The Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (CASDW) is a bilingual scholarly association dedicated to advancing the study and teaching of writing in academic and nonacademic settings—higher education, business, government, and nonprofit organizations.
Established originally as the Canadian Association of Teachers of Technical Writing in 1982, CASDW is a member of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS). As a CFHSS member, CASDW regularly organizes scholarly conferences in conjunction with the CFHSS sponsored Congress.
CASDW publishes its own refereed journal, The Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing (originally Technostyle), which is a member of the Canadian Association of Learned Journals (CALJ).
For more information about the history of our association, please see this 1999 article by Lil Rodman and Michael Jordan.
The Focus of CASDW: Discourse and Writing Studies
CASDW is concerned with the study and teaching of non-literary writing and communication in all academic, business, government, and public contexts. CASDW also actively supports research on writing in digital environments. This emerging area of research is generally referred to as Writing Studies, with sub disciplines such as professional writing and communication, technical writing and communication, scientific writing, Writing Across the Disciplines, and more.
The scholarship in the field of Writing Studies examines the generation, interpretation, structure, and impact of discourses in such disciplines as physics, social work, education, medicine, engineering, law, management, commerce, architecture, criminology and others, as well as in such professional settings as businesses, nonprofit organizations, and public contexts. CASDW members also study the role of technologies, visuals, and multimedia in communication.
Accordingly, many CASDW members study and teach writing and communication in higher education, including in writing centres, to undergraduate and graduate students in engineering, education, science, social work, management, and other disciplines. They also study and teach specialized subjects in degree programs focused on writing studies. Specialized subjects include, for example, genre theory, rhetorical theory, theories of persuasion, public address, audience analysis, information design and usability, digital literacies, technology discourse, scientific writing and argument, business communication, Web design, grant proposal writing, editing, legal writing, medical writing, policy discourse and writing, critical discourse analysis, theories of teaching and learning writing, internet studies (computer-mediated communication), visual rhetoric, and more. To learn more about the specific questions CASDW members address, see the programs of our conferences.
CASDW members work and teach across disciplines, professions, and public contexts, and they also draw on theories from multiple disciplines in their research, including linguistics, rhetoric, semiotics, cognitive psychology, social psychology, education, translation studies, philosophy of science, organizational behavior, informatics, human-computer interaction, and more to understand specific aspects of writing.
As a result of their interdisciplinary work, professional communication researchers work in a variety of university departments and faculties in both English- and French-language universities, including departments of English, French, Linguistics, and Communication, as well as faculties of Education, Engineering, Management, and Science.