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 http://compositionforum.com/issue/26/prior-knowledge-transfer.php:

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 (dylan.dryer@maine.edu).


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

Guest editor: dylan.dryer@maine.edu

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 http://compositionforum.com/issue/25/scale-substance-complexity.php):

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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Volume 27 of Composition Forum published

Posted by – February 6, 2013

The newest volume of Composition Forum (Spring 2013) is now available!

Volume 27 features an interview with Louise Wetherbee Phelps, a Retrospective article from Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs, and seven articles focusing on pedagogical theory in composition. This volume also includes three program profiles, a review essay, and two reviews.

We are especially pleased to welcome two new editors to Composition Forum with this volume: Elizabeth Wardle joins us as Retrospectives Editor, and Kevin Brock is our new Website Editor.  If you’d like to communicate with any of the CF editorial team, contact us at http://compositionforum.com/editorial-board.php

More details about Volume 27 and future plans for Composition Forum can be found in our “From the Editors” column: http://compositionforum.com/issue/27/from-the-editors.php

We hope you will visit the journal, and we welcome your suggestions and comments about this volume.

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Announcing The Research Exchange Index (REx)

Posted by – October 31, 2012

The following announcement is posted on behalf of Joan MullinJenn Fishman, and Mike Palmquist, the editors of The Research Exchange Index:

The Research Exchange Index, or REx, is designed to collect information about local, national, and international writing research conducted in unpublished and published studies. REx is also designed to solve a longstanding problem in writing studies: access to a wealth of information difficult to research across publications and difficult to find because it remains in institutional reports, programs, classrooms, or departments.

As a database about the processes of a research study, entries are different than articles about the studies that might be published in journals or books; therefore, entering data in REx not only doesn’t infringe on any copyright, but, once made public, actually serves to promote work by authors/editors.

Your contribution will become part of a peer-reviewed digital publication. After the collection deadline (May 1st, 2013), REx editors will review all entries for clarity and completeness of information, contacting researchers for further information as needed. Once the review process is complete, the edited entries will be included in the searchable REx database. REx editors will introduce the database with a scholarly essay that contextualizes contemporary writing research, offers an overview of database contents, and points to current and emerging research trends indicated by your studies.

From the first edition onward, REx will provide a historical snapshot of writing research, and it will offer a resource for planning future studies. For example, REx might be used to:

  • generate aggregatable data about one or more types of contemporary writing
  • research;
  • demonstrate gaps in our knowledge of contemporary writing;
  • provide models for research studies at new sites;
  • indicate areas of future study;
  • locate archives for historical studies of twenty-first-century writing; and
  • discover potential collaborators or sites for collaborative studies.

With individual teacher-scholars’ participation, REx will provide a rich and comprehensive profile of what research in “writing studies” is and is becoming. Start your entry by going to http://researchexchange.colostate.edu/index.cfm

Why Textbook Reviews?

Posted by – April 10, 2012

After 10 years as a WPA, I have more textbooks than I know what to do with. Tribble-like, they multiply on my shelves. I take the “Instructor Copy: Not for Resale” seriously. I’ve pawned my desk copies off on colleagues, donated them to GED programs, begged the public library to take them. In my virtuous moments, I’ve taken the time to return them to the publishers. Others have landed in my recycling bin at the end of a frazzling day.

I suspect I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by our field’s constant influx of new textbooks and new editions. What’s a compositionist to do? How can we possibly keep up, let alone choose the right text(s) for our classes and our programs?

These questions have prompted Composition Forum to include textbooks among the works we review. We’re committed to helping our colleagues navigate this ever-evolving, increasingly prolific genre. We aim to provide insight into innovative textbook publications while validating the scholarly work that goes into them.

We’re particularly interested in publishing textbook reviews that examine how our field’s theories can and do intersect with our pedagogical praxis. To this end, our Fall 2011 issue reviewed Wardle and Downs’s Writing about Writing. Spring 2012 included a review essay exploring Fountainhead Press’s Voices series of thematic readers through the lens of sustainability.

Forthcoming issues will extend and expand this approach. While we’ll continue to feature reviews of print textbooks, we look forward to reviewing digital genres, including open source textbooks, online accompaniments to conventional print textbooks, and e-reader editions. We invite our readers to send us ideas for textbook reviews by emailing reviews@compositionforum.com. And we hope authors and publishers will keep those desk copies coming!

Volume 25 published

Posted by – February 29, 2012

Composition Forum 25 (Spring 2012) is ready. This issue features an interview with Victor Villanueva, six articles, and more. Get all the details in our “From the Editors” column.

We’d love to hear what you think about this volume of Composition Forum.