Changing Landscapes, Changing Literacies
TYCA-PNW and PNWCA Joint Conference
Washington State University Vancouver
October 10-11, 2014 in Vancouver, WA
Dr. Sandra Jamieson, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum
June 30, 2014
It might be argued that the geography of American higher education since the turn of the century has been significantly influenced by our shifting definitions of, and assumptions about, literacy and literacy practices. From Plato’s suspicion of writing and rhetoric in ancient Greece, to the move toward mass education in America at the turn of the nineteenth century, and into our current global culture of technology, both historical and contemporary debates suggest that on the topic of literacy, there is much at stake. In fact, current literacy disputes are contributing to the pressures impacting our students and our profession in very profound ways. Some examples:
And in all cases, literacy access remains a central concern as the social and material conditions of literacy acquisition fluctuate and contract—what Deborah Brandt has identified as an acceleration of literacy expectations and demands in our current historical moment.
These debates are likely owing at least in part to the rupture between common discursive constructions of literacy as a simple, static collection of “skills” on the one hand, and the complex web of actual social practices that constitute the 21st-century topography of human literacies, on the other--literacies that are used, valued, and overvalued in often overtly political ways. This rupture reveals how literacy functions as not only a contested term, but also as social and economic currency, perhaps most especially in our colleges and classrooms where reading and writing take center stage.
Emerging from the borders of that rupture, recent trends in English studies, composition and rhetoric, and writing center theory continually shape and reshape our understandings of literacy and literacies, including both what and how we teach when we teach academic texts, reading, and writing. The resultant renewed understandings of literacy have in turn prompted significant questions for how we support student engagement and enact deep learning. Given this context, and our unique roles in supporting student literacies, how might we rethink and reposition the places and spaces that we inhabit—classrooms, writing centers, computer labs, and the very hallways and grassy quads of our varied postsecondary educational institutions? How might we redefine the current literacy landscape?
We invite you to join us in Vancouver, WA, this October to discuss, reflect on, collectively map—and perhaps in some cases challenge—how we support the teaching of writing in our 21st century colleges and universities.
Guidelines: All proposals should address the following:
Session Formats: we encourage a variety of presentation options (all options should allow 15 minutes for discussion, minimum):
a) 50-minute individual presentation
b) 15-minute individual presentations (program chairs will form panels)
c) 50-minute panel presentations: 2-3 individuals present on a central theme
d) 50-minute roundtable discussion: 3-5 presenters address a specific question and facilitate audience discussion
e) 50-minute “ignite” sessions: 5-6 mini-presentations on a central theme (propose as a panel or program chairs will form panels)
f) 50-minute workshops: audience interaction via hands-on practice of a particular learning strategy or central theme
g) 5-minute poster session presentation: posters with accompanying handouts and plan to engage participants in further discussion (program chairs will form poster session groups)