By Miriam Bartha

About Miriam Bartha

Miriam Bartha is Director of Graduate Programs and affiliate faculty in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell, where she oversees programs in Cultural Studies, Policy Studies, Creative Writing, and Public Scholarship.  Her background includes positions in higher education, non-profit arts administration, and grantsmanship.


The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines “skill” as the “capability of accomplishing something with precision and certainty,” the “ability to perform a function, acquired or learnt with practice,” hence “practical knowledge” or “expertness.” As a noun, “skill” is a precipitate of past actions in training or in practice that further indicates the ability or capacity to put knowledge into practice, to implement a form of knowledge performatively and effectively, to operationalize it within particular contexts. It is savoir-faire, the French compound verb that means “to know [how] to do.”

In common usage, “skill” often indicates applied or applicable knowledge, as distinct from more abstract, academic, theoretical (or trivial) knowledge. In contradistinction to the word “knowledge,” “skill” tends to highlight instrumental use value. While scholarly and vocational training both claim to impart “knowledge and skill,” each term is given different relative value in different fields. In some areas, …

Disciplinarities, Embodiments, Ideologies
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