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Thinking and Writing Beyond Two Cultures: STEM, WAC/WID and the Changing Academy, Quinnipiac University Fifth Biennial Conference on Critical Thinking and Writing

Location: Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT
Date: November 21, 2014 to November 22, 2014
URL: ....
Contact: Paul Pasquaretta, Research and Writing Institute Coordinator at Paul.Pasquaretta@Quinnipiac.Edu

Registration Open through Monday, November 17th

Fifth Biennial International Critical Thinking and Writing Conference:

Thinking and Writing Beyond Two Culture: STEM, WAC/WID, and the Changing Academy

Friday, November 21st and Saturday, November 22nd
Quinnipiac University, 275 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518

Hosted by QUWAC and the RWI, with support from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Academic Affairs

In 2008 The Times Literary Supplement included the publication of C. P. Snow’s 1959 Rede Lecture, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, on its list of the 100 books that have most influenced Western public discourse since the Second World War.  Although Snow’s lecture prompted a dustup between scientists and literary elites over who could lay claim to the superior form of knowledge, over time the sides and tenor of the “Two Cultures Debate” have changed.  As the debate has expanded throughout the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences to include various disciplinary groups and the beliefs, attitudes, and perspectives with which they are bound together as “cultures,” it has evolved into a conversation about how knowledge is recognized, valued, and taught across the cultures of the university.  The 2014 conference aims to advance this conversation through presentations that attend to the unfolding legacy of the Two Cultures Debate as well as those that revisit and challenge Snow’s original formulation.

The conference will be organized into three categories, each focusing on a different dimension of the debate: Philosophy and Politics; Pedagogies, Programs, and Curricula; Critical Thinking and Writing.  The conference intends to promote, across categories, a multidimensional conversation that addresses the following questions (and perhaps others):


Friday Evening Conversation:

Vaughan Turekian, Chief International Officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science

“Science Diplomacy: Critical Thinking and Writing across the Academy and the World,”

Dr. Vaughan Turekian is the Chief International Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In this role, he leads, develops and coordinates the broad range of AAAS’s international activities. He is also the Director of AAAS’s Center for Science Diplomacy and Editor-in-Chief of Science & Diplomacy, a quarterly publication from the Center. Both the Center and the publication aim to bring together stakeholders from the scientific and foreign policy communities to identify better ways to apply science cooperation to building relationships between and among nations.

On Friday evening, Turekian will discuss the work of the Center, which takes place in countries where diplomats do not or cannot normally go—Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Syria—to address problems in foreign policy by engaging partners in a process to develop a shared understanding of science issues and the language that defines them. Building upon this concept of science diplomacy, the conversation will explore how academics from across the disciplines and with widely divergent views understand “science,” as well as other common terms and practices, such as "research,” "diplomacy," and "critical thinking.”  This exchange is intended to elicit attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives in order to consider how they might interact with the disciplines to form cultures, and to reflect on how the various cultures of the university can meet continuously shifting global challenges.


Saturday Morning Keynote:

Kathleen Blake Yancey, Kellogg W. Hunt Professor and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University

“Concepts and Practices in Flux: Critical thinking and Writing across the Disciplinary Cultures of the Academy.”

An elected leader of many scholarly organizations—including the National Council of Teachers of English; the Conference on College Composition and Communication; and the  Council of Writing Program Administrators—Kathleen Blake Yancey is Editor of College Composition and Communication and Co-Director of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research. She has focused much of her research on writing across the curriculum and writing assessment, especially portfolios, authoring or co-authoring over 70 articles and book chapters and authoring, editing, or co-editing eleven scholarly books—among them Portfolios in the Writing Classroom, Reflection in the Writing Classroom, Assessing Writing across the Curriculum, and Portfolios 2.0. Her co-authored Writing across Contexts: Composition, Transfer, and Sites of Writing, a study of the role that content and reflection play in students’ transfer of writing knowledge and practice from first-year composition into multiple sites of writing across the university, will be published in spring 2014. Her numerous awards include the  Florida State University Award for Graduate Teaching, the WPA Best Book Award, and the Donald Murray Writing Prize.

On Saturday morning, Yancey will present “Concepts and Practices in Flux: Critical Thinking and Writing Across the Disciplinary Cultures of the Academy.” Much like a big city with multiple neighborhoods—each with its own practices and rituals—college is a world with multiple cultures, which we think of as disciplines, each of which has its own language, its own problems, acceptable evidence, and genres. One important task for faculty, therefore, is to help students understand how a given culture is both similar to and different from other cultures within the academy. Doing so makes the implicit features of the discipline explicit and therefore available and helpful to our students. And because each student brings with him or her unique prior knowledge and experiences, it is critical that students are asked to map—for themselves—these similarities and differences and to articulate what they mean for thinking and writing in a given discipline. Drawing from experiences of both students and teachers in various disciplines, this talk will outline how such articulation and reflection can support student learning.

Yancey will be available on Saturday to consult with individuals and groups that wish to discuss the challenges faced by their departments and programs. To arrange a meeting, contact the conference coordinator: Paul.Pasquaretta@Quinnipiac.Edu.

Presenters are invited to submit their work for review for publication in the 2015 edition of Double Helix: A Journal of Critical Thinking and Writing:

The cost of the conference is $300 for Friday and Saturday, and $150 for Saturday only, inclusive of meals.

For more information about “Thinking and Writing Beyond Two Cultures,” contact Paul Pasquaretta, coordinator of the Quinnipiac University Research and Writing Institute, at 203-582-8509, or