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This article explores content area pre-service teacher beliefs about disciplinary knowledge, perceptions of effective content area teaching, and existing beliefs about how to integrate literacy into the content areas. Ten pre-service teachers across ten secondary content areas were asked to describe three important variables in secondary teaching: 1) the knowledge of their content area, 2) characteristics of a successful content area teacher, and 3) literacy activities that would optimally convey disciplinary knowledge to students. Content area responses to the first two prompts yielded comparatively static, teacher-centered notions of knowledge and teaching. However, responses to the third prompt indicated at least partial resistance to transmission-style teaching and more student-centered pedagogies. The author asserts that content area literacy courses can be a contact zone in which pre-service teachers consider and reconsider how disciplinary epistemology maps onto effective content area literacy instruction.