A Conversation With Nan Z. Da

Nan Z. Da and Jessica Swoboda at The Point:

JS: What do you see as the differences between academic writing and other forms of writing?

ND: There’s an oft-quoted line by Niklas Luhmann, an acute understanding of the endgame of social evolution in modernity. He posits that “humans cannot communicate; not even their brains can communicate; not even their conscious minds can communicate. Only communication can communicate.” You’re not supposed to think of this as writing advice. Nonetheless, things have to be primed for communication.

Academic writing has to look different than nonfiction writing, has to look different than journalism, and so forth, for much the same reason that interdisciplinarity means nothing if disciplines don’t have operational closure, don’t have integrity. You have to have categorical and systemic partitioning, even hard generic distinctions, in order to see curious crossings.

more here.