Charles Bazerman is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Education, where he worked from 1997 to 2022.
His commitment to literacy and the teaching of writing started over forty years ago when he was teaching first and third grade in inner-city Brooklyn. Then he saw concretely how learning to read and write changed the dispositions and bearing of individual children, made possible a successful relationship to schooling, and improved life chances. He also saw the effects of children on entering the world of literacy. A few years later, when he began teaching at City University of New York during the early years of open admissions, he found professional satisfaction in helping students enter into the literate discussion of the university. His research and pedagogic interests started from the teaching of writing to encompass the ways we make use of reading in our writing and then the ways in which academic writing is organized around the literatures of the several disciplines.
His book Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science examines the history and current forms of scientific research writing. In The Languages of Edison’s Light he examines how technical discourses and projects intersect with many other discourses of civic, economic, and cultural life. His volumes A Rhetoric of Literate Action and A Theory of Literate Action put together his understanding of writing developed over the last forty years. Other books and articles consider aspects of academic and professional writing, writing across the curriculum, the role of writing in social organization, the lifespan development of writing skills, and the relation between writing and cognitive development.
He has also written many textbooks for teaching university reading and writing and the relation between them. He has edited the Handbook of Research on Writing and numerous other research collections and series. He has been Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication and is founder and chair of the International Society for the Advancement of Writing Research.