The full CFP for the Collaborative is available here.  

Event Details

The 2020 IWCA Collaborative will be held in Milwaukee, WI, on Wednesday, March 25th at the Norman H. Ott Memorial Writing Center, Marquette University. We look forward to launching your CCCCs experience or to offering you a stand-alone experience devoted to contact zones in writing center work. To register, visit the membership portal at

Theme: Contact Zones in Writing Center Work

The 2020 IWCA Collaborative will be held in Milwaukee and will be a space where we examine contact zones in writing center work.

The name “Milwaukee” comes from an Algonquian word Millioke, meaning “Good”, “Beautiful” and “Pleasant Land” (cf. Potawatomi language minwaking, Ojibwe language ominowakiing) or “Gathering place [by the water]” (cf. Potawatomi language manwaking, Ojibwe language, omaniwakiing). Milwaukee was a contact zone for the waves of immigration that were concurrent with the forced removal and oppression of indigenous populations (Doxtator and Zakhar 2011). While contact zones, in the ideal sense of the term, are spaces where we find consensus and commonalities among difference, in reality we are always aiming for this but perhaps not obtaining it. Milwaukee’s history as a crossroads for commerce, disparate as beer making and farming, fueled by a diversity of immigrant populations, is also a deeply traumatic place for indigenous populations. Amidst the current trauma experienced by migrants in our political climate, it’s important to recognize that spaces of growth and opportunity for some are spaces of exploitation and exclusion for others. One group’s land of opportunity is another’s dispossession.

Keeping this in mind, we propose that contact zones are an apt model through which to explore the tension in writing center work and theory. Contact zones are “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power” (Pratt 607). In Writing Center work, contact zones have been deployed by a number of scholars over the last two decades, framing centers themselves as “borderlands,” or linguistic, multicultural, and interdisciplinary contact zones (Severino 1994; Bezet 2003; Sloan 2004; Monty 2016). Other scholars have framed writing centers as critical and postcolonial contact zones for marginalized writers to position themselves in relation to dominant discourses (Bawarshi and Pelkowski 1999; Wolff 2000; Cain 2011). Romeo García (2017) writes that Writing Center contact zones are too often presented as static and represent inequality as fixed or ahistorical conflicts to be resolved or accommodated (49). To create more just spaces, we need to examine the tensions in our work and confront contact zones as shifting and historically grounded. Histories and spaces of injustice call our attention to how institutional corporatization and austerity shapes our labor; how practice and theory can be at odds with each other in our work; how our most vulnerable workers and clients experience writing centers and writing center practice; and how organizational structures affect ethical engagement in writing center pedagogy. In other words, we must consider how contact zones within and surrounding writing centers, such as the broader institution, the State, the government, and other power structures affect our labor and our practice.

Some areas of exploration for proposers could include:

● Anti-racist and anti-fascist practices in writing centers
● Institutional contact zones writing centers face
● Contact zones in writing centers that may arise from race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, disability or otherwise.
● Civic and political action in writing centers
● Mental health concerns in writing centers
● Interdisciplinary engagement in writing centers
● Engagement of students through writing center contact zones
● Linguistic contact zones in writing centers, such as translingualism
● Emotional contact zones in writing center work

Though this is a small set of prompts, we invite any proposals that engage with the contact zones we confront in writing center work, and the practices we can engage to make our centers more just and equitable and the research we conduct to determine the efficacy of these efforts. Proposals should be submitted through the IWCA Members Portal.

We encourage moving away from traditional presentations to create a more dynamic experience. Please consider proposing interactive and engaging workshop-style formats, such as a:

• Roundtable
• Workshop
• Collaborative Writing Circle
• Fishbowl conversation
• Works-in-Progress Presentation (with shared materials)
• Custom (to be proposed by presenters)

Proposals due December 1, 2019
Proposal acceptance notification January 17, 2020
IWCA Collaborative March 25, 2020

Questions? Contact
Dr. Genie Giaimo ( 
and Yanar Hashlamon ( IWCA Collaborative Co-Chairs

 Submit proposals online at