Sunday, April 25, 2010

CFP: Rhetoric and Writing across Language Boundaries

Call for Proposals — Due February 15, 2011
Scholars in rhetoric and composition have increasingly recognized that communication today involves an engagement with multiple languages and literacies. This realization has been motivated by developments in globalization, new media technology, and postcolonial perspectives, all trends in the field that have called attention to the transnational flow of people and texts and to the hybridity of language itself. Practitioners now acknowledge that developing proficiency solely in Standardized Written English is inadequate for contemporary communicative needs. Further, practitioners also realize that judging the competencies of second language writers and rhetors according to native English speaker norms fails to do justice to the rich resources multilinguals bring to communication.

The ability to address these emergent needs is hampered by the monolingual assumptions informing our disciplinary discourses and pedagogical practices. Such assumptions have included the following: that writers acquire rhetorical competence one language at a time; that rhetorical proficiency is made up of separate competencies for separate languages; that texts are informed by rhetorical values unique to the different languages in which they are constructed; and that only one rhetorical tradition provides coherence for a text at a given time. In light of such trends, scholars in rhetoric and composition now call for the study of the cross-language relations of writers and writing in order to reconfigure the discourses and practices of our discipline.

To pursue this mission, conference participants are invited to address the following questions:

What are the unique strategies multilingual speakers bring to rhetoric and writing?

How can text be conceptualized differently in order to accommodate hybrid codes and conventions?

How do we conceive of rhetorical and written competence if contact between languages is the norm in today’s society?

What rhetorical resources help one communicate across language boundaries?

What are the new genres evolving in the linguistic contact zones?

What pedagogical strategies facilitate productive engagement with multilingual texts?

How should our assessment rubrics, rhetorical norms, and writing standards be revised to accommodate language diversity?

What curriculum and policy changes may help schools and universities make spaces for the rhetorical resources multilingual students bring to classrooms?

The program committee invites proposals for papers focusing on the questions above and on any subject that provides fresh perspectives on multilingualism in rhetoric and composition. As was the case in previous conferences, the papers presented in the conference will be considered for inclusion in a book to be published on this subject.

Submit carefully written abstracts (250 words) that include your name, paper title, professional affiliation, institution name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address via e-mail attachment to

Call for proposals are due February 15, 2011.

During April 2011 you will receive e-mail notification regarding abstract acceptance.

Important note: Persons whose abstracts are accepted should register for the conference by June 1, 2011.

Questions regarding proposals should be sent to:
Suresh Canagarajah
Kirby Professor in English and Applied Linguistics
303 Sparks Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802

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