Patrick article reprinted

Posted by – December 11, 2010

We are pleased to note that Amy Patrick’s “Sustaining Writing Theory,” originally published in CF 21, has been selected for inclusion in Best Writing from Independent Composition and Rhetoric Journals: 2010. The collection will be published by Parlor Press. Editors Steve Parks, Linda Adler-Kassner, Brian Bailie, and Collette Caton hope to have the book in hand by this year’s CCCC.

Congratulations to Amy, and thank you to everyone involved in the Best Writing 2010 collection.

Foster article reprinted

Posted by – September 22, 2010

Congratulations to Helen Foster, whose article “Kairos and Stasis Revisited: Heuristics for the Critical Composition Classroom” (CF 14.2, 2005) will be published in Margaret M. Strain’s Principles and Practices: Discourses for the Vertical Curriculum (Hampton, 2011).

Theory and Composition Forum

Posted by – August 30, 2010

Recently, a reader’s report was returned to me with a comment suggesting that the submitted manuscript might be “too theoretical” for publication in Composition Forum. This comment prompted me, as Managing Editor, to reflect on the role of theory in the featured articles in our journal.

Of course, such a reflection begs the question of what theory is, and I suspect you’ll forgive as much, so as to avoid another extended etymological investigation of the Greek theoria and praxisComposition Forum, as its subtitle announces, is a “journal of pedagogical theory in rhetoric and composition,” and thus aims to publish work that theorizes practice in sophisticated and provocative ways, or to put it another way that practices theory in sophisticated and provocative ways.  So that’s the easy answer to the query that launched this discussion.

The more difficult question is:  what amount of theory in a manuscript would be “too much,”  what would be “too little,” and what would be “just right.”  Trust me, the “too little” scenario is the easiest to recognize and to describe.  This is the kind of submission that amounts to little more than detailed lesson plans or assignments, or “research” bereft of any methodological articulation nor any speculative discussion regarding results, or an essay that reveals a surprising unfamiliarity with the current issues or debates within the field of rhetoric and composition.  But what might be “too much” theory?  I suppose the easy answer would be the case of a submitted essay that had no conversation with or implications for the teaching of writing.   Note, however, that I did not specify that the theory had to have a pedagogical application or that it had to be translated into praxis.  On the contrary, I can imagine many a worthy investigation into how a theory could not be appropriated by classroom practices or how a theory would be at conflict with writing pedagogy or how a theory could not explain the results of a classroom study of student writers.  So what amount of theory would be “just right”?  Although not reducible to a golden mean, the “just right” essay would contribute to the ongoing conversation of our field by responding to the published scholarship in complex ways that would construct provocative ways of knowing, thinking, and doing in rhetoric and composition studies.

To this end, we invite submissions that investigate composition theory and its relation to the teaching of writing at the post-secondary level.  We welcome essays that examine specific pedagogical theories or that explore how theory informs (or should inform) writing instruction, writing practices, and research into the complex literacies of our time.

Please visit our Submissions page, and send us your manuscripts or queries.  We look forward to publishing your “just right” essay.

With best regards,

Michelle Ballif
Managing Editor

Note:  All articles published in Composition Forum are subject to rigorous peer review by at least two reviewers who are experts in the topical area.

Reviews at Composition Forum

Posted by – July 19, 2010

Featuring a mix of new and experienced voices—both in the texts we select and the authors who review them—is part of our mission as book reviews editors. Our reviews and review essays speak to the diverse interests of Composition Forum’s broad readership. The current issue—our second as book reviews editors—includes reviews that address basic writing pedagogy, linguistics, online writing pedagogy, writing assessment, and community literacy. Upcoming reviews will explore these and other issues. We’ll continue to highlight writing pedagogy, program assessment, and technology; we’ll also review texts concerned with literacy; critical theory; race, gender, and sexuality studies; visual and multimedia rhetoric; and writing centers. We are always looking to expand the types of texts we review, and future reviews could include style manuals, textbooks, multimedia texts, and even technologies themselves, like the Kindle or the Nook.

We typically commission reviews, an increasingly common practice at academic journals in rhetoric and composition. We strive to make the review process as fair and objective as possible, and we discourage reviews of texts written by colleagues in one’s own academic department, reviews of works by former mentors or students, or reviews of books in which one has participated in the editorial process (as a manuscript reviewer, for example, or as a member of an editorial board). In fairness to book authors, we need to establish that a reviewer has the credentials to review the text in question. While graduate students certainly can possess this expertise, reviews written as a seminar assignment may not reflect sufficient understanding of the review genre or the field.

A successful review does both. It shows a balance of summary and analysis, depth of critical assessment, and willingness to assert an opinion. A successful review also conveys an informed opinion, situating the text in question in relation to recent scholarship and larger trends in composition studies.

Our work requires a robust community of prospective reviewers with a range of expertise. With that in mind, we invite you to join our pool of reviewers by emailing your curriculum vitae to Please include a brief statement of your scholarly interests in the body of your message. We also welcome comments and suggestions.

Volume 22 Now Available

Posted by – June 24, 2010

The newest volume of Composition Forum is now available!

Volume 22 features an interview with Susan Jarratt and articles focusing on pedagogical theory in composition. This volume also includes two program profiles describing writing programs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and at Oakland University.

Along with the interview, articles, and program profiles, CF 22 offers five reviews of new texts of interest to writing scholars and teachers.

Thanks for visiting the journal! We welcome your suggestions and comments about this volume.

Editors’ Roundtable at CCCC on Wednesday, March 17th

Posted by – March 16, 2010

Composition Forum will participate in the Research Network Forum at this year’s CCCC Convention in Louisville, KY. Join us on Wednesday, March 17th from 1:30-2:45 in Ballroom V at the Louisville Marriott.

We would love to hear about your scholarly work and to tell you a bit about Composition Forum‘s features and future plans. Look for CF Editor Christian Weisser at the Editors’ Roundtable.

Volume 21 now available!

Posted by – February 15, 2010

Composition Forum 21 is now available.

This volume features an interview with Cindy Selfe, and articles focusing on web literacy and on sustainability in composition. CF 21 also includes two Program Profiles describing writing programs at SUNY Binghamton and the University of Minnesota Duluth. In addition, Volume 21 contains three book reviews and a review essay that examines recent books on activist rhetorics.

We thank you for visiting the journal, and we welcome your suggestions and comments about this volume.

CF and Creative Commons

Posted by – November 8, 2009

When we published CF 20, we decided to make all content published in the journal open access, using the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. I’d like to provide a bit of background on open access, explain how the license we chose works, and offer some reasons for our adoption of it. More

Volume 20 now available!

Posted by – July 4, 2009

The newest volume of Composition Forum is now available at the “Current Issue” link above.

This volume features an interview with Gary Olson and three articles focusing on different dimensions of the academic work of writing specialists. CF 20 also includes two Program Profiles describing the first year writing programs at California State University, Fresno and Eastern Michigan University. In addition, Volume 20 contains reviews of three new books in rhetoric and composition.

Thanks for visiting the journal, and we welcome your suggestions and comments about this volume.

Consider Submitting a Program Profile

Posted by – April 28, 2009

Those of us who direct writing programs recognize how difficult it can be to balance administrative and scholarly work. While we produce a number of in-house publications or internal program documents, we don’t have as many opportunities to frame and present these to our colleagues in the field. The Program Profiles section of Composition Forum provides an opportunity for those of us who engage in various kinds of program administration and curriculum development work to share that work with others in our field at the same time as it provides an opportunity to have that work recognized as scholarship.

As co-editors of the Program Profiles section of the journal, we invite you to submit profiles of your FYC, WAC, undergraduate, or graduate programs in Rhetoric and Composition. Profiles are generally 2,000 to 4,000 words and should include a general description of the program, the theory informing the program, a structural description of the program, institutional constraints, and a section that explains what you’ve learned from your directorship of the program or what you might do differently based on your experience.

To send queries or manuscripts, please contact our Program Profile Editors, Mary Jo Reiff and Anis Bawarshi.