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At the suggestion of a colleague, the narrator — a professor of oceanography — agrees to have dinner with Calais Steever, a professor of history from a nearby university, to talk about teaching. The conversation takes place in an informal but elegantly appointed bistro in a small city. Ever the skeptic, the oceanographer isn’t convinced at first that Steever’s passion for assigning students to write dialogues in courses across the curriculum would help his thoroughly fact-based, biologically oriented instruction. As the dinner proceeds, Steever shares examples of students’ dialogic writing from courses in such disciplines as philosophy, anthropology, biology, architecture, literature, chemistry, history, and political science. Slowly — but cautiously — the narrator begins to see possibilities for dialogic writing.