CFP: Controversy in the Composition Classroom (4/27/05; CCCC, 3/22/06-3/25/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Gina Merys Mahaffey
contact email:

Panel: "Positively Controversial: Using Contentious
Subjects to Promote Meaningful Writing"
2006 CCCC Annual Convention in Chicago, March 22-25, 2006.

Although the current trend seems to be one of consistently
shying away from discussing topics that are particularly
inciting to students in our composition classes in an effort
to stay the middle ground, we argue that there specific ways
to and reasons for inviting controversy into the classroom.
For instance, using so-called "hot button" issues in a
writing course can embolden students to learn how to discuss
their opinions openly and honestly while also producing
writing that remains authentic to their individual value
systems. Additionally, creating dissonance within a
classroom can create a space in which students become
familiar with several sides to an issue rather than relying
on a false notion of an only two-sided debate. While at
times tricky to negotiate, fostering a certain amount of
discord in the classroom can be beneficial to students'
growth as proficient writers as well as reflective citizens
of the world. As such, students become better equipped to
establish receptive communities and real coalitions within
the classroom as well as in other areas of their lives.

Thus, papers for this panel will explore ways in which the
classroom can be enhanced through controversy and
controversial subjects.

Please send abstracts by April 27, 2005 to one of the
following contacts (email submissions preferred):

Gina M. Merys
Department of English
Saint Louis University
3800 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108


Susan Fanetti
Department of English Language and Literature
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Edwardsville, IL 62026

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Received on Sun Apr 17 2005 - 08:29:47 EDT

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