Spatial Innovations in Rhetoric and Writing

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Eric Detweiler and Nate Kreuter
contact email: 

CFP: Spatial Innovations in Rhetoric and Writing (edited collection)


In the 1980s, a group of graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin began drilling holes and wrestling network cables through walls, scrounging up and pilfering computers, and ultimately establishing one of the first computer labs to be affiliated with an English Department and a writing program. Nowadays, that lab is known as the Digital Writing and Research Lab (DWRL), and it has been joined by an array of similarly inventive spaces: labs, centers, studios, and myriad hybrids and alternatives. Such spaces have reshaped the pedagogical parameters of rhetoric and writing studies in remarkable ways. However, in the field’s scholarship, they are often overshadowed by the classroom, rhetoric and writing’s conventional pedagogical terrain.


Inspired by the ongoing legacy of the DWRL and its existing and emerging counterparts, and building on the established body of scholarship on space in rhetoric and writing studies, the editors of this collection seek to draw fresh scholarly attention to innovative spatial arrangements in the field, focusing especially on these two questions: (1) Practically speaking, what inventive roles are such spaces playing in our field’s pedagogy and research, particularly as universities are stretched for resources and physical space grows harder to secure? (2) How might theorizing such academic spaces help us reimagine the future of rhetoric and writing pedagogy as well as the field’s place in contemporary higher education and the liberal arts?


Even as higher education has frequently constrained rhetoric and writing instruction to certain kinds of pedagogical spaces (e.g., writing classrooms and centers), the teaching of rhetoric and writing has always had a dynamic relationship with space. We might think of the long history of peripatetic pedagogy or the strong connection between ancient gymnasia and rhetorical education (Hawhee; Pederson). We might consider the rhetorical and civic spaces of the Highlander Folk School (Schneider) or the on- and off-campus locations where rhetoricians organize workshops and community literacy events (Banks; Driskill). Perspectives based in spatial rhetorics (Enoch; Reynolds; Rice), expansive and shifting modalities of writing (Shipka), or enculturation into disciplines or communities through novel writing spaces (Prior) might all serve to enrich our understanding of the relationships between rhetoric, writing pedagogy, and space.


Given the cramped spatial realities of contemporary higher education and, despite those conditions, rhetoric and writing studies’ rich history of (re)inventing the spaces in which teaching takes place, this collection invites submissions that document new and renewed approaches to pedagogical space, whether from a practical or theoretical perspective. These spaces could be repurposed classrooms, experimental labs, innovative corners of writing centers, digital fora, or speculative possibilities not yet realized, but our hope is that this call will introduce us and the collection’s readers to spatial arrangements we have yet to imagine. We invite contributors to consider such questions as:


  • In looking back at the history of rhetoric and writing education, what novel uses of and relations to space deserve renewed attention?

  • How are the material realities of our educational institutions fostering or requiring new approaches to the spaces in which rhetoric and writing education takes place, including the labor issues involved in who staffs and teaches in such spaces?

  • How does the teaching of rhetoric and writing look outside of the conventional classrooms that are often the focus of rhetoric and writing pedagogy and the field’s scholarship?

  • How can spatial rearrangements help address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our teaching and research?

  • In a time of ongoing austerity for public education, what strategies and tactics have proven useful for repurposing or securing novel pedagogical spaces?

  • How might higher education’s current rhetorical and material realities lead us to rethink and re-theorize space?

  • How are digital technologies reshaping our pedagogical spaces, both in online spaces (e.g., social media networks, online courses) and digitally focused on-campus spaces (e.g., makerspaces, digital labs and centers)?

  • What speculative spaces might shape the future of rhetoric and writing pedagogy?

  • How are spaces important beyond pedagogy, for the thinking and research and writing that drive the discipline?


We wish to emphasize that this CFP and its invitations are not limited to well-funded spaces at institutions traditionally viewed as prestigious. We welcome contributions from teachers and scholars at community colleges, tribal colleges and universities, HBCUs, and HSIs, including pieces that document low- to no-budget DIY experiments and spatial workarounds–not just documentation of spaces at high-profile research institutions that have successfully secured substantial internal or external funding.


Our hope is that this collection will help the discipline (re)imagine pedagogical, research, and experimental spaces, as well as help individual teachers and program administrators grasp all available means of persuasion in advocating for or re-allocating spaces of and for writing instruction. 


Proposals of approximately 500 words are due by Jan. 31, 2023. Questions and/or proposals should be emailed to editors Eric Detweiler ( and Nate Kreuter ( Submitters will be notified of their proposal’s acceptance status by Feb. 28, 2023, with full drafts of proposed chapters due by Jun. 30, 2023.