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While people can negotiate how identities are constructed through writing in a variety of contexts (see 3.1 , "Writing Is Linked to Identity") , many first encounter unfamiliar disciplinary (or professional) discourse in college. In most American colleges and universities in the United States, students complete-general education courses (introductory courses designed to introduce students to both ways of thinking and disciplinary perspectives within the university) before continuing on to specialized courses within their chosen disciplines or fields. This increasingly discipline-specific learning process involves both the simple acquisition of new knowledge and an "expansion and transformation of identity, of a learner's 'sense of self"' (Meyer and Land 2006, 11). Writing—as a means of thinking, a form of inquiry and research, and a means for communication within a discipline—plays a critical role in that identity transformation and expansion. Disciplines have particular ways of asking and investigating questions enacted through and demonstrated in writing; teachers or researchers demonstrate their memberships in disciplines by using writing in ways validated by disciplines. It is thus through writing that disciplines (and writers [see 2.3, "Writing is a Way of Enacting Disciplinarity"]) are both enacted and encountered by writers—first as students, and then as professionals throughout their careers.

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This document was originally published in Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies by Utah State University Press. Copyright restrictions may apply.