Risk in Academic Writing Postgraduate Students, their Teachers and the Making of Knowledge Edited by: Lucia Thesen, Linda Cooper

Ebook(EPUB) - 272 pages
Related Formats:
Paperback Hardback PDF 
11 Dec 2013
New Perspectives on Language and Education
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


This book brings together a variety of voices – students and teachers, journal editors and authors, writers from the global north and south – to interrogate the notion of risk as it applies to the production of academic writing. Risk-taking is viewed as a productive force in teaching, learning and writing, and one that can be used to challenge the silences and erasures inherent in academic tradition and convention. Widening participation and the internationalisation of higher education make questions of language, register, agency and identity in postgraduate writing all the more pressing, and this book offers a powerful argument against the further reinforcement of a ‘northern’ Anglophone understanding of knowledge and its production and dissemination. This volume will provide food-for-thought for postgraduate students and their supervisors everywhere.


The volume is useful in exploring issues of voice, power, knowledge and gatekeeping. It is worth reading partly because of the self-reflexive manner in which these issues are explored from the point of view of the student, the journal editor, the supervisor or writing-circle facilitator. It contains some interesting approaches which could be used by others working in the domain of academic literacy, for example the writing circle and an ethnopoetic approach to analyse student ‘error.’ One of the strengths of the volume for those who enjoy reading about academic work is its immersion in practice, and the resultant sensitively conveyed detail.


- Brenda Leibowitz, University of Johannesburg, in Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning, Vol 2, I

Risk in Academic Writing is a powerful, challenging, engaging, and moving collection of papers from writers in different geo-political settings both south and north, writing in diverse voices as postgraduates and teachers, and drawing on monolingual and multilingual backgrounds – in short writings from the contact zone. The book brilliantly claims the concept of risk and reworks it as a productive metaphor in relation to writing. It brings off that most difficult of tasks combining theoretical sophistication with the experiential and practical. If I were to read only one book on academic writing this year this would have to be it.

- Professor Sue Clegg, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education Research, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

This collection is both moving and intellectually engaging. It is fitting that it was conceived and birthed in South Africa with its themes of risk, writing and research pedagogy. A must-read for teachers of writing and scholars interested in the difficult and multifaceted challenges of North-South knowledge construction and representation.

- Claire Aitchison, University of Western Sydney, Australia

This collection of essays provides deeply important insights into the ways in which emerging and also established scholars in the English-speaking world are negotiating their way through the regulatory conventions of what they may and may not say. The stories, and the theorisations accompanying them, work up to constitute a powerful new ethnography of risk.

- Crain Soudien, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Author Biography:

Lucia Thesen is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Higher Education Development at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her research focuses on postgraduate writing pedagogies and alternative forms and functions of academic literacy practices.

Linda Cooper is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Higher Education Development at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her research focuses on worker education, the recognition of prior learning and the theorization of different forms of knowledge.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

Book Preview