CFP: Collection on Contested Writing, 6/26/09

full name / name of organization: 
Mary R. Lamb, Clayton State University
contact email:

Contest(ed) Writing: Reconceptualizing Literacy Competitions(tentative title for edited collection)
Editor: Mary R. Lamb, Clayton State University

“Contested” writing is defined as writing done outside a course requirement or grade, writing for a contest or test, writing that carries rewards (money, position, rank, reputation, credentials), and writing with specific spatial and/or time constraints. This competitive practice began in Ancient Greece with poetry and oration contests that judged the best among others, and directly influenced emerging university teaching, leaving a legacy of contested writing for generations of students. Indeed, some versions of rhetoric and composition emphasize this competition and contest, complete with victors and vanquished. This collection aims to theorize and historicize contested writing in order to offer new ways of thinking about it. To theorize and understand our current practices, this collection will locate historical antecedents in rhetorical and educational practices. In addition, chapters will examine contested writing in academic and popular cultural contexts, theorizing these practices and their implications. Contributors include an afterword by Deborah Brandt and chapters by Beth Burmester, Richard L. Enos, and Lynée L. Gaillet.
Additional contributions that address the following questions are particularly welcome:
• Is contested writing best understood as individual or collaborative authorship or a blend of these? Do contests value competition and individual authorship over cooperation and collaboration? If so, what are the implications (social, political, pedagogical, professional)?
• Why is competitive writing still so charged and valued in popular and academic cultures?
• Through which historical practices can we best understand contested writing today?
• What are the literacy implications of contested writing?
• What frameworks (i.e. Brandt’s literacy sponsors) help us understand contested writing?
• Whose values and interests are served in contested writing practices?
• What social attitudes and literacy values are reinforced in contested writing?
• How have composition pedagogy and curricular design been shaped by contested writing practices?
• What cultural work has/does contested writing accomplish?
• How do technologies shape contested writing? What role does multi-modality play in how writing is contested in the public sphere of digital rhetorics and electronic publishing (weblogs, twitter, Facebook, wikis, YouTube, etc.)?
• How are writing contests or extemporaneous speaking contests represented in popular culture (tv, film, fiction)?
• How does “genre” play a role in contested writing?
• What literacy alternatives are there to contested writing as assessment?

Please send 500-word (approximately) proposals by Friday, June 26, 2009, in a MS Word attachment or in the body of an email. Please include your contact information. Authors whose proposals are accepted will be contacted by July 31, and full drafts are due November 20, 2009.

Send questions and proposals to: Mary R. Lamb;; 678-466-4706

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