SPECIAL ISSUE of The CEA Critic: Living the Teaching Life in a Time of COVID-19

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
College English Association
contact email: 

Special Issue, The CEA Critic:

Living the Teaching Life in a Time of COVID-19

“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me."

Carl Sandburg

Along with almost every organization that was planning to meet this year, the College English Association (CEA) eagerly awaited its annual national conference, in its particular case to beautiful Hilton Head Island. Then, the "black swan event" (many of us had never even heard of the term) occurred: the COVID-19 crisis. For many of us as annual pilgrims to the CEA Conference, the moment meant canceled flights and, even more jarringly, the sudden reality that our classes would go online. This moment gives new meaning to the term familiar to restaurant servers, "on the fly."


For our part as editors of The CEA Critic, what we anticipated as the good fun in assembling the conference's Proceedings issue became as moot as the indefinite suspension of the NBA season. Meanwhile, teachers and citizens alike have been forced to ponder the same root question: how do we proceed day to day? Obviously, there's lots to consider. So, instead of our Proceedings, we at The CEA Critic will assemble a special issue composed of conference-length essays (plus whatever other forms: see below) addressing how you as teachers and scholars are coping with the COVID-19's "new normal." Questions to get you thinking are fairly obvious:

 How are you using the situation in terms of literary, historical, or philosophical discussions with your students?

  • What are you learning about technology, and how will that insight help you when life returns to on-campus teaching?
  • What general responses are you finding with students, and how can those responses be leveraged in terms of student learning objectives?
  • How has the situation affected your scholarly endeavors, whether for better or worse?
  • What do you think the situation has taught about "business as usual" in higher education?
  • What has the situation taught you about yourself as a teacher, especially in your role within your larger society?
  • Given the sudden switch from in-person to online identities, how are you staying sane?

 Beyond these starting questions--they are by no means exhaustive--the spirit of our CFP is that, although we devoutly hope the issue has a short "expiration date" in terms of its occasion, we also want it to be interesting, if not useful, in a post-COVID-19 world.

 Length? We shall take the French meaning of the essay as "to try" seriously here, and we envision essays of about 4-8 double-spaced pages (Times New Roman 12, between 1000 and 2000 words, but we're flexible!) and documented, when necessary, in the form of the MLA 8th edition. In order to keep matters rolling, our deadline is July 1st. Creative work (poetry, CNF, even photos) is welcome. Send questions, comments, and or submissions to CRITICUNCO@gmail.com.

 Finally, everyone, stay safe, stay sane, and be careful out there!