Special Issue: Researching and Restoring Justice in Writing Centers

2020 Timeline:
February 2: Article proposals due (300-500 words)
End of February: Invitations to submit full articles
End of April: Full draft of manuscripts due (4000-6000 words including references)
Early June: Feedback to authors
Late September: Final drafts due
Fall 2020: Publication of special issue

Editorial Statement:
Our objective for this issue is to amplify the work and profiles of tutors, graduate students, and
emergent scholars (and women, people of color, translingual speakers, and those identifying with other groups underrepresented within the discipline, specifically) not just by creating a platform for publication, but by serving as mentors for those focusing on writing center work and scholarship. While Elisabeth and Monty will be the faculty editors of the journal, we will involve tutors (from our institutions, as well as some that we’ve worked with at conferences) as co-editors in every stage of the process.

We aim for this edited collection to be explicit about, confront, and evolve the ways that academic publication often functions as a gatekeeper. “Writing centers,” Garcia cautions, “are not free from power relations” (pg. 33). Even CFPs, as precursors to this system, perpetuate these iniquities by virtue of whose work is cited and framed to undergird a collection’s legitimacy, and so we choose consciously here to amplify the voices of new and emerging scholars alongside foundational sources from and adjacent to our field. As such, we see this project emerging from the Spring 2019 Special Issue of The Peer Review, (Re)Defining Welcome. Elise Dixon and Rachel Robinson write in the issue’s introduction that, “When we work in a writing center, we (often unknowingly) become preoccupied with the idea of welcome…We perpetuate the idea of comfort to foster a setting for vulnerability, yet how do we know what is comfortable, what welcome means, for everyone who comes into our space?” We see a similar need to interrogate who/what is welcome within disciplinary writing center spaces by transforming publication narratives. We commit to a kind, inclusive editorial practice that will offer feedback and recommendations for all submitted proposals.

Panning back, we see the theme for this issue, “Researching and Restoring Justice in Writing
Centers” as surfacing from the field’s calls for amplifying the ways that social justice manifests not only in/from writing center work, but also within institutions, society, and personal experience. Faison et al. (2019) speak importantly about advancing antiracist practices within writing center professional communities, and recent scholarship from Lockett (2019a), Reich (2018), Saleem (2018), and Angelsey & McBride (2019) gesture importantly to the ways that writing center practitioners can powerfully confront writing center labor as primarily white, heteronormative, monolingual, and able-bodied. To borrow from Poe, Inoue, and Elliot’s (2018) critique of writing assessments, these sorts of restorative justice responses position writing centers as standing in opposition to what dominant neoliberal theories consider as social goods.
Through more concerted efforts to highlight and enact the ideas advocated for by those
underrepresented groups, and by articulating their theories of restorative justice into qualitative
research methodologies that promote application and replication across different contexts, writing center stakeholders can transform writing center labor and research via applications of antiracist, feminist, queer, and/or womanist theory (e.g., Lockett 2019b).

We see this issue as building upon these field-shifting perspectives and utilizing specifically The Peer Review’s platform as a multimodal, open-access, and sustainable forum for disseminating scholarly inquiry and restoring justice. This is a theme that necessarily invites critique: What does it mean to enact “restorative justice”? What does justice in writing centers (and our disciplinary conversations about writing centers) look like? How has justice been shaped institutionally and historically, and how might we shape it differently?

With these objectives and questions of inquiry as starting points, we encourage text-based and
multimodal submissions on a variety of topics, including those that:
● Describe local and sustainable practices for promoting writing center research and
● Critique local and disciplinary practices that inhibit research of social and restorative justice
● Challenge institutional, disciplinary, and political expectations of identity as it pertains to
labor, compensation, and administration
● Articulate qualitative research methods based on theories of justice
● Write using translingual literacies
● Compose historiographic bibliographies of writing center research, identity, and
● Provide insights into research at religious-affiliated, gender specific, Historically Black,
Native American, or Hispanic Service institutions
● Critique or evolve principles of accessibility within writing center spaces/research
● Differentiate and/or align scholarly research and administrative assessment
● Interpret the theme of the special issue in ways that the faculty editors did not anticipate

Submission info summary w/ contact info:
We invite proposals of 300-500 words (due February 2nd, 2020) for articles up to 6000 words
(including notes and references; allowing for variance depending on article mode). We are
especially interested in submissions that showcase arguments in multimodal formats.

Please send all proposals and questions to:
Faculty Guest Editors:
Elisabeth H. Buck
Director, Multiliteracy & Communication Center
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Randall W. Monty
Associate Director, Writing Center
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley