Is the Essay Dead? Research and Writing in the Humanities at a Research-Intensive University

Author: Konoval, Brandon

Publications details: “Is the Essay Dead? Research and Writing Instruction in the Humanities at a Research-Intensive University,” University Higher Education Review 50, no. 2 (spring/summer 2018): 53-85.


Abstract: The essay is increasingly challenged to justify its relevance and role as a pedagogical tool for introducing undergraduates to research and writing. Genre theory has provided a persuasive basis for an alternative approach that directly engages with academic disciplinarity, in light of which the essay appears to be without a clearly defined place in a modern university curriculum. This case study assesses the use of the essay in a humanities programme of long standing at a prominent research-intensive university, the UBC Arts One programme: these findings suggest that, in concert with a suitable community of practice and targeted enhancements, the essay can effectively prepare first-year students to transition from a gateway programme to upper-level undergraduate studies in a scholarly academic setting.