Both process and outcome of recognizing and making decisions about genres. As process, uptakes are "complex, often habitualized, socio-cognitive pathways that mediate our interactions with others and the world" (Bawarshi, 2010, p. 199). Smoothly operating uptakes are tacit, deeply ingrained, and ideologically consequential. Knowledge of how certain genres are to be taken up is "knowledge of what to take up, how, and when, including how to execute uptakes strategically and when to resist expected uptakes" (p. 200). As outcome, uptake also describes the long-term social consequences of repeated tacit genre-recognition and genre-use.


Bawarshi, A. (2010). Taking up multiple discursive resources in U.S. college composition. In B. Horner et al. (Eds.), Cross-language relations in composition. Carbondale, Southern Illinois UP. 196-203.


A sentence passed by a judge is an uptake of a jury's finding of "guilty"; a student paper is an uptake of the assignment prompt.

Other Notable Uses: 

Emmons, K. (2009). Uptake and the biomedical subject. In C. Bazerman et al. (Eds.), Genre in a changing world. Lafayette: Parlor Press. 134-57.

Freadman, A. (2002). Uptake. In R. M. Coe, L. Lingard & T. Teslenko (Eds.), The Rhetoric and Ideology of Genre: Strategies for Stability and Change (pp. 39–53). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Original Use: 

Freadman, A. (1987). Anyone for Tennis? In I. Reid (Ed.), The Place of Genre in Learning: Current Debates (pp. 91–124). Deakin University (Australia): Centre for Studies in Literary Education. Both here and in her essay on uptake (2002), Freadman makes clear that her source for the concept is the speech-act theory of J. L. Austin's How to Do Things with Words.

Contributed by: 

Dylan Dryer, Carolyn Miller

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