Other Floors, Other Voices: A Textography of a Small University Building

Other Floors, Other Voices: A Textography of a Small University Building

Other Floors, Other Voices: A Textography of a Small University Building

Other Floors, Other Voices: A Textography of a Small University Building

Synopsis

Volume contains examination of text-making process w/in a specific site. Study focuses on academic building w/ diverse inhabitants, uses written discourse as measure of particularity & commonality. For scholars in writing, written discourse & language.

Excerpt

Charles Bazerman, Series Editor University of California, Santa Barbara

John Swales identifies Other Floors, Other Voices as an example of a new genre: textography. Through analysis of text, of textual forms, and of systems of texts, we are shown the lives, life commitments, and life projects of people deeply embedded in the literate culture of the university. The people Swales examines all work today in a single building (a building materially evoked through description, history, and photographs), but their textual lives are maintained in different times and spaces, measured by the dimensions of text production and text circulation in their fields of work. These domains of text time and space are to some degree differentiated by the three specialties that mark the three floors of the North University Building (NUBS), the ethnographic site of this journey into textual lives: computing, taxonomic botany, and English as a Second Language. But within the general space of each floor and discipline, each individual establishes a distinctive kind of work, reaching out to different communities, mediated by different patterns of publication-- so that each individual also lives in a distinctive time and space of a distinctive textual universe. Those individual and disciplinary networks are brought home in what happens each day on each floor and at each desk in NUBS, organizing that local space and time in highly articulated ways, so as textographer Swales walks through the building looking for pieces of paper he finds many cultures and ways of life. The material here and now and the evanescent distant intertexts merge to bring complex worlds together under one roof.

In pursuing the elusive concept of discourse community, Swales uncovers something far more concrete, novel, and revealing: the discursive . . .

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