Gender and academic writing

Lillis, Theresa; McMullan, Jenny and Tuck, Jackie (2018). Gender and academic writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 32 pp. 1–8.



The relationship between gender and discourse has been a focus of theoretical and empirical attention in the fields of applied and sociolinguistics for some 30 years (for overviews see Cameron, 2006, 2007, 2010; Coates, 2004; Litosseliti & Sunderland, 2002; Talbot, 2010; Wodak, 1997), with debates continuing around the extent and specific ways in which language and discourse are gendered and how such gendering is enacted and sustained, often taking spoken language as the empirical object (Swann, 2002; for recent examples, see; Baxter, 2014; Grohosky, 2014; Hultgren, 2017). The significance of gender for writing and specifically academic writing has received less attention in sociolinguistic and discourse studies but there are a number of important strands of work which this Special Issue seeks to bring together. These include: a) feminist writings on what it means to ‘write’ across all discourses and genres, particularly what it means to inscribe and re-inscribe as a woman (e.g. de Beauvoir 1997; Irigary,1993; pender,1980; Threadgold,1997; Liu, Karl, & Ko, 2013) and as a feminist (Belsey, 2000; Handforth & Taylor, 2016); b) academic writing research which has foregrounded gender as a key aspect of identity work in the production, reception and teaching of academic writing (e.g. Flynn, 1988; Nye, 1990; Kirsch, 1993; Dixon, 1995; Haswell & Haswell, 1995; Holbrook, 1991; Ivanic, 1998; Lillis, 2001; Belcher, 2009; Tse & Hyland, 2008, 2012); c) academic writing research which has explored the specific ways in which the labour surrounding the production of academic writing, notably the teaching of student writing, is gendered (e.g. Blythman & Orr, 2006; Horner, 2007; Schell, 1998; Tuell, 1992; Turner, 2011); d) research which documents the material conditions of academic work, including scholarly writing, and their continuing gendered impacts on career trajectories (e.g. Acker & Feuerverger, 1996; Appleby, 2014; Grummell, Devine, & Lynch, 2009; Hey, 2001; Leathwood and Read, 2009; Moi, 2008; Prozesky, 2008).

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