Collaborative Writing and Collaborative Teaching in the Humanities

Belén Bistué and Anne Salo

The collaborative theme of this issue’s en route section has highlighted for us the inherent difficulty—and value—of proposing a definition for a process that means different things to different people. When we embarked on this project, we imagined collaboration primarily as an opportunity for de-centering. We were enthusiastic proponents of what Damrosch calls an “elliptical mode of scholarly work,” and we were excited about the possibility of “a process by which two (or more) scholars serve as the focal points for a single project, generating discussion and analysis between them” (132). We felt that implicit in double readings, and in conversation across disciplines, lay the possibility of multiple interpretive positions, and that this multiplicity was sufficient justification for undertaking any sort of collaborative effort. It is fair to say that the process of academic collaboration has been revealed to us to be at once more complex—and simpler—than we first imagined. As our contributors have shown, the defining characteristic of collaborists— to borrow phrasing from Damrosch—is their full engagement in the collaboration process, and it is their engagement that opens up a multiplicity of perspectives on this process (theoretical, pedagogical, psychological, and political)…

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