CCCC 2006 in Review
This informative and highly-energetic session held on Saturday, March 25 at 9:30 am, and it was organized and facilitated by the current editor of CCC, Deborah Holdstein. The purpose of the session was, as the title so clearly states, all about improving our chances of getting published in the field's premier journal. We were given lots of good information, both on paper and in the talk, about understanding more clearly the world of scholarly publication. The information ranged from including Holdstein's very strong encouragement to always send a cover letter or cover email whenever submitting any manuscript for consideration ("I will love you," she exclaimed) to developing patience for the long and involved process of peer/editorial board reviews, and to repeated emphases on scholarly accountability.
This last item came up several times, as Holdstein narrated how often she receives manuscripts that seem to have little to no awareness of the literature of the particular focus in the manuscript. Citing our more recently-available bibliographic and textual resources through CompPile, MLA, as well as CCC-Online (soon to be called CCC-Archives), Holdstein made clear that scholars in our field, particularly emerging scholars, need to be much much better about knowing, using, and citing previous research connected to their own. She reiterated the notion of what it means to contribute to the field, of opening up new lines of research, and emphasized how important it is for authors to read the journal consistently and to understand the journal's own research interests and difference from other English studies journals. She noted, for example, that CCC is more interested in interdisciplinary research in language, pedagogy, and rhetoric than the straight literary/theoretical analysis that we might read in College English.
The session moved towards closure with Holdstein answering questions about her decision-making processes for accepting manuscripts from well-known as opposed to unknown scholars in the field (she says she pays little attention to names). A final question was asked about whether CCC was willing to accept manuscripts that confront and strongly question well-established scholars or scholarship, to the extent of possibly "ticking someone off" or possibly causing a scandal. Holdstein replied by saying "Scandalize me!" And followed that up by stating that she doesn't mind ticking people off if "it's accountable ticking-off," returning to her theme of scholarly accountability. Her parting words, still ringing in my ears, were "All I want is excellence. Be excellent, be accountable; no pressure, but just be excellent."
— Candace Stewart
For more information on the CCCC 2006 conference,
visit the NCTE Web site at http://www.ncte.org/profdev/conv/cccc/.