations, and textual artifacts) on communicative practices of students, faculty, alumni, administrators, and staff from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois. In each chapter, my mappings extend through and beyond typical treatments of disciplinarity, retrieving data trajectories rendered invisible or irrelevant by current conceptual models and proposing analytical shifts to new, more inclusive models. Whereas some current models rely on sharp distinctions between the real world and the academic world, I have tried to accentuate habitual writing practices that transcend such artificial boundaries. Furthermore, while raced, classed, gendered, and queered bodies are routinely absent from disciplinary models, I argue that participants’ idiosyncracies and personal histories index key information about disciplinary values and practices. Mine is a project of recovery, revival, and recombination as much as of remapping, and my dissertation employs methodologies from across the field of writing studies, including historiography, ethnography, sociocultural theory, and rhetorical analysis. Because my research questions are critically informed by many other characterizations of the disciplines, my project also responds to issues in engineering education, feminist theory, cultural studies, critical race theory, and literary studies. By synthesizing lines of inquiry from these canons and expanding knowledge about disciplinary enculturation, I hope to contribute to both of the “Two Cultures,” as well as to the many scholarly places between and within.
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Rebecca S. Bilbro
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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