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First Person Squared

First Person Squared: A Study of Co-Authoring in the Academy

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 204
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  • Book Info
    First Person Squared
    Book Description:

    In (First Person)2, Day and Eodice offer one of the few book-length studies of co-authoring in academic fields since Lunsford and Ede published theirs over a decade ago. The central research here involves in-depth interviews with ten successful academic collaborators from a range of disciplines and settings. The interviews explore the narratives of these informants' experience-what brought them to collaborate, what cognitive and logistical processes were involved as they worked together, what is the status of collaborated work in their field, and so on-and situate these informants within the broader discussion of collaboration theory and research as it has been articulated over the last ten years. As the study develops, Day and Eodice become most interested in the affective domain of co-authorship, and they find the most promising explorations of that domain in the work of feminist theorists in composition. Against a background of feminist theory, the reflections of these informants and authors not only provide a window into the processes of current scholarship in writing, but also come to stand as a critique of traditional practice in English departments. Throughout the book, the two co-authors interrupt themselves with reflections of their own, on the rejection long ago of their proposal to co-author a dissertation, on their presuppositions about their research, on their developing commitment to the framework of feminist theory to account for their findings, and on their own processes and challenges in writing this book. The result is a well-centered volume that is disciplined and restrained in its presentation of research, but which is layered and multivocal in presentation, and which ends with some provocative conclusions.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-458-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Education

Table of Contents

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    (pp. 1-13)

    We are co-authors who study co-authors.We observe them as they write, but our primary focus has been the stories they tell about their work together. The research we’ve compiled here is bookended by an attempt to write a collaborative dissertation in 1997 and by a College Composition and Communication Conference 2000 workshop involving experienced academic co-authors. Occupying the central position is a study involving in-depth interviews with ten successful academic writing teams, representing a range of disciplines, experiences, and expertises. This book features particularly the voices of these interviewees but also includes those of the participants in the CCCC workshop...

    (pp. 14-47)

    We had several reasons for choosing to study successful, experienced co-authoring teams. First, as the view that knowledge is socially constructed has come to inform and complicate composition theory and practice, more and more instructors are incorporating collaboration into their classrooms in such forms as peer response groups, peer editing, group invention strategies, and collective text production. However, as Rebecca Moore Howard (2000) points out, “collaborative writing pedagogies seem foreign and fraught with peril” (62). She provides a useful overview of both the potential and pitfalls of collaborative writing from both student and teacher perspectives:

    When students are assigned to...

    (pp. 48-60)

    As we met with the co-authoring teams, they talked with us and each other about their individual and collaborative writing processes, their products, their strengths and weaknesses, professional issues of tenure and single authorship, pedagogy, their views on collaborative dissertations, issues of choice and time and proximity, first author concerns, and what they saw as benefits of their co-authoring; but what struck us as we listened to them and then read the transcripts was their attention to, and sometimes almost reverence for, their relationships—both professional and personal. In their collaborative dissertation study, Toni Knott and Lynne Valek (1999) found...

  4. 4 COMPLETION OF CARING: Successful Co-authoring as Relationship
    (pp. 61-120)

    Having clarified the central terms we will use in presenting the data from our study, we would like to explain how we used Dickens and Sagaria’s study to give structure to what we learned from the interviewees. We find it useful to think about the co-authoring teams in terms of Dickens and Sagaria’s categories as we take both a phenomenological and hermeneutical approach. Consequently, we will narrate the interviewees’ own perceptions of their lived experience and use the categories developed by Dickens and Sagaria to sort those perceptions, keeping in mind that we are studying what the co-authors in our...

  5. 5 WHAT THEY DO: How the Co-authors View Their Collaborative Writing Process
    (pp. 121-142)

    In this chapter we will concentrate on how the co-authors describe what they actually do together to produce a piece of writing. Four of the teams are made up of composition specialists, and we assumed they would be more articulate than the others about their writing processes, but we found that the ability to discuss their processes was spread evenly over the teams. In fact, Knight and Adams, who are in another discipline, were the most articulate and reflective about both their individual and joint processes, and Roen and Brown, who are well known in composition, had some difficulty characterizing...

    (pp. 143-166)

    This chapter will look at how co-authoring, and what the co-authors believe about it, positions them in the academy. Mark Bonacci was the only author who felt confident that co-authoring is valued in his field. Of the other team members, some are sure co-authored scholarship is valued in their departments, but most of the others perceive that co-authoring can be risky in that it is suspect in their institutions and their disciplines. This chapter will also include the interviewees’ opinions of co-authored dissertations, and will explore whether their fields’ attitudes toward co-authored scholarship affect their own views on collaborative dissertations....

    (pp. 167-184)

    Our conclusion that the respect, trust, care, support, sharing, heterarchy, and commitment that characterize the relationships of these co-authors have led to a feminine approach to co-authoring raises fascinating questions for us: How did the authors come to have a feminine approach? What are the implications of this approach? Do their backgrounds give clues about their ability to collaborate? Did they bring to their co-authoring a feminine stance already in place, or did the co-authoring help them develop it?

    Furthermore, can this nurturing way of seeing and working with others be taught? And what does it have to do with...