CFP: Narrative Inquiry in Writing Centers (11/15/03; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca Jackson
contact email:

Call for Papers

Up Close and Personal: The Possibilities of Narrative Inquiry in Writing

Edited by Rebecca Jackson and Valerie Balester

Over the last several years, researchers from across the disciplines have
begun to (re)discover the value of narrative approaches to qualitative
research. Interests are varied, ranging from analysis of individual, group,
organizational, and cultural narratives-narratives as the focus of
analysis-to the use of narrative as a methodological tool, a way of both
inviting and writing "stories" that celebrate subjectivity, contingency,
intimacy, and possibility. To date, discussions of narrative in writing
center studies have focused almost exclusively on this last objective, on
the use of researchers' and participants' narratives as both a
legitimate-epistemologically appropriate-form of scholarly discourse and way
of knowing.

The emphasis on researchers' stories is an important one, particularly
because it lays the groundwork for an extended discussion of narrative
research in our field, on narrative as a mode and site of inquiry. As
writing center researchers, teachers, administrators, and tutors, we have
much to gain by making a full and formal "turn toward narrative." Narrative
analysis of previously published work in writing centers, for example, would
enable us to map changes in our disciplinary identity over time; narrative
analysis would offer insight, as well, into tutor socialization, the nature
of consultant-writer talk and interaction, or the institutional,
disciplinary, and cultural narratives that shape our approaches to such
things as tutor training or work with faculty from across the disciplines.
As a mode of inquiry, narrative interviews might be used to create rich
portraits of writers, tutors, and administrators, while research written in
experimental narrative forms would give voice to both researchers and
research participants. As we hope these potential topics illustrate,
narrative inquiry in writing centers is rich, yet largely unexplored,

We invite proposals for an edited collection entitled Up Close and Personal:
The Possibilities of Narrative Inquiry in Writing Centers. We envision
the collection organized around three key sections: (1) research using
narrative as a mode of inquiry; (2) research on narrative(s) as a site of
inquiry; and (3) theoretical and practical discussions of the promises and
limitations of narrative inquiry in writing centers. We are particularly
interested in essays that explore the intersections of narrative, culture,
and identity and the ways in which narratives are both inescapable and
malleable-shaping, yet capable of being resisted, transformed, and/or

Possible topics and questions include, but are not limited to, the

I. Narrative as a mode of inquiry
· How might narrative-based interviews be used to understand tutors',
students', administrators', and faculties' writing center-related
experiences, attitudes, identities, constructions of others, etc.?

· What do narrative-based interviews suggest about tutors',
students', administrators', and faculties' writing center-related
experiences, attitudes, identities, constructions of others, etc.?

· How might narrative-based interviews contribute to outcomes
assessment and program evaluation? How have narrative-based interviews
contributed to outcomes assessment and program evaluation?

· How might narrative be used to prompt student, tutor, administrator
reflection? How has narrative prompted student, tutor, administrator

· What portraits of writers, administrators, and tutors emerge from
narrative-based interviews and/or written reconstruction of experience in
narrative form?

· What does a narrative approach to writing center space-location,
architecture, layout-tell us about issues of identity, status, power,
institutional relationships, etc.?

II. Narrative as a site of inquiry
· What kinds of narratives get told in various writing center
interactions-tutor/tutor, tutor/student, tutor/administrator,
administrator/administrator, administrator/faculty? What forms do these
narratives take?

· How do student writers negotiate, enact, complicate, and/or resist
various institutional narratives and identities?

· How do particular writing centers enact, complicate, and/or resist
the institutional narratives that shape their work?

· What "master narratives" shape and are shaped by writing centers
and writing center work?

· How do various forms of discourse analysis-conversation analysis,
critical discourse analysis, for example-illuminate actual instances of
narrative talk in writing centers?

· What disciplinary narratives compete for privilege in our field?

· What stories emerge from various kinds of writing center documents:
tutor training materials, publicity materials, instructional materials?

III. Promises and Challenges of Narrative Inquiry
· What is the future of narrative inquiry in writing centers? What
directions are we moving in? What directions should we move in?

· What are the limitations of narrative inquiry in writing centers?

· What challenges does narrative inquiry present?

· What do tutors and administrators need to know about narrative
inquiry? How might narrative inquiry be integrated into tutor training
and/or professional development initiatives?

· What kinds of experimental forms does narrative inquiry make

Deadline for Proposals: Please send 2 copies of a 300-500 word proposal,
including your name, institutional affiliation, and tentative paper title,
by November 15, 2003 to Rebecca Jackson, Department of English, Southwest
Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, 78666. Email submissions are also
welcome and should be sent to Rebecca Jackson,

For information or inquiries, please email Rebecca Jackson (address above)
or Valerie Balester, We are happy to meet with
potential contributors at the 2003 IWCA conference in Hershey, PA.

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Received on Wed Jul 30 2003 - 18:41:39 EDT

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