CFP: Rhetoric/Composition/Play: How Electronic Games Mediate Composition Theory and Practice (and Vice Versa) (1/15/2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Matthew S. S. Johnson / Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Rhetoric/Composition/Play: How Electronic Games Mediate Composition Theory and Practice (and Vice Versa)

Computer and video games continue to inundate the entertainment market, and culture along with it. Traditional text games, adventure games, first-person shooters, the immersive worlds of role-playing games (massively multiplayer or otherwise), simulations, "casual" games such as solitaire, and even web advertisements posing as games have formed a landscape rich with opportunities to examine composition-rhetoric's history, theory, pedagogy, and practice, where scholars can use, examine, and imagine the impact of games and gaming on writing.

Writing and rhetoric permeate games and game communities, and as a recent Pew study found, the civic engagement of gamers is greater than that of non-gamers, with higher instances of players considering moral and ethical issues as well as social responsibility -- and in many cases, communicating with others about these issues. Engaged writing is also connected to the way gamers learn the complicated strategies, tactics, and rhetorics within game worlds, while games are increasingly used as tools to teach writing.

Rhetoric/Composition/Play will be an edited collection designed for scholars new to computer/video games as well as those who are more expertly versed. The book will consist of academic essays that assess, theorize, and contextualize computer/video games vis-à-vis composition-rhetoric. We invite 900-1200-word proposals for this proposed collection. Specifically, we invite proposals that investigate the following (although the lists are not exhaustive):

1) Rhetorical theory and computer/video games (Theory: Rhetorical/Critical/Ideological/Cultural)
• How do various rhetorical theories intersect with game and play theories?
• How does playing games foster rhetorical readings of gaming spaces for the gamer?
• How does playing games necessitate certain rhetorical strategies and practices within game worlds and/or communities?
• What kinds of rhetorical agents and/or agency does playing games construct?
• How do other theoretical and critical approaches intersect with game and play theories?
• How do rhetorical, critical, ideological, and cultural approaches help us better understand the impact of games in literacy practices?
• What roles do games play as objects of production/ consumption?
• What are other assessments and critiques of the intersections between rhetorical and critical theory and computer/video games?

2) Composition and computer/video games (Practice: Writing/Learning/Playing)
• How and to what extent are processes of gaming, playing, and writing similar or divergent?
• How do game design and writing as design overlap?
• What are other assessments and critiques of the connections between writing and computer/video games?

3) Writing pedagogy and computer/video games (Praxis: Pedagogy/Composition/Gaming)
• How can electronic games help us reconceptualize classroom spaces?
• How can gaming worlds become pedagogical spaces?
• How can electronic games inform traditional writing practice?
• How can electronic games inform a critical, cultural pedagogy that facilitates students' critical reading and rewriting of game spaces?
• What are other examinations of pedagogies that use electronic games to teach rhetorical and/or writing concepts and practices?
• What are some critiques, examinations, historicizations of current pedagogical trajectories of using off-the-shelf games, serious games, games-for-learning, and simulation in the writing classroom?
• What are the pedagogical differences between teaching with a game designed specifically for pedagogical purposes and teaching with a game designed originally for entertainment?

Send 900-1200-word proposals with brief author bio (with university affiliation) via email to Matthew S. S. Johnson (email: matjohn at siue dot edu) AND Richard & Rebekah Colby (email: rshultzc at du dot edu). Deadline for proposals is 15 January 2010. Final manuscript length will be approximately 15-35 pages (standard, double-spaced). Queries welcome.