Making Meaning: Language, Rhetoric, and Enculturation

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University of Michigan Language and Rhetorical Studies Group

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
November 15-16, 2013

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Shirley Brice Heath, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

The Interdisciplinary Language and Rhetorical Studies Workshop at the University of Michigan invites you to join us for a conference devoted to considering how we make cultural meaning through the linguistic and rhetorical choices that shape our interactions. Theories of enculturation suggest that we interact with one another in rhetorically meaningful ways that are influenced by – and influence – culturally significant literacy practices. These practices are culturally meaningful and yet often idiosyncratic. In considering the relationship between language, rhetoric, and culture, this conference invites papers that explore the process of enculturation, including how it assimilates to and resists cultural norms. This conference functions as a space for graduate and professional students from various disciplines to question, analyze, and theorize the roles that language and rhetoric play in various literacy practices, both past and present.


Conference papers should address in some form the process of enculturation, considering questions about the role that language, rhetoric, or literacy plays in this process. Papers could fall into (but are not limited to) any of the following categories:

• Cultural studies
• Sociolinguistic studies
• Visual/New Media studies
• Social justice and action projects
• Classroom-based discourse and text analyses
• Corpus-based text analyses
• Rhetorical analyses of spoken or written discourse
• Studies of public discourses (e.g., political, environmental, ecological)
• Ethnographies
• Archival research
• Theoretical explorations


Please remember that this is an interdisciplinary conference, and so you should design your presentations to be accessible to an interdisciplinary audience.

All paper proposals should be drafted to suit 75-minute panel discussions. Individual presentations will be organized into panels of three presenters. Each presenter will be given 20 minutes to present in order to allow time for introductions and questions and responses. We are also accepting proposals from panels of three to four speakers. Panels should plan to leave 15 minutes for questions and responses.


Proposals must include the following:
1. Title
2. Abstract (no longer than 250 words)
3. Contact information (author's name, university affiliation, and email address)

Our reviewers will come from a range of disciplines, so please avoid field-specific terminology. The most successful submissions will give reviewers from all fields a clear sense of what will be shared during the actual presentation and how that material relates to the focus of the conference.


Submit proposals by email attachment to Questions and concerns may also be sent to this address.

Proposals must be submitted by email no later than
Monday, September 16, 2013.

We will respond to applicants regarding acceptance no later than October 1st.