Anis Bawarshi – Visiting Speaker 2013-2014

Accounting For Genre Performances: Why Uptake Matters

During this presentation, Dr. Bawarshi discussed genre uptake. Over the past 25 years, scholarship in rhetorical genre studies has contributed a great deal to our understanding of how genres mediate social activities, providing insight into how systems of related genres coordinate ways of knowing and doing within recurring situations. From this scholarship has emerged a view of genres as both social (typified, recognizable, and consequential ways of organizing texts, activities, and social reality) and cognitive phenomena (involved phenomenologically in how we recognize, encounter, and make sense of situations). Yet genre research has not accounted as fully for what Anne Freadman has called genre uptake—the taking up or performance of genres in moments of interaction and innovation. Genre uptake is informed by genre knowledge but also by one’s sense of self, one’s memory of prior uptakes, as well as by other affective, embodied, and material factors that make uptakes, while to some extent habitual, also momentary and unpredictable. A focus on genre uptake allows us to account more fully for the dynamics of agency and the contingent, impromptu, multi-directional performances of genre—and their implications for genre research and teaching. October 21st, 2013


Anis Bawarshi, Professor & Director of Expository Writing, University of Washington

Dr. Bawarshi teaches courses in composition theory and pedagogy, rhetorical genre theory, discourse analysis, rhetoric, and knowledge transfer. He is Series Co-Editor for Reference Guides to Rhetoric and Composition and Program Profiles and Co-Editor for Composition Forum. He also serves on the editorial board for College Composition and Communication. His publications include Genre: A Historical, Theoretical, and Pedagogical Introduction (co-authored with Mary Jo Reiff); Genre and the Invention of the WriterScenes of Writing: Strategies for Composing with Genres (coauthored with Amy J. Devitt and Mary Jo Reiff), A Closer Look: The Writer’s Reader (co-authored with Sidney I. Dobrin); and articles and book chapters on genre, uptake, invention, and knowledge transfer in composition. His current work focuses on knowledge transfer, genre uptake and materiality, and the performance of public genres. He is co-editing a book that examines genre and the performance of publics as well as a book collection that profiles writing program ecologies.