Plagiarism, Intertextuality and Emergent Authorship in University Students' Academic Writing

Main Article Content

Celia Helen Thompson


Issues of plagiarism, intertextuality and authorial presence in academic writing are fundamental to the teaching and learning activities of all university lecturers and their students. Knowing how to assist students, particularly those who speak English as an additional language (EAL), to develop a sense of text/knowledge ownership and authorial presence in the creation of discipline-based scholarly texts can be especially challenging. Clarifying what is encompassed by the notion of ‘common knowledge’ is also central to this process. The aim of this paper is to explore the political and intertextual nature of text/knowledge construction and emergent student authorship through the analysis of interviews and written assignments from two EAL students, together with interview data from lecturers from relevant disciplinary fields. Drawing on the work of Bakhtin, Kristeva and Penrose and Geisler, I conclude by suggesting that it is by engaging with, rather than fearing, intertextual connections, that we can create a dialogic pedagogy for academic writing that will enable students to articulate an authoritative authorial identity of their own. The importance of lecturer intervention during the drafting stages of text production is also emphasised.

Keywords: plagiarism; intertextuality; emergent authorship; academic writing

Article Details

The Space Between: Languages, Translations and Cultures Special Issue January 2009 (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Celia Helen Thompson, University of Melbourne

Celia Thompson studied French, German and Russian before lecturing in English as a Second Language and Communication. She completed her undergraduate studies in French language and European literature at the University of Warwick in the UK. She has also studied German in Munich and Bremen and Russian language and culture in St Petersburg. Celia undertook Postgraduate Certificates in Teaching and Counselling and an R.S.A. Diploma in TEFLA before completing her MA studies in Applied Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. The title of Celia's PhD thesis is 'Plagiarism or intertextuality? A study of the politics of knowledge, identity and textual ownership in undergraduate writing' (2006, University of Technology, Sydney, under the supervisions of Alastair Pennycook). Celia is a Lecturer in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne, Australia and has produced a number of publications relating to authorship and the politics of textual ownership in university student writing.