CFP for FEN Blog Special Issue on Actionable Change, Summer/Fall 2021

FEN Blog is excited to invite submissions for a special series of posts to run during late summer and fall 2021! 

In their recent book, Technical Communication after the Social Justice Turn, Rebecca Walton, Kristen R. Moore, and Natasha Jones point to the ways “our sites of work . . . remain sites of injustice”  and urge readers to investigate ways of redressing inequity through coalitional work (1). A similar movement has built in composition studies: Recent publications, acknowledging the narrowness of the field in multiple areas of theory and pedagogy, have sought to (re)shape the spaces belonging to composition in more expansive, ethical ways. Black Perspectives in Writing Program Administration (see Composition Studiesreview here) maps out the obstacles faced by Black WPAs and outlines alternative, equitable approaches to composition and to administration that foster inclusivity in our work with students and relationships with colleagues. Other scholars, as for instance Fiscus-Cannaday and Sophia Watson, have stressed the role of multimodal composing in rewriting our pedagogy to foster activism and enable students, collectively and individually, to craft projects that respond to the  dominant culture in savvy, rhetorically creative ways. Even methodological work pushes the boundaries of our disciplinary habitus, as Aja Martinez’s recent book Counterstory, along with her initial article on the same theme, calls for more expansive methodologies that challenge existing, frequently oppressive commonplaces and make room for diverse voices and ways of being. And Adam Hubrig’s work on this blog has invited compositionists to consider how their educational and disciplinary spaces are or are not accessible to the vast array of people who move through them. These examples are just a few of many, as this work is ongoing and requires long-term commitments to responsiveness. 

Questions of how we can (re)make our field, writing programs, and courses into hospitable, humane spaces  are particularly kairotic right now (Cordova 2012). In addition to the work discussed above, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and made visible persistent inequities in our field. Students from lower income brackets and disabled students, already disadvantaged within our institutions, faced additional challenges over the last year. Discriminatory practices against women, non-binary people, trans people, and BIPOC people are still widely prevalent as well.The pandemic has opened space for us to tackle these questions, particularly as many institutions seem poised to return to “normal” (Eyler). It’s both timely and important to consider the responsibilities that we bear in our local contexts and, in our shared connections across contexts, to identify harm and work together towards change.

In this light, FEN Blog invites submissions of short pieces on actionable changes that enable graduate students, adjunct instructors, non-tenured lecturers, tenure track faculty, and/or administration to work together to cultivate more humane environments in the contexts that we share. The pieces will be run as a special series of posts on FEN Blog, over the course of several months during late Summer and Fall 2021.  

For this series, you may want to consider how we can (re)make our spaces as wider, more hospitable places through active changes in: 

  • Pedagogy and classroom engagement
  • Research practices and methodologies
  • Service and community work, both inside and outside the university
  • Labor and access concerns
  • Policy changes at the programmatic, departmental, or university level
  • Funding and financial issues in composition studies
  • Mission statement and identity for the institution
  • Accessibility and disclosure procedures  
  • Antiracist commitments and equity work
  • Theory and research on composition studies, including history of the field
  • Well-being practices, policies, or support structures for students, teachers, and staff 
  • Or any other changes that you want to address that you don’t see here! 

Submissions should be between 1000-2000 words in length, adopt a more conversational style rather than a formal academic one, utilize multimodal blog affordances such as hyperlinks and images, and cite inclusively. (If you’re not sure about citing inclusively, we suggest that you start with Dr. Cana Itchuaqiyaq’s list of multiply-marginalized scholars.) We welcome diverse ways of approaching academic writing, particularly those outside standardized Western norms. Submissions should also be geared for an online platform, relying on hyperlinks, images, and/or other multimodal content. In keeping with FEN Blog’s vision, we particularly welcome pieces from graduate students, non-tenure track faculty, and scholars from nondominant communities. Submissions are currently open and will be read and responded to on a rolling basis until 15 July 2021. Posts will go live as they come in and/or starting in August 2021. 

If you’re uncertain about whether your idea will fit, feel free to reach out at fenblog.compstudies@gmail.com. We’re open to a wide range of takes on this question and look forward to receiving your work!  For the nuts and bolts, please see our Submission Guidelines.  

Works Cited
Eyler, Josh. “On Grief and Loss: Building a Post-Pandemic Future for Higher Ed without Losing Sight of Our Students and Ourselves,” Plymouth State University, 30 April 2021, Plymouth, NH. Virtual Keynote Address. 

Fiscus-Cannaday, Jaclyn and Sophia Watson. “English 382: Special Topics in Multimodal Composition,” Composition Studies, vol. 46, no. 2, 2018. https://compositionstudiesjournal.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/engl382_47.2.pdf

Hubrig, Adam. “Access from/as the Start: On Writing Studies and “Accessibility.” FEN Blog, 19 April 2021, Composition Studies Journal, https://compstudiesjournal.com/blog/

Martinez, Aja Y. Counterstory:The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory. National Council of Teachers of English, 2020.

—. “A Plea for Critical Race Theory Counterstory: Stock Story versus Counterstory Dialogues Concerning Alejandra’s “Fit” in the Academy,” Composition Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, 2014, https://compositionstudiesjournal.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/compositionstudies_42n2.pdf

Perryman-Clark, Staci M., and Collin Lamont Craig. Black Perspectives in Writing Program Administration: From Margins to the Center. NCTE, 2019.

Pouncil, Floyd. Review of Black Perspectives in Writing Program Administration: From the Margins to the Center, edited by Staci M. Perryman-Clark and Colin Lamont Craig. Composition Studies Journal, vol. 48, no. 1, 2020. https://compositionstudiesjournal.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/br_pouncil.pdf 

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