This book is about how genres affect the ways students understand and engage with their disciplines, offering a fresh approach to genre by using affordances as a key aspect in exploring the work of first year undergraduates who were given the task of reworking an essay by using a different genre. Working within a social semiotic frame of reference, it uses the notion of genre as a clear, articulated tool for discussing the relationship between knowledge and representation. It provides pedagogical solutions to contentions around 'genres', 'disciplines', 'academic discourses' and their relation to student learning, identity and power, showing that, given the opportunity to work with different genres, students develop new ways of understanding and engaging with their disciplines. Providing a strong argument for why a wider repertoire of genres is desirable at university, this study opens up new possibilities for student writing, learning and assessment. It will appeal to teachers, subject specialists, researchers and postgraduates interested in higher education studies, academic literacies, writing in the disciplines and applied linguistics.