Guest editors: Chris C. Palmer, Kennesaw State University; Amanda Sladek, University of Nebraska-Kearney; & Jennifer Stone, University of Alaska Anchorage
The relationship between writing and language studies is complex and sometimes contradictory. On the one hand, it has been characterized in terms related to misunderstanding, othering, and disciplinary division (Donahue, 2018; McComiskey, 2006). On the other hand, writing studies has engaged with language in exciting, productive ways, particularly as it relates to translanguaging, language rights, and world/global Englishes. Yet, as noted by Matsuda (2014), writing studies scholarship—even when it focuses on language—rarely draws on the work of linguists and language historians. Even explicitly historical scholarship often exhibits similar traits: language historians often draw heavily on writing as an object of study but do not always acknowledge their own work as part of writing studies, while historians of writing studies have primarily focused on the field’s emergence in 20th-century university teaching contexts. This raises the question of what else “the historical” can entail for the fields of writing studies, language studies, and their confluences.
The flowing of rivers is a common metaphor for language diversity within historical studies of English (Morse-Gagné, 2019; Smith & Kim, 2018). A confluence occurs when two rivers come together, often in powerful and surprising ways. We see the confluence of writing studies and the history of English as an underexamined area needing additional exploration and mapping. This special issue extends the historical scope of writing studies broadly and WAC/WID specifically to include the history of the English language. Examining these confluences can yield dynamic and innovative insights, including situating “proper English” as a social construct, illuminating the ideological roots of emphasizing English in writing classrooms, and broadening understandings of the roots of writing practices in various institutional and professional contexts within and outside university halls.
The issue will explore ways in which the study of language change and variation can contribute to rhetoric and writing studies, and vice versa. Language history, as we construe it, can consider any period, from the origins of English to its use one moment ago, inclusive of its contact and mixing with other languages. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
In addition to the above questions, we encourage proposals on a range of topics related to the intersections of writing studies and history of English language studies, including rhetorical genre studies (e.g., Devitt, 2021); world and global Englishes (e.g., Jenks & Lee, 2020); the study of creative, literary, or public writing (e.g., Bokamba, 2015; Walker, 2020); the history of rhetoric and rhetorical theory; pedagogy and curriculum development; and cross-disciplinary explorations of method, theory, and/or practice. We also welcome empirical studies describing the results of teaching interventions, professional development, and other “on-the-ground” work at the confluences of writing studies and the history of the English language.
We invite single- and co-authored proposals of no more than 500 words by new and seasoned history of English and/or writing studies scholars. Submissions will be considered from faculty of all ranks, including lecturers, contingent faculty, independent scholars, graduate students, and writing center specialists. We also invite co-authored proposals by undergraduate students working with faculty mentors. Please submit proposals to the co-editors: Chris C. Palmer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Amanda Sladek (email@example.com), and Jennifer Stone (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 26, 2023. Drafts will be due from authors in October 2023 for peer review, with a targeted publication date of Summer 2024. We are happy to meet with prospective authors any time before this date, so please contact us with questions or ideas.
Anson, C. M. (2012). Black holes: Writing across the curriculum, assessment, and the gravitational invisibility of race. In A. B. Inoue & M. Poe (Eds.), Race and writing assessment (pp. 15–28). Peter Lang.
Bokamba, E. G. (2015). African Englishes and creative writing. World Englishes, 34(3), 315–335. https://doi.org/10.1111/weng.12145
Cameron, D. (2012). Verbal hygiene. Routledge.
Canagarajah, S. (2013). Translingual practice: Global Englishes and cosmopolitan relations. Routledge.
Curzan, A. (2014). Fixing English: Prescriptivism and language history. Cambridge University Press.
Devitt, A. J. (2021). The blurred boundaries of genres-in-use: Principles and implications from rhetorical genre studies for English historical linguistics. In P. J. Grund & M. E. Hartman (Eds.), Studies in the history of the English language VIII: Boundaries and boundary-crossings in the history of English (Vol. 108, pp. 45–72). De Gruyter Mouton. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110643282
Donahue, C. (2018). “We are the ‘other’”: The future of exchanges between writing and language studies. Across the Disciplines, 15(3), 130–143.
Flowers, K. S. (2019). Writing studies’ concessions to the English-only movement: Revisiting CCCC’s national language policy and its reception. College Composition and Communication, 71(1), 31–59.
Gilyard, K. (2016). The rhetoric of translingualism. College English, 78(3), 284–289.
Horner, B., & Trimbur, J. (2002). English only and U.S. college composition. College Composition and Communication, 53(4), 594-630.
Jenks, C., & Lee, J. W. (2020). Translanguaging and world Englishes. World Englishes, 39(2), 218–221. https://doi.org/10.1111/weng.12455
Kiernan, J., Frost, A., & Blum Malley, S. (2021). Translingual pedagogical perspectives: Engaging domestic and international students in the composition classroom. Utah State University Press.
Lippi-Green, R. (2012). English with an accent (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Lyons, S. (2000). Rhetorical sovereignty: What do American Indians want from writing? College Composition and Communication, 51(3), 447–68.
Matsuda, P. K. (2014). The lure of translingual writing. PMLA, 129(3), 478–483. https://doi.org/10.1632/pmla.2014.129.3.478
McComiskey, B. (2006). English studies: An introduction to the discipline(s). National Council of Teachers of English.
Milu, E. (2022). Toward a decolonial translingual pedagogy for Black immigrant students. In T. Do & K. Rowan (Eds.), Racing translingualism in composition: Toward a race-conscious translingualism (pp. 123–142). Utah State University Press.
Morse-Gagné, E. (2011). From Sutton Hoo to Tougaloo: Teaching HEL at an HBCU. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching, 18(1), 19–33.
Morse-Gagné, E. (2019). Language variation: Which strand is the real river? In C. Moore and C. C. Palmer (Eds.), Teaching the history of the English language (pp. 38-43). MLA.
Powell, M. (2002). Rhetorics of survivance: How American Indians use writing. College Composition and Communication, 53(3), 396–434.
Schendl, H. & Wright, L. (Eds.). (2011). Code-switching in early English. De Gruyter Mouton.
Sevenker, J. R. (2019). HEL for composition studies: Critical language awareness. In C. Moore and C. C. Palmer (Eds.), Teaching the history of the English language (pp. 302-311). MLA.
Smith, K. A., & Kim, S. M. (2018). This language, a river: A history of English. Broadview Press.
Walker, C. (2020). Lifeworld discourse, translingualism, and agency in a discourse genealogy of César Chávez’s literacies. Literacy in Composition Studies, 8(1), 21–46. https://doi.org/10.21623/18.104.22.168