New Media Discourse Communities (MLA 2011 special session)

full name / name of organization: 
Al Harahap/SFSU, Robert Cedillo/UNR

CFP: New Media Discourse Communities

We are looking for other projects to complete our roundtable special session proposal for the MLA 2011 conference in Los Angeles, CA, Jan 6-9, 2011. We are not looking to read our papers to a passive audience, but to have a roundtable discussion, as well as engage the audience (with or without new media demonstrations).

With the growing presence of new media in our lives and those of our students, its emergence in the classroom has been all but predetermined. Moreover, because new media represents wide-ranging and heterogeneous discourse communities, it's important to recognize its reason—some may say necessity—to be a part of classroom pedagogy. Just like our "real life" physical society, however, our digital one includes a panoply of different discourse communities. The dilemma then becomes: Can they all be effective in the language classroom? If so, how? If not, which ones are and aren't?

Our interactive roundtable seeks to include analyses of various new media discourse communities from both the public mainstream (Facebook, Twitter, iPhone users, etc.) and the social margins (4chan, geocaching, etc.) throughout the various language and literature disciplines, with the following concerns:

•How do certain discourse communities define "text" differently from any traditional definitions? How do particular discourse communities complicate our understandings of "text"? How then must the pedagogy of certain disciplines adapt to accommodate these new forms of text?

•What are some behaviors and practices of these discourse communities? And do they have any analogies to non-digital communities? How are they similar or different in comparison?

•How might certain new media discourse communities inform the teaching of: Reading? Expository writing? Creative writing? ESL/EFL? Literary criticism? The teaching of foreign languages and literatures ? How might we incorporate particular discourse communities into our pedagogies?

•What are some of acknowledging and validating these discourse communities as part of academic scholarship? As part of the classroom? What are some implications of rejecting them?

•…or any other topics that may be pertinent to the examination of new media communities.

We welcome other graduate student projects as well as works in progress. Please email your 200-300 words abstract or any questions to both Al Harahap ( and Robert Cedillo ( with subject line "MLA 2010 Abstract" by Monday, Feb 15, 2010. We will inform you of our decisions by Mar 1, 2010.

We look forward to hearing about your projects,
Al Harahap, San Francisco State University
Robert Cedillo, University of Nevada, Reno