Scholarly Practices in the Classroom

This semester, I am teaching a course in which we are test-driving the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook and working to shift from a “right” model to a “strong” model of dealing with sources in academic writing. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, in the preface to the new MLA Handbook, challenges us to do this. Opening with reference to what Tim Parks calls “an element of fetishism” in scholarly citation practices, she notes the MLA’s “shift . . . from a prescriptive list of formats” to an emphasis on “the writer’s decision making” (xii).

I plead guilty to having sometimes fallen prey to the “fetishism” that can make the mapping of intellectual conversation seem rigid,

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