Month: October 2013

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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