NeMLA CFP: Growth in Writing, Teaching, and Learning

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Hilarie Ashton
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In his classic composition text Writing Without Teachers, Peter Elbow asks us to consider the metaphor of growing as a way to encourage and teach fluid, flexible writing: "Instead of a two-step transaction of meaning-into-language, think of writing as an organic, developmental process in which you start writing at the very beginning -- before you know your meaning at all -- and encourage your words gradually to change and evolve" (15). The idea of growth applies to so many aspects of scholarship, as we approach the profession simultaneously as teachers, students, and researchers in our own rights. This conference seeks to explore the idea of growth broadly conceived, thinking about the ways we develop our writing and teaching, as well as the ways our students' writing develops.

The concept of growth can be expanded to include the ways that our research process in the archives progresses, the ways our work as coders and activists develops from thought to working projects, and our approaches to professionalization in higher education. We will be soliciting papers from across English studies and other disciplines, recognizing the interconnected nature of our work in the classroom and outside of it. We seek out papers that creatively use growth and/or Elbowian "growing" as a way of metacognitively looking at the work we do as well as at moments in literature and rhetoric that speak to process and change. In revisiting a touchstone metaphor in the field of composition and rhetoric through a lens that welcomes the diverse perspectives of a variety of subfields, this NeMLA panel hopes to expand conversations about development, processes, change, and writing.

Possible paper topics may include:

Transfer studies and growth: knowledge-making; development and genre in the classroom; the writing process and transfer; Writing about Writing and Elbow's idea of "growing"; transfer in the literature classroom

The writing process and pedagogy: new approaches to process pedagogy; Basic Writing and writing development; writing program administration and curricular development; Elbow in the classroom; Felt Sense; the embodied writing process; growth and accessibility in the first year composition classroom; Elbow and the writing center

Creative writing and process: "growing" and creative writing courses; Elbow in our own creative ventures; voice and growth; authors and their writing process

Digital Humanities and growth: building and "growing"; Elbow and the new media classroom; project or grant development; re-visiting DH projects for growth and change; collaboration and "growing"; technology change

Growth and literature: figures in literature and growth; bildungsroman; idea of process; moments of change; pedagogy in literature; identity change; development; ecological growth; economic change

Growth and historical moments: rhetoric and change; intrainfluential theories/theoretical moments; the play of forward and backward; new ways of looking at the influence of the past

Growth and the profession: growth and Elbowian pedagogy as antidote to writers' block and imposter syndrome; growth and collaborative research; growth and working archival research; growth and activism; need for change in university system; developments in academic publishing

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