Students' interim literacies as a dynamic resource for teaching and transformation

Journal Article


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Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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Taylor & Francis


University of Cape Town

This article explores the notion of 'interim literacies' by drawing on data from a research project which used linguistic and intertextual analysis of first year student writing in economics to investigate the intersection of academic discourse and student voice. This research has provided a rich set of data to illustrate the ways in which first year student texts are built from a range of past and present discourses, discourse strategies and genres. Students make meaning by reworking past discourses, appropriating and adapting new discourses to make them their own. The article goes on to develop the notion of interim literacies by refining criteria for deciding what interim literacies are and what they are not. The notion of interim literacies is used to move away from a 'deficit' view of English second language writers in the university and it is argued that an analysis and understanding of interim literacies can contribute to teaching and to transformation. The article concludes by providing evidence of the ways in which this research project has impacted on teaching and curricula in the university course where the project was undertaken.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies on 12 Nov 2009, available online: