Dylan Dryer

Academic Writing as Multidisciplinary, Interdisciplinary ... Transdisciplinary? A View from North America.
In the wake of the geopolitical and public-health disruptions since 2019, my hope for this talk is to provoke some useful discussion about how we can account for the places, spaces, proximities, technologies, collaborations, and infrastructures that academic writing requires – and that it produces. To get there, I offer a view of North American efforts to achieve disciplinary status for Academic Writing, acknowledging some instructive differences between US and Canadian contexts and sketching the (mixed) results of some recent large-scale efforts to make our field more legible to academic and external audiences. From one perspective, differences in the working conditions of academic-writing professionals constitute a powerful centrifugal force working against disciplinary coherence. Depending on how we answer questions (like those EATAW asks us to reconsider for 2021: “Where do we work?” or “What is our field?”), we’ll arrive at quite different answers to the question “Who are we?”. Yet from another perspective, such differences point to the unique nature of Academic Writing’s object of inquiry. As we know, academic-writing conventions are indissociable from matters of epistemology, ontology, and history; as we also know, the teaching and learning of these conventions are impossible to separate from questions of access and identity. The work of Academic Writing, therefore, does not lie outside of or adjacent to existing disciplines; it engages the fundamental question of disciplinarity itself.  

Dylan Dryer is Associate Professor of Composition Studies at the University of Maine, where he currently directs the Graduate Program in English and serves as the Associate Director for Research and Program Assessment of the first-year writing program. An alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2007), he works from a home-base in rhetorical genre studies to explore applications in corpus analytics, writing pedagogy and assessment, cognition, teacher-training, and language ideologies. With continuing-education in research methods a long-standing priority in teaching and in service, he’s currently working on book, tentatively titled After Solipsism: Writing Studies and the Promise of Intersubjectivity.

John Harbord

Teaching academic writing in the context of diversity. And has the pandemic made it better or worse?
What does it mean to be a teacher of academic writing in Europe? What, who and how do we “teach”, and in what sense is it “academic”? In contrast to most writing‑related organisations in the United States, EATAW brings together practitioners not only from widely different backgrounds, working with students and scholars in different disciplines, but in different languages and within different national education systems. If we are to support writers in higher education, is there a best way to do so, or is every context so different that we can only occasionally borrow each other’s ideas? These questions have been popular at every EATAW conference, but now the pandemic has brought new challenges but also new opportunities. In this plenary I explore these issues and opportunities, and consider whether there is or should be a European model of writing support, and how recent events might shape that model.

John Harbord is academic writing advisor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University. From 1998 to 2015, he was director of the Center for Academic Writing at Central European University, then located in Hungary. He has worked as a consultant helping to develop writing support programmes, train staff in thedisciplines on using writing in their courses, and advising university administrators and education programmes in the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Balkans, the Czech Republic, and Turkey. His research interests include educational policy relating to language use and plagiarism, and the adaptation of international models of writing support across borders. He has been a member of EATAW since 2001, and was Chair of theorganisation from 2003 to 2009.

Madalina Chitez & Otto Kruse


Digital writing and digital humanities – twins, siblings, or cousins?
In this plenary, we will look at the digitalization of writing practices from two different angles: digital humanities and digital writing. While the field of digital humanities involves, in most cases, the digital collection, repository and analysis of documents, digital writing deals with the computer‑supported creation, storage, and exchange of documents. Digitalization reshaped both fields, and what was traditionally separated in two worlds, like the painter and the museum or the writer and the library, today relies on a shared body of technologies usable in both fields. We will give examples from our actual work in either field and show how corpus technology, writing analytics and support measures for writers merged to one unified field of text technology. In this expanding field, from which a new definition of writing can be extracted, seamless interaction of activities such as production, preservation, exchange, design, publication, analysis, feedback, takes place and can be managed from the same digital work space.

Madalina Chitez


Madalina Chitez is a Senior Researcher in Applied Corpus Linguistics at the West University of Timisoara, Romania. She obtained her PhD in English Philology with a specialisation in corpus linguistics, from Albert‑Ludwig University of Freiburg, and worked as a researcher in Germany and Switzerland, with research stays in Italy and the UK, investigating topics in learner corpora, academic writing and contrastive rhetoric. Since returning to her home country, Romania, in 2017, she has been conducting research in the area of corpus related academic writing, digital humanities and computer‑assisted language learning. Her current project, ROGER, aims at identifying salient linguistic and rhetoric features of the Romanian student academic writing, from a Romanian‑English contrastive perspective, with the help of a bilingual comparable corpus of student texts. She is the Founder and Director of the CODHUS research centre (Centre for Corpus Related Digital Approaches to Humanities), which has a strong interdisciplinary and applicative character. 

Otto Kruse 


Otto has a background in psychology and worked in psychological research, student counselling and social work before he became a professor in the field of Applied Linguistics at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences where he was also the director of the Centre for Academic Writing. He specialized in the teaching of academic writing and has taught writing in numerous degree programs and open workshops. He has been a founding member of EATAW and a board member for six years. He was involved in several international research projects exploring writing in European higher education. Since his retirement, his research focuses on the digitalization of writing. Together with Christian Rapp, he created “Thesis Writer”, a writing platform to support dissertation writing. His current research interest touches various aspects of the digitalization of writing, particularly the impact of inscription technologies and of digital formulation support on the nature of writing.