SCWCA 2020 Conference: March 12-14, 2020 at Oklahoma State University
Mindfulness of Difference and the Need for Transformative Listening in Writing Center Work
Deadline for Proposals: Dec. 6th, 2019
Deadline for Scholarship Applications: Dec. 6, 2019
Deadline for Tutor of the Year Nominations: Jan. 15, 2020
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Romeo Garcia, University of Utah
In Romeo Garcia’s 2017 WCJ article, “Unmaking Gringo Centers,” Garcia asks the writing center community to listen “well and deeply” to how the WC community has discussed race and racism in our spaces and how we have pursued anti-racist agendas. In this work, Garcia critiques the black/white paradigm in our conversations about race, and how this has left out other racial and/ or cultural groups, and he goes on to utilize decolonial theory and focus on the Mexican-American community and how it has been excluded in WC work and scholarship because of the power of whiteness that still dominates. Garcia calls for transformative listening, a listening that calls for attentiveness to body, space, and time in multiple contexts, in order to establish a “mindfulness of difference.”
Garcia extends arguments made by writing studies scholars such as Collin Craig and Staci Perryman-Clark (2012), Jonathan Alexander & Jacqueline Rhodes (2014), Aja Martinez (2017), and Asao Inoue (2019), in asking those of us invested in literacy and writing to delineate and learn with difference, to embrace intersectionality as an analytic tool to understand how systems of oppression work, and to re-make our practices and policies to be inclusive and transformative.
As this year’s conference is hosted by Oklahoma State University, an institution that resides on settled indigenous land of the Muscogee Nation, we acknowledge the need for mindfulness in our social justice work, and the need to acknowledge the local political economies we work in and the spaces in which our bodies reside. This year’s SCWCA 2020 conference will respond to Garcia’s call for fostering a “mindfulness of difference” in our centers and to listen well and deeply in order to transform our spaces.
We ask the WC community to fully embrace this concept of “mindfulness of difference” in order to rethink our ideas of collaboration and the role of our consultants through our pedagogies, partnerships, practices, and policies. With that in mind, we are excited to announce that Dr. Romeo Garcia, Assistant Professor of Writing & Rhetoric Studies at the University of Utah, will be this year’s keynote speaker.
Proposals may address a range of questions concerning transformative listening, difference, and remaking our spaces, including:
- How can consultants and directors foster a “mindfulness of difference” in their centers? How can WC Directors work to create this environment among staff members?
- What does transformative listening look like in your writing center work? How can we work towards incorporating transformative listening in our pedagogies and practices?
- How do WC practitioners and workers and the students/writers that we meet work with and learn from difference in their sessions?
- How can WCs move from “white centers” to “centers of becoming”? What does this look like?
- In what ways have WCs perpetuated a flattening of difference (historically and locally) and what are possible interventions consultants/directors can utilize to transform our work?
- What are anti-racist agendas that your center promotes and initiates? How can the field learn from them, particularly in conversation with this year’s theme of pushing past binary and reductive ways of discussing race and power in our spaces?
- Utilizing decolonial theory and addressing the colonial histories of Mexican-Americans in the LRGV, Garcia asks that we train our consultants to be decolonial agents in our spaces, understanding our local histories and ways in which white people continue to dominate both institutional and societal communities, in order for us to participate in social justice work. In what ways can we train consultants to become decolonial agents?
- In what ways do our staffing practices and hiring decisions perpetuate or disrupt larger and local systems of domination and structural difference?
- What kinds of alliances are being formed between Writing Centers, faculty in multiple disciplines, offices such as Disability Services and Diversity and Inclusion, and other campus units and organizations to promote learning with difference and transformative listening?
- What kind of partnerships can Writing Centers form that work toward social justice work and learning from difference?
- What types of interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary work does your WC embrace? What type of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary frameworks can WC scholarship/work utilize to learn with and from difference?
- How can we be more mindful of collaborative work that we do in our spaces in order to transform our spaces?
- What are ways in which we have revised or completely changed our WC pedagogies and practices and what can the WC community learn from these changes?
Successful presentations are dynamic exchanges between audience members (peer tutors, graduate students, and other writing center professionals and faculty). We welcome presentations of original scholarship and research that foster dialogue with conference participants. In order to include more voices and perspectives in our ongoing discussions, we especially encourage tutors and first-time presenters to send in proposals, as well as writing center workers from community college, two year college, HSI, HBCU, MSI, Tribal College, high school writing centers, community writing centers, etc. (Gratitude to Erin LaPooks Alvarez for pointing out the need to identify and include HSI institutions during revisions of the CFP.)
Please prepare a 250- to 500-word proposal and a 75-word abstract for a 20-minute individual presentation or a 75-minute interactive workshop, roundtable, or panel. Your proposed workshop, roundtable, or panel must actively involve the audience. As a result of feedback from recent conferences, we continue to encourage proposals for the facilitation of roundtable discussions.
Please include the following information in your proposal:
1. Proposer’s name, position (i.e., consultant, director, etc), institution, institutional or home address, telephone number, and email address
2. Presenters’ names with title and contact information, as above
3. Title of presentation, a 250- to 500-word proposal, and a 75-word abstract for inclusion in the conference program. If you’d like to call for a SIG, please let us know the topic and rationale/reasoning for this SIG.
4. Type of session (i.e., individual presentation, panel presentation, roundtable discussion, workshop presentation, Special Interest Group SIG)
5. Specific audiovisual and technical requests (NOTE: Presenters should plan to bring their own laptop computers and adapters).
6. Plans for encouraging interaction and involving the audience in the presentation. This may be included in the presentation description.
7. Plans for your presentation to be accessible to all audience members and participants. SCWCA is committed to accessibility and we ask that you plan your presentation with accessibility in mind. This can include bringing transcripts of prepared remarks, creating materials in accessible formats (e.g., html), ensuring text and images are large and legible from a distance, describing images, and including captioning for audio and video materials.
Individual Presentation: 15-20 minute presentation. Individuals will be formed into a panel of 3 to 4 presentations.
Panel Presentation: 3 to 4 presentations of 15-20 minutes each on a specific theme or question. Panels should plan to reserve 15 minutes for questions at the end of the session.
Poster Presentation: SCWCA’s poster session is an opportunity for you to get feedback on a work-in-progress or to share research that lends itself to a visual/poster presentation. Generally speaking, posters consist of both images and text in order to share the reason for the study/research, current findings, future directions, and—if you’re still planning future stages for your research—what you’d like feedback or ideas on. Submissions for individual or group poster sessions are welcome.
Roundtable Discussion: 15 minutes of introductory framing by the leaders on a specific theme or question, followed by a facilitated discussion among attendees.
Workshop Session: 75-minute interactive sessions that teach and engage participants through discussion, collaborative work, group activities, and/or other methods of involvement.
Special Interest Group: Special Interest Groups (SIGs) will be offered during 75-minute meeting times and will be scheduled throughout the day. SIGs are typically informal conversations with colleagues and peers who have similar interests institutional settings, or roles. We also encourage SIGs to address conversations started in the previous conference. Proposals should include a brief description and overview of how participants will be involved.