CFP: September 2016 Special Issue of Computers and Composition

Jan 21st, 2014 | By | Category: Publications

Call for Papers
September 2016 Special Issue of
Computers and Composition: An International Journal

Guest Edited By:
Russell Carpenter, Eastern Kentucky University
Sohui Lee, Stanford University

Theme: Pedagogies of Multimodality and the Future of Multiliteracy Centers

While multimodal composition is not new, writing centers have only recently begun to institutionally embrace the “new” idea of the multiliteracy center. Since 2000, a growing number of writing center scholars have addressed the need for as well as the development of multiliteracy centers from concept to theory and practice. Evoking the New London Group’s (1996) term “multiliteracies,” Trimbur (2000) predicted that future writing centers would incorporate digital literacies and that this shift in practice required writing centers to pay special attention to how design impacts written and visual communication. Ten years later, Sheridan and Inman (2010) revisited Trimbur’s argument by further articulating that multiliteracy centers should consider the range of “semiotic options” available to composers in the 21st century. In other words, writing centers should not only recognize the “semiotic” diversity of composition in the digital age, but also support the production of multimodal practices of writing and communicating. More recently in “The Idea of a Multiliteracy Center: Six Responses” (2012), Balester, Grimm, McKinney, Lee, Sheridan, and Silver explore practical and “local contexts” related to new writing centers as they change their identities and connectivity, reassess missions and scopes, and transform staff training and faculty outreach. The transformation of a writing center to a multiliteracy center can be messy, awkward, and complicated, but the authors agree that multiliteracies and multimodal composition are the future of writing center work. The question, then, is no longer whether writing centers will become multiliteracy centers but rather how writing centers will become multiliteracy centers. Building on Sheridan and Inman’s collection Multiliteracy Centers (2010), which investigates these pedagogical challenges, this special issue situates multimodal pedagogies and practices as they are employed now and as they might be developed in the future.

Our understanding of multimodal pedagogies has been enriched by composition scholarship that deepens our view of multiliteracy center work. Selber (2004), for instance, introduced a centralizing theory of multiliteracies through three literacy categories: functional, critical, and rhetorical. Since then, these literacy areas are evident in pedagogical discussions of how multimodal projects support rhetorical knowledge (Ridolfo & DeVoss, 2009; Shipka, 2011; Palmeri, 2012; Reiss & Young, 2013). These scholars apply multimodal composition pedagogies with an interest in the rhetorical impact on student projects, opening the discussion to the reciprocal relationship between these classroom experiences and multiliteracy center practices.

For this special issue, we invite scholars from rhetoric and composition, digital media, visual communication, writing program administration, and writing centers/multiliteracy centers/studios to explore, theorize, and assess pedagogies and practices of multiliteracy centers supporting multimodal composition in digital and non-digital forms. In other words, how have multiliteracy centers supported the work of multimodal composition in the classroom, and how has the writing center’s shift toward multiliteracies impacted composition programs? In addition, we are interested in how multiliteracy centers theoretically and practically engage with pedagogies of multimodality in light of training, space allocation, technology and tools, and programmatic outreach.

Framing questions can include but are not limited to:

●      What are the next steps for multiliteracy centers? In five years? Ten years? What will multiliteracy center pedagogy look like in five or ten years?
●      What is the relationship between composition programs and multiliteracy centers, and how might those relationships develop, change, or expand in the future?
●      How are pedagogical approaches to staff development in multiliteracy centers different from traditional writing centers? That is, do multiliteracy centers require different pedagogical resources? What is the range of challenges multiliteracy centers encounter when consulting students in multiple composition modes such as written, visual, and oral?
●      What is the relationship between multiliteracy centers and rhetorical development when students are asked to compose multimodal projects?
●      What are the current and future spatial, material, and technological considerations and challenges for multiliteracy centers?
●      What are the best practices for programmatic outreach in multiliteracy centers within different institutional contexts?


500-word proposals due: May 16, 2014
Notification of proposal acceptance: June 18, 2014.
Initial manuscript submission due: December 19, 2014
Final revised manuscript due: Sept 25, 2015

Please send proposals and questions to Russell Carpenter at and/or Sohui Lee at

Computers and Composition: An International Journal is a peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to exploring the use of computers in composition classes, writing programs, and scholarly projects. It provides teachers and scholars of writing and rhetoric a forum for discussing issues connected to computer use. The journal also offers information about integrating digital composing environments into writing programs and writing centers on the basis of sound theoretical and pedagogical decisions and empirical evidence.

About the Guest Editors:

Russell Carpenter directs the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity at Eastern Kentucky University, where he is also Assistant Professor of English. With Sohui Lee, he co-edited The Routledge Reader on Writing Centers and New Media (2013).

Sohui Lee is the former Associate Director of the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking at Stanford University and is the founder of its Digital Media Center. She is also Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric where she teaches visual design and multimodal composition.  She is the co-editor (with Russell Carpenter) of The Routledge Reader on Writing Centers and New Media (2013)

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