CFP: [Rhetoric-Composition] Essays on Digital Media for Upcoming Collection

full name / name of organization: 
Heather Urbanski
contact email: 

For the upcoming essay collection "Writing (and) the Digital Generation"
(under contract with McFarland), I am soliciting contributions that analyze
the many facets of participatory digital entertainment. The key assumption
of this project is that, contrary to the claim that “no one reads anymore,”
a vast “Digital Generation” actually engages in more rhetorical activity
than perhaps any before. This collection seeks essays that describe and
document these participatory activities and how they are changing how we
see writing, perhaps permanently.

The collection will be organized around the following types of
participatory entertainment: 1) The TV Fan; 2) The Sports Fan; 3) The
Gamer; 4) The Filmmaker; and 5) The Chronicler. It will include two kinds
of essays:
1) Traditional academic essays (approximately 5,000 words each).
2) Participant portraits (approximately 1,000 words briefly describing what
it’s like for those who engage directly and regularly in participatory

Priority will be given to those authors who are members of the online
communities they are discussing. I am looking for fans of participatory
entertainment to analyze their own interests, as opposed to academics who
stand outside the community and then theorize about the activities they
observe. Graduate students and junior faculty are especially encouraged to
submit abstracts.

Since the underlying assumption of this collection is that participatory
digital entertainment is, perhaps counter-intuitively, increasing the
rhetorical activity of popular culture, please keep your focus on how we
use digital media for entertainment, for “play,” as opposed to for social
and/or political activism or simply social networking. The goal is to
present a series of portraits of the rhetorical activity of participatory
entertainment so the more specific the better.

While theoretical approaches are welcome, please keep in mind that the
primary audience includes both fans and academics. I am also looking for
the collection to maintain a pedagogical tone, with conclusions designed to
help instructors of all grade levels better understand the rhetorical
activities students are engaging in outside the classroom.

I am particularly interested in essays describing the rhetoric of Second
Life and other avatar-based online activities. A preliminary list of other
potential topics include:
- Online sports Fantasy Leagues.
- Television fandom converging on the web.
- Fan films.
- Blogging as rhetorical activity.
- Digital film-making and YouTube as distributor.
- Fan fiction.
- MMORPGs as rhetorical activity.

Please submit abstracts (as Word or .rtf email attachments) for essays
targeted at 5,000 words or for participant portraits at 1,000 words by
November 15, 2007 to Heather Urbanski at

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Received on Thu Aug 30 2007 - 10:48:48 EDT