Thompson Writing Program & Duke Kunshan University, China

The Thompson Writing Program is delighted to offer a writing seminar at Duke Kunshan University (DKU) in China. Writing 230SK: Writing Across Cultures provides writing experience and training through theme-based seminars with a particular emphasis on writing in multicultural contexts and cross-cultural inquiry through and about writing. TWP faculty offer guided practice in intellectual reading and writing of the sort expected in courses across the academy and in civic and professional life beyond the university.

Writing 230SK: Course Goals and Practices

Writing 230SK (Writing Across Cultures) builds on the writing skills, strategies, and capacities students have developed in introductory-level writing courses such as Writing 101. Although individual sections might focus on different topics and readings each semester, every section will emphasize writing as a social process and a commitment to helping students generate effective academic arguments.           

Students will learn to:

  • Engage with the work of others. In pursuing a line of inquiry of research, scholars need to identify and engage with what others have communicated.
  • Consider cross-cultural perspectives. In an increasingly multi-cultural world, scholars need to cultivate a more in-depth understanding of cultural differences in academic writing and scholarly practices.
  • Articulate a position. The point of engaging with the work of others is to move beyond what has been said before. Scholars respond to gaps, inconsistencies, or complexities in the relevant literature, anticipate possible counterarguments or contradictory evidence, provide new evidence or interpretations, and advance clear and interesting positions.
  • Situate writing for a multi-cultural audience. In order to best contribute to their fields of inquiry, scholarly writers need to develop an awareness of the expectations and concerns of their intended readers. These expectations include not only appropriate and effective support for arguments, but also differing cultural conventions of acknowledgement, citation, document design, and presentation of evidence.
  • Transfer writing knowledge into situations beyond the “Writing Across Cultures” course. Even as scholarly writers situate their writing for specific audiences, they also need to transfer knowledge and practices across cultures, disciplines, and contexts.

The actual labor of producing a written academic argument usually involves taking a text through several drafts. In developing their work-in-progress, students are offered practice in:

  • Researching. Students critically read scholarly work about their topics of interest. This research may include locating sources, questioning methodology, examining evidence, identifying social or political contexts, or considering the implications of an academic work.
  • Workshopping. Academic writers reread their own writing and share work-in-progress with colleagues in order to reconsider their own arguments. Students learn how to become critical readers of their own prose through responding to one another in classroom workshops, seminar discussions, and individual teacher/student conferences.
  • Revising. Students are asked to rethink their work-in-progress in ways that go beyond simply fixing errors or polishing sentences in order to extend, refine, and reshape what they have to say and how to say it.
  • Editing. As a final step in preparing documents for specific audiences, students learn how to edit and proofread.