CFP on Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on August 18, 2016

Reading and Writing in the Twenty-First-Century Literary Studies Classroom: Theory and Practice

deadline for submissions:
February 3, 2017
full name / name of organization:
University of Queensland
contact email:
[email protected]
Reading and Writing in the Twenty-First-Century Literary Studies Classroom: Theory and Practice

The University of Queensland

Brisbane, Australia

6-8 July 2017

Deadline for submissions: 3 February 2017

Contact for general queries: Judith Seaboyer [email protected]

Confirmed speakers:

Dr David Aldridge, Oxford Brookes University

Dr Tully Barnett, Flinders University

Professor Helen Sword, University of Auckland

Please send 250-word proposals for papers, panels, or workshops by 3 February 2017 to [email protected] with the subject line Reading and Writing cfp.

This broad-ranging conference will assume good reading and its concomitant good writing to be essential both to the mastery of disciplinary content and to the transformative potential of an education in literary studies. To that end we seek papers that consider reading and writing from a range of perspectives, practical and theoretical. What are the challenges, difficulties, and pleasures for students and teachers? What strategies and techniques encourage timely compliance with course reading requirements and foster critically engaged, well-argued responses? What critical theories model critique in the twenty-first-century classroom, and what might be, as Rita Felski has recently asked, the limits of that critique? Reading that is active and thus potentially critical, ethical, creative, hospitable, transformative—and pleasurable—may be intrinsic to disciplinary knowledge, but how do we help students acquire the skills needed to de-code complex texts and respond to them?

And what effects are twenty-first-century technologies/modes of knowledge production and dissemination having on how as well as what students do and don’t read? What are the intersections and tensions between digital and traditional ways of reading and writing? Does constant hyperlinking, as Naomi Baron, Nicholas Carr and others have suggested, undermine the brain’s capacity to focus in order to process long-form text? How might we foster what neuroscientist and literacy researcher Maryanne Wolf has termed bi-literacy, the capacity to shift between, and indeed to distinguish between, two kinds of activities: the efficient reading-for-information that involves scanning, clicking, linking and the “slow and meditative possession of a book” literary scholar and essayist Sven Birkerts has termed “deep reading”? What platforms do your students use for reading and writing? In what ways is technology changing student drafting, reviewing, and response to feedback?

Finally, what texts and what kinds of texts and what theories of reading and writing are core in an increasingly marketised university in which non-vocational degrees are increasingly marginalised? And how might an education that fosters an imaginative, thoughtful, hospitable, adaptable citizenry, give students an edge in a job market in crisis?

Some starting points:

How do we empower our students to write “with passion, with skill, with courage, and with style”? (Helen Sword, Stylish Academic Writing)
How do we test the invisible activity that is reading?
What kinds of assessment best develop reading and/or writing skills? Tests or writing or a blend of both?
What texts and what genres do we choose to teach, and why?
Do we encourage our students to be surface or symptomatic readers? Is what Paul Ricoeur termed a “hermeneutics of suspicion” “a mandatory injunction [or] a possibility among other possibilities”? (Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick).
How much are we influenced by outside forces? How are programs shaped by shrinking budgets combined with the massification of tertiary education? And what influence do debates such as the one over trigger warnings have on how and what we teach, and on student learning?
Can literature, or literary criticism, effect change? What work can texts perform? For example, can literature, as Martha Nussbaum insists, “[cultivate] powers of imagination that are essential to citizenship”? Or is this a consolatory fiction, as Suzanne Keen suggests?
How do we evaluate reading? What assumptions about taste cultures, cultural competences, and the ethics of engagement with texts are embedded in the ways we model, teach, and assess student reading?
What are the affordances of technologies? How are they changing the way students read and write? How do we help students to makes sense of and benefit most from a range of platforms for both activities?
As workloads and the ratio of students to instructors increase, can technology encourage better student reading and writing?
How might we foster bi-literacy?
What might be the repercussions, pedagogical and financial, of online education, including MOOCs, for reading and writing in literary studies?
Do long-form reading and/or writing remain important skills?
What are the effects of shifts from solitary to online social reading?
What cognitive differences occur when reading and writing take place on digital rather than traditional platforms?
Is there a link between complex critical reading skills and better writing?
Full-time enrolment by part-time students: How might we inspire students to immerse themselves in reading and writing about their discipline in the face of day-to-day time constraints, genuine and perceived, and the awareness that it’s possible to scrape a passing grade while having read very little?
Can good reading and writing skills give our students an edge on the job market? And how do we, and our students, sell those critical skills?

From UPenn


CFP: Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on July 21, 2016

From UPenn

CFP: The Profession

deadline for submissions:
July 6, 2019
full name / name of organization:
contact email:
[email protected]

CFP: The Profession

Intermezzo, a digital longform publication – – seeks submissions that deal with rhetoric and rhetoric and composition as a profession.

Profession, the MLA’s dedicated publication to issues regarding professionalization in Modern Languages and Literatures, has long served the field regarding discussion of professional issues. While Profession has published work on rhetoric and rhetoric and composition, the focus of the journal is not dedicated to these areas. And while rhetoric and rhetoric and composition journals publish articles on professional matters, no publication is dedicated to the profession in a focused manner. Rhetoric and rhetoric and composition journals do not have the space to devote to only professional discussions. Intermezzo is interested in providing a dedicated space for such discussions. Submissions can be co-authored or co-edited but should include multiple voices. While there is no obligation to produce more than one collection, we hope this will become an annual series.

Intermezzo seeks 20-40,000 word volumes that explore professional issues relevant to rhetoric and rhetoric and composition: hiring, tenure, writing as a writing professional, bureaucracy, budgetary issues, general education pressures, marginalization, becoming a department or independent program, developing majors and minors, being department or program heads, policy debates, rhetoric and rhetoric and composition’s place in the Humanities curriculum, and other related topics. Submissions can include video, image visualizations, graphics, or other non-print forms of expression.

We are particularly interested in essays from a variety of professional backgrounds: professors, administrators, lecturers, and adjuncts. We are also interested in essays which take advantage of organizational strategies print publications might not publish.

All essays published with Intermezzo undergo peer review. Intermezzo is committed to providing an outlet for essays too long for journal publication, but too short for monograph publication. Essays are published as open source, are registered with the Library of Congress, and receive ISBN numbers. They may include multimedia as well.

Intermezzo is meant to be a venue where writers can produce scholarly work in unique ways, outside of institutional or disciplinary expectation, and it takes advantage of digital media as a platform for both content and distribution of timely topics.

Intermezzo accepts longform essays on a rolling submission basis, with no deadlines.

Please submit submissions, abstracts, or queries to

Jeff Rice
Series Editor
[email protected]


Body Language Blunders

by Dr Davis on March 7, 2016

Things for business writing students to think about–from Forbes.


Video Games are Good for You

by Dr Davis on February 29, 2016

If you are a word person, go to “Gaming is Good for You” on for more on this:

Gaming is good for you metapicture

If you are a video person, go to “Your Brain on Video Games” on

The class is working on a paper on the effect of technology on your brain.


English Over Time

by Dr Davis on February 8, 2016

English 1000 years Psalm 23

I read the Middle English with a Scots accent.


Liberal Arts Degree = Hot Ticket

by Dr Davis on February 3, 2016

“The ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket” from Forbes says:

“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting in his office in San Francisco’s South of Market district, a neighborhood almost entirely dedicated to the cult of coding. “I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true–like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces–until they realized that it wasn’t true.”

And then there is this:
“Add up the jobs held by people who majored in psychology, history, gender studies and the like, and they quickly surpass the totals for engineering and computer science.”


Marketing English Majors

by Dr Davis on February 2, 2016

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article called “Feeding English Majors in the 21st Century.”

Not taking skills for granted became a mantra for the course, spurred in part by Katharine Brooks’s guide, You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career. Former English majors gave talks — through class visits or via Skype — on their careers, which helped associate the major with a narrative of professional plenitude rather than scarcity.

We had real-world examples in class, too. The director of a local nonprofit health foundation talked about the challenges of getting social-service agencies to collaborate, and credited her literary training with teaching her to locate seemingly “disparate, unrelated stories within a larger story.”


What College Students are Reading

by Dr Davis on February 1, 2016

Quartz has an article about the Open Syllabus Project that uses online syllabi to examine what we are assigning in university.

Plato, Hobbes, Machiavelli, and Aristotle overwhelmingly dominate lists in the US, particularly at the top schools.

In the US, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein is the most taught work of fiction, with Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales a close second. In history titles, George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi’s textbook, America: A Narrative History, is No. 1, with Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi, a memoir about life as an African-American woman in Jim Crow America, at No. 2. The Communist Manifesto is the third most taught in history, and is the top title in sociology.


Literature Helps with Mental Health

by Dr Davis on January 30, 2016

The has a story about how literature can help with mental health problems.

Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellen and Melvyn Bragg have each given deeply personal interviews to academics as part of a free online course which considers how poems, plays and novels can help us to understand and cope with deep emotional distress.

The trio discuss their experiences of some of the six themes – stress, heartbreak, bereavement, trauma, depression and bipolar, ageing and dementia – that make up “Literature and mental health: Reading for wellbeing”. Each man also describes how the work of literary greats such as Shakespeare, WH Auden and Philip Larkin have helped them during troubled times.

Related posts:
Mental Health and Comics
Health/Illness Writing
19th C Psychology Texts
The Art of Madness

Related materials:
Teaching the Taboo: Reading Mental Health and Mental Illness in American Literature


Age of Fairy Tales

by Dr Davis on January 20, 2016

I know that fairy tales are older than the fifteenth century, as some were written down before then.

However, an article from the BBC says they are thousands of years old: “Fairy Tale Origins.”

Dr Tehrani explained: “We used a toolkit that we borrowed from evolutionary biology called phylogenetic comparative methods. This enables you to reconstruct the past in the absence of physical evidence.
“We’ve excavated information about our story-telling history, using information that’s been preserved through the mechanism of inheritance, so in that sense they embody their own history.
“By comparing the folk tales that we find in different cultures and knowing something about the historical relationships among those cultures, we can make inferences about the stories that would have been told by their common ancestors,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

fairy tale red in bed with wolf