Call For Papers: Emotion in Composition

Posted by – July 11, 2015

The editors of Composition Forum are pleased to announce a call for papers for an upcoming special issue on Emotion in Composition. Please send proposals of 300 to 500 words by September 5, 2015 to Lance Langdon ( See below for a complete timeline.

Special Issue CFP: Emotion in Composition
Guest editor: Lance Langdon (

By 2016, it will have been nearly twenty years since the publication of Lynn Worsham’s “Going Postal,” which traced student anger to its institutional sources, and almost a decade since Laura Micciche’s Doing Emotion, which urged emotional performance as a cognitive endeavor. It is the ambition of this special issue to reorient our field’s conversation regarding emotions once again, finding pathways through two decades’ worth of emotional investigation, charting new directions, and coming to grips with the action of emotions today—whether on campus, in local communities, or online; in program administration or in the teaching and learning of writing.

In the last twenty years the field of Composition has examined how emotion influences writers’ cognition and revision, constitutes classrooms as communities, and saturates program administration. We have asserted the centrality of emotion to critical thinking and critical literacy, to student interest and retention, and to the construction of student writers, WPAs, and instructors as gendered, raced, and classed subjects. We have valued the emotional labor of these same subjects, the work that gets done through emotional performance. And we have interrogated empathy and compassion in diverse classrooms and communities and in evolving publics.

Yet as the last decade’s blossoming of scholarship regarding affect has matured, what signs are there of a second spring? It might be argued that inquiry into emotion has spent itself and can provide no further insight, that we have hit a methodological wall in our reading of classroom interactions as symptomatic of cultural trends and in our investigation of moments of explosion. We have plumbed what positive emotions can do for student writers in opening to the world and established a framework around that stance. We have detailed and formed action plans through which to handle uncomfortable discussions of white privilege and able-­‐ism, of racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia.

Yet work remains to be done in each of the above areas. We’ve yet to account for the ebbs and flows of interest and disinterest, annoyance and curiosity, that carry the daily teaching and learning language. We’ve insufficiently explored what frustration, mania and depression contribute to writing lives. We might even more fully attend to love’s labor to produce an equitable world.

These topics, coupled with those below, by no means exhaust what a fuller grappling with emotion contributes to the teaching and learning of writing. This issue calls upon researchers, teachers, and administrators to sift through the last twenty years of emotional inquiry in imagining what we’ll need to know and do in the next twenty—complicating, reframing, and extending previous engagements with emotion. It also solicits those opening up entirely new avenues of inquiry through theories previously unexplored in composition, topics unaddressed, and methodologies yet to be applied.

Prospective authors might propose to discuss (but should not feel limited to):

  • Classroom implications of terminological distinctions (e.g. emotion/pathos/passion/feeling/affect, empathy/sympathy/compassion)
  • Boredom and engagement in FYC
  • Theories of affect in conversation with composition
  • Motivation and writing
  • Grit and retention
  • Emotional communication in tutorials and/or conferences
  • Use and abuse of “emotional literacy” and “emotional intelligence”
  • Institutional emotions (e.g. WPA disappointment, TA or job market anxiety)
  • Emotional labor of students, WPAs and writing instructors
  • Habits of Mind in the Framework for Success
  • Pedagogy concerning pathos in public rhetoric (e.g. politics of resentment, hope)
  • Affect and metacognition
  • Instructors’ proper or ideal emotions
  • Performance and embodiment as reading and writing methods
  • Emotional construction of gender, sexual orientation, class, and racial identity
  • Feminist pedagogy
  • Emotion and second-­‐language writing
  • Applications or contestation of neuroscience in composition
  • Multimodal emotional communication (e.g. emoji)
  • Ethics and rhetorics of empathy, in classrooms or in classroom-­‐community contexts

The editor also seeks up to three Program Profiles, which address various aspects of writing programs, including first-­‐year composition, WAC/WID, student support programs, teacher training, the undergraduate major, professional writing, writing centers, or postgraduate writing. The emotional labor of writing program administration is of particular interest, as is emotional communication within an institution’s budgetary and historical constraints. However, the section will field a wide range of approaches to the action of emotion within writing programs.

For more information on submitting articles or Program Profiles, visit

July 5, 2015 – CFP released
September 5, 2015 – Deadline for proposals (300-­‐500 words)
September 15, 2015 – Notification of acceptances
January 15, 2016 – Deadline for completed MSS
March 15, 2016 – Review complete, revisions requested
May 30, 2016 – Final versions of MSS due
June-­‐July 2016 – Editing, manuscript preparation, etc.
August 2016 – Special issue released

Please contact Lance Langdon ( with inquiries.

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Composition Forum Seeks Program Profile Editor

Posted by – April 2, 2015

Composition Forum, an open access journal of pedagogical theory in rhetoric and composition, is seeking an editor or co-editors for its Program Profiles section. Since 2006, the Program Profiles section of the journal has offered a venue for showcasing exemplary writing programs (broadly conceived) and highlighting the scholarly contribution to our field that such program development and administration demonstrates, including the ways in which theories, research, and pedagogies shape individual writing programs. The Program Profiles editor(s) review program profile submissions and work with authors to prepare program profiles for publication.

Ideal candidates will have expertise in rhetoric and composition studies and experience in writing program scholarship and administration. Institutional support is not required, but is a plus. Small teams (up to two people) are welcome to apply.

To apply for the position, send a letter of application to editor Christian Weisser, <>.  Specific questions about the position can be sent to the current Program Profiles editor, Anis Bawarshi <>.

Applications are due May 15th, 2015. Learn more about Composition Forum at

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Volume 31 of Composition Forum now available!

Posted by – February 20, 2015

Our thirty-first volume (Spring 2015) is now officially available!

This issue–a special issue on rhetorical genre studies, case guest-edited by Dylan B. Dryer–includes:

In addition, try there are seven articles exploring rhetorical genre studies and composition, recipe from multimodality and linguistic attention to uptake and metagenre.

More details about the volume’s contents are available in a column from the editors.

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Volume 30 of Composition Forum published

Posted by – August 15, 2014

Our thirtieth volume (Fall 2014) is now officially available!

This issue features:

In addition, there are seven articles addressing composition theory and pedagogy, three program profiles, three reviews, and our first “sonic” review!

More details about the volume’s contents are available in a column from the editors.

We hope you explore the journal, and we welcome any and all suggestions, questions, and comments about it.

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Robertson, Taczak, and Yancey’s “Notes Toward A Theory of Prior Knowledge and Its Role in College Composers’ Transfer of Knowledge and Practice” Selected for The Best of the Independent Rhetoric & Composition Journals 2013

Posted by – May 6, 2014

We here at Composition Forum have exciting news!

Liane Robertson, Kara Taczak, and Kathleen Blake Yancey’s article “Notes Toward A Theory of Prior Knowledge and Its Role in College Composers’ Transfer of Knowledge and Practice” from Composition Forum vol. 26 has been accepted for inclusion in The Best of the Independent Rhetoric & Composition Journals 2013.

The Best of the Independent Rhetoric & Composition Journals series, published by Parlor Press, “represents the result of a nationwide conversation—beginning with journal editors, but expanding to teachers, scholars and workers across the discipline of Rhetoric and Composition—to select essays that showcase the innovative and transformative work now being published in the field’s independent journals.”

We could not be more pleased for the authors and their excellent achievement!

Below is the abstract for their article, and you can read the entire text at

In this article we consider the ways in which college writers make use of prior knowledge as they take up new writing tasks. Drawing on two studies of transfer, both connected to a Teaching for Transfer composition curriculum for first-year students, we  articulate a theory of prior knowledge and document how the use of prior knowledge can detract from or contribute to efficacy in student writing.

Congratulations to Liane, Kara, and Kathleen on their accomplishment!

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Volume 29 of Composition Forum published

Posted by – February 25, 2014

The newest volume of Composition Forum (Vol. 29, mind Spring 2014) is now available!

This volume features:

More details from this volume are discussed in our “From the Editors” column.

We hope you visit the journal, and we welcome all suggestions and comments about the volume.

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Call For Papers: 30 Years of “Genre as Social Action”: The Past and Possible Futures of Rhetorical Genre Studies

Posted by – October 1, 2013

The editors of Composition Forum are excited to announce a call for papers for a special upcoming issue on Rhetorical Genre Studies. The deadline for proposals is November 15, view 2013 (see below for a more complete timeline).

This issue will be guest edited by Dylan Dryer (


30 Years of “Genre as Social Action”: The Past and Possible Futures of Rhetorical Genre Studies

Guest editor:

2014 will mark the 30th anniversary of Carolyn R. Miller’s germinal essay “Genre as Social Action.” Long the Quarterly Journal of Speech’s most-cited article, Google Scholar finds another 2000 citations from journals around the globe. It is no overstatement to say that Canadian and US scholars’ efforts to think through the socio-cultural, cognitive, historical, and material implications of this essay are collectively what is now known as North American—or New Rhetorical—Genre Studies (RGS).

The typical exigency of significant anniversaries is the need to take stock; Composition Forum’s “fitting response” is a Special Issue devoted to examining the past and possible futures of RGS-based research on genre. To that end, the Special Issue’s Interview with Carolyn Miller will look back on the scholarly and cultural origins of—and three decades of subsequent uptake of—“Genre as Social Action.”

And this Special Issue will look forward. To that end, the guest editor seeks proposals for Articles that advance our understanding of genres as intersubjective phenomena. For, as Miller puts it, genres are “not just a pattern of forms” for “achieving our own ends” but ways of understanding “what ends we may have” (1984: 156, 165, emphasis added).

Prospective authors might propose (but should not feel limited to):

  • novel applications of RGS’s construct of genre as a site of dynamic socio-cultural and cognitive activity
  • the influence of technological innovations on current understandings of generic boundaries, functions, or lifespan
  • useful insights from other conceptualizations of genre (e.g., systemic-functional linguistics, English for Specific Purposes, socio-discursive interactionism, and/or the Brazilian “synthesis”)
  • pedagogical uses and limitations of RGS constructs of genre (inside or outside the postsecondary environment)
  • inquiries into “lay” or “everyday” understandings of genre knowledge, emergence, utility, change, and dissolution
  • explorations of institutionalized genre conventions and the affective domain
  • discussions of data from empirical inquiries using an RGS theoretical framework. Ethnography and critical discourse-analysis, as well as emergent methodologies (corpus analysis, eye-tracking, bibliometrics, etc.), are welcome.

The editor also seeks Program Profiles of three first-year composition, WID, or postgraduate writing programs. Of particular interest will be these programs’ strategies for reliably and validly assessing “genre knowledge” (however conceptualized).


October 1, 2013: CFP released

November 15, 2013: Deadline for proposals

November 18, 2013: Notification of acceptances

April 15, 2014: Deadline for completed MSS

June 30, 2014: Review complete, revisions requested

August 31, 2014: Final versions of MSS due

September-October 2014: Editing, manuscript preparation, etc.

November 2014: Special issue released

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Noah R. Roderick’s “Analogize This!” from CF 25 Selected for The Best of The Independent Rhetoric & Composition Journals 2012

Posted by – August 27, 2013

We here at Composition Forum have some exciting news to share!

Noah R. Roderick’s article “Analogize This! The Politics of Scale and the Problem of Substance in Complexity-Based Composition,” originally published in Composition Forum 25, has been selected for inclusion in The Best of the Independent Rhetoric & Composition Journals 2012, to be published by Parlor Press.

We could not be more pleased for Noah, and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating his accomplishment!

Below is the abstract for Noah’s article (and you can read the piece in its entirety at

In light of recent enthusiasm in composition studies (and in the social sciences more broadly) for complexity theory and ecology, this article revisits the debate over how much composition studies can or should align itself with the natural sciences. For many in the discipline, the science debate—which was ignited in the 1970s, both by the development of process theory and also by the popularity of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions—was put to rest with the anti-positivist sentiment of the 1980s. The author concludes, however, that complexity-based descriptions of the writing act do align the discipline with the sciences. But the author contends that while composition scholars need not reject an alignment with complexity science, they must also be able to critique the neoliberal politics which are often wrapped up in the discourse of complexity. To that end, the author proposes that scholars and teachers of composition take up a project of critical analysis of analogical invention, which addresses the social conditions that underlie the creation and argument of knowledge in a world of complex systems.

The Best of the Independent Rhetoric & Composition Journals 2012 will likely be available in time for the 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication, so make sure to keep an eye out for it soon.

Congratulations to Noah on his well-deserved achievement!

– The Composition Forum team

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