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This course operates with the premise that every organization/institution has a culture(s) and these cultures shape how the organization operates: its mission, values, visions, goals, policies, and practices. These cultures also distinguish one organization from the other. Employees are interpolated into institutional cultures that are not neutral or objective; therefore, it is important for technical communicators to develop skills and abilities as cultural analysts. We will explore how technical communication is involved within situated institutional relationships of knowledge and power—how some technical practices are considered legitimate knowledge while others are subjugated or excluded as marginal. In this class, we will develop expertise on how to become an analyst of a workplace culture and we will accomplish this goal in two ways: 1) reading and discussing several studies drawn on cultural analysis, then we will present a framework for conducting participant observation, compiling fieldnotes, interviewing cultural members, collecting, and analyzing artifacts, and writing; 2) Conducting ethnographic study of their workplace or a site they will choose. These two classroom practices will help us understand how technical writing is shaped by organizational cultures and how technical writing shapes organizational cultures.
Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.
From the Schedule of Classes