Do you help your PhD students curate a writing future? As students devour books and journal articles, do you encourage them to collect those that constitute the kind of writing they would like to do? This involves thinking beyond the thesis, and remembering that the doctorate is an apprenticeship during which there are multiple physical and virtual mentors. Other academic writers provide vital guidance in what can be published, what is exciting to read and what communicates clearly.
The style of admired writers can then be deconstructed and emulated, and the collected pieces form a career-guiding portfolio of what to aim for, even as the student develops an original voice. Encourage your students to set up a folder for these hero pieces and revisit them regularly. It is never too early in the doctoral process to begin imagining that academic identity in full flight. And do you share your own heroes with students? Who did you long to be like, and how did you try to get there?
Who is in my hero folder? Rosi Braidotti, Patti Lather, Laurel Richardson, Elizabeth Adams St Pierre, Irit Rogoff and lots more!
- Susan Carter has written a great blog post about stylish academic writing on the Doctoral Writing SIG, and why students should aim for writing that is better than “submittable”. The hero folder is another way to get there: Exercises for stylish writing.