It’s only a partial list–titles from Pittsburgh, Southern Illinois, and Parlor–collected into a PDF after gathering them at the most recent CCCC book exhibit. Got me thinking about how it would be nice to have such lists compiled and aggregable, year after year, a kind of time series list amenable to isolating years or small clusters of years just for noticing what was circulating at the time. I’d picked them up in the first place because we have a tiny sliver of funding for supplying rhetoric and composition/writing studies focused books to Halle Library on campus, but when I mentioned this to a colleague, she asked for the complied PDF, too, because it carries over readily to placing more direct requests to libraries for end-of-budget-year acquisitions.
I’m in Tampa this week for the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication–an event I’ve been attending every year (except one) since 1999. This year I proposed (and was accepted to present) a poster, and after several hours of finessing for more white space, shifting elements around, and tinkering in Illustrator, here’s what I’ll be standing next to for 75 minutes this afternoon.
Not much especially revelatory or surprising in my mentioning that I am happy to see keywords added to the CCCC 2015 proposal system. I love the idea, see it as an important and long overdue addition to the process and also a promising source of new semantic patterning studies (e.g., corroborating proposal language, theme, keywords, and more). I had the good fortune of working with Joyce Carter at last year’s Stage II review in mid-June, and, as we assembled solo proposals into panels, the prospective usefulness of a secondary classification system surfaced again and again, and we talked quite a bit about how a modest set of keywords could, without adding much to the work involved with preparing proposals, suggest otherwise quiet or subtle threads across proposals.
Here’s the recent video from Joyce describing the what and why of the new keywords field:
A week ago Saturday, the Saturday of #4c14 in Indianapolis, I was at the Cross-Generational Task Force meeting, where we spent a few minutes talking about the importance of recommending a semantic baseline for the keyword associated with cross-generational proposals. We settled on XGEN. Simple and with no hyphen. Other variations might have been “cross-gen,” “x-generational,” “cross-generational,” “X-GEN,” and so on. Could be twenty or more variations. Some of these variations might still sneak onto proposals, despite the suggestion of XGEN, and that’s okay. All variations will be useful as descriptive keywords, right? That said, the semantic variation risks restricting their usefulness to description, which is the main reason we agreed upon XGEN as a the preferred indexical token. With it, we improve the term’s prospects of functioning both descriptively and relationally.
I don’t know whether other groups will follow this model. I look forward to seeing how this will go. How might groups wishing to sponsor a keyword do so? With email blasts to listservs or to SIG and Standing Group membership rosters? Sure. These approaches will probably work just fine. But I was also considering, after seeing Joyce’s video and after the task force meeting (and the follow-up email to WPA-l), how a simple collector, such as an openly editable Google Doc, might support broader efforts to articulate common keywords that are both descriptive and relational (or indexically reliable across the set). In the spirit of give-things-a-try, I’ve created just such a document at #4c15 Proposal Keyword Collector (reference), and will add to it as I see suggestions pop up on WPA-L or elsewhere. It’s openly editable, too, so if you have an idea for a more or less sponsored keyword that would cohere presentations across these secondary classifications, please feel free to add to it.
Our CCCC roundtable wrapped up a few minutes ago (exactly :05, according to the entry-scheduler’s timestamp). Eight of us planned and proposed this as a session that would be delivered simultaneously in Indianapolis, live, and also via Twitter, using scheduled tweets with the #4c14 hashtag with links to YouTube versions of the presentations, complete with closed-captioning. I finished setting up the scheduled tweets a few minutes ago–on Monday the 17th–and thought I may as well embed the full playlist into a blog entry, too, both to capture the event here and to circulate it yet again for anyone who might have missed it.
I’m sure there is more to say about it–both about the mix of pre-tenure WPA perspectives collected here and also about the production process involved with planning and putting together the slidedecks, audio files, and transcripts. I’m also interested in when this is delivered and circulated in time. How many nows? With any luck, there will be time enough for thinking through this more and considering the value in session-wide durable artifacts (hyper-deictic time capsules) after we’re all tick-tocking on the other side of this busy week.
I’d planned for this to be an entry about next Thursday’s roundtable, E.17, “Polymorphic Frames of Pre-Tenure WPAs: Eight Accounts of Hybridity and Pronoia,” 4:45-6 p.m. in the Indiana Marriott Downtown, Indiana Ballroom E, First Floor (that’s right: both hotel and room are named after the state…enough-iana alreadiana). But I’m short on time, looking at a to-do list the length of my arm, and due to be at a reading group at the Corner Brewery in a few minutes on Doug Brent’s “The Research Paper and Why We Should Still Care.” About the roundtable: eight of us put it together with the promise that we would present live versions in Indianapolis and at the same time deliver bundled and closed-captioned versions via scheduled Tweet-drops set for the same time as our panel. It’s an experiment with openness and circulation, in this sense, and since we’re one of the few E sessions scheduled in the Indiana Marriott (not the JW Marriott…though I’m still not sure I grasp what this even means), our double-up of live and YouTube versions is just as well.
My portion of the roundtable is called “Mad Handles”–a double-teaming of basketball handles and data visualization handles, but there I’ve gone and already said too much. For at least ten days in early February, I had this and only this as my main slide–even considered using it as the only slide for the entire talk, an animated GIFmash on an interminable “forever” loop.
This and more next Thursday evening.
Nothing against St. Louis, Mo., but when–around Friday afternoon–light rain made the streets smell like sweatsock-funk, a few of us speculated that the arch really is a giant’s clipped toenail. No, no, it’s marvelous beyond that: a giant’s clipped toenail fitted with an elevator inside. Blame the odor on the pollen, on the trees being in full bloom fall-veg-detritus-rotting, or on the mighty Mississippi’s effervescence. Credit it to whatever you want and in the meantime plug your nose. No need to plug it forever; it’s fine to breathe again when you come to the ten story cross in Effingham made of blessed and corrugated aluminum sheeting.
I had a great CCCC. So many friends to catch up with, so many great conversations. Proud of how EMU students represented. Proud of the smarts and investment shown by the EM-Journal team. Proud of how Ivo Baltic and his Bobcats went toe-to-toe with basketball giant UNC on Friday evening. I damn close to wept with joy when Ohio surged late in the game and I got to see all the UNC fans next to me in Section 138 Row 22 biting their nails, holding each other’s sweaty hands, looking like they’d encountered a real bobcat in the wild.
The ticket would’ve allowed me to stick around, but I skipped the NC State-KU game and instead walked to Bridge with a few colleagues, enjoyed a sour and an IPA, hummus and tapenade, smoked paprika popcorn that was too salty but ate it anyway.
Went to more sessions than I expected to this week:
- *Wed. evening, Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists
- *Thur., A. Digital Pedagogy Posters
- *B.20 Technology and Histories of Composition Studies
- D.29 Gateways into the Disciplines: Navigating Different Disciplinary Contexts to Support Writing Across Campus
- E.Feat. Gateways to Leadership: A Reflective Roundtable on Opportunities within NCTE and CCCC
- TSIG.1 Retired Faculty in Rhetoric/Composition/Writing Studies
- Fri., G.Feat. Technologizing Funk/Funkin Technology: Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book as a Gateway to a Black Digital Rhetoric
- H.13 Latour and Rhetoric: Kairos, Contingency, Techne
- I.Feat. “This Stuff Hasn’t Changed Much in 2500 Years, Has It?”: Rhetorical Terms in an Attention Economy
- J.03 MA Programs in Rhetoric and Writing as Sites of Transition and (Trans)Formation
- *K.31 Think-tank for Newcomers: Developing Papers and Sessions for 2013
- L.18 Everyone Knows This is Nowhere: Writing in the Musical Age
- M.7 Computational Rhetoric in Theory and Practice
Stars mark the sessions where I had some sort of speaking or leadership role. I have quite a bit more to say about several of the sessions, but I also face the inevitable workswell–a sheer ccccliff–that follows from several days of being online less than usual because who can afford in-room internet: advising emails, an online course to get caught up in, a batch of deep definition essays from graduate students, an article revision due 3/30. Plus, I drove both to and from St. Louis and the Element suffered an effed windshield wiper late last night, so I feel a bit road-weary today and also need to get over to Advanced Auto Parts for a replacement blade. Maybe around the mid-late part of the week I’ll crawl back through my notes and elaborate on some of what I learned at the various sessions, or maybe not. I left St. Louis both exhausted and energized, which is in my eight or ten trips to the conference as much as one can hope for.
I don’t think there will be a part 3 in this series, but I wanted to post in a consolidated location the various pieces I brought to Atlanta last week. Steve offered a careful play-by-play of many of the meals and local excursions I was a part of. And he mentioned in the entry that we had a fairly small audience at the N.30 session. With that in mind, I figured I may as well render my talk into an overdubbed video and post it to YouTube where it will surely get a couple of more views in the year to come.
But first, Steve’s video, which initiated and enframed our roundtable:
Below is my contribution to the roundtable. To continue experimenting with YouTube’s closed captioning, I uploaded the full script of my talk as a text file. I’m impressed at how capably YouTube creates alignments between the video’s audio track and the text. Also, all of the oooh-aaah cloud photographs come from the recent New York Times installation, “Up in the Clouds.”
And finally, here’s the poster I tacked up in the Computer Connection room and that I’ve posted in a half dozen places already.
The accompanying a/v playlist (linked from the QR codes) is available over here.
My first CCCC was in Atlanta, 1999. I was an MA student at the time, and UMKC provided a generous, competitive stipend to two students who would attend the conference and return to lead a colloquium of sorts on the experience. Thus, traveling to Atlanta for the first time in over a decade lent to this go-round a strongly felt personal call for reflection, blinks of memory, and quite a bit of thought about the living I’ve done during that interval (from adoption, marriage, and parenting to a PhD, cross-country moves, and settling into EMU). Last week’s conference, while all Atlanta, was mostly 2011, but it was also a little bit 1999. (This would be a fine place for a complaint about the hotel wifi, no?)
- the Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists
- enough of Opening General Session to hear Gwen Pough’s address
- my own share of the A/B poster session
- a Marriott lunch with several friends and colleagues
- D.38 The Future Anterior of Rhetoric: Potentials For Rhetorics Built on Material Relations
- a Syracuse faculty/alumni/student event
- I.04 Texas Topoi and the other Common-Places: The Importance of Writing Geographies
- J.37 Contesting Methodological Boundaries in Rhetoric and Writing Research
- as an information technologies area facilitator, L.21 Think-Tank for Newcomers Developing Papers and Sessions for CCCC 2012
- M.34 Revisualizing Composition: Mapping the Writing Lives of College Students
- and the roundtable I was a part of: N.30 A Department in Exile: The Challenges of Contested Spaces and Roles
I was present at something for eight of the fourteen alphabetized session slots, and I was involved with presenting or taking a leaderly role in half of those (as poster presenter, roundtabler, and think tank facilitator). This means I was a member of the audience in just four out of the approximately 450 sessions, or 1% of them. A tiny slice, as samples go.
I have no idea whether this snapshot is typical, or even whether it is useful to think of the CCCC experience as potentially typical. In 1999 I was in the audience for twice as many sessions and I enjoyed far fewer unplanned conversations than I had last week. In 1999 I ate alone a few times; I ate alone just twice this time (both breakfasts, waxed bags of some Starbucks pastry on the go). I didn’t experience the conference as cliquish in 1999, exactly, but neither did I grasp what I was missing out on or feel all that deeply concerned for whether I was missing out on something. That was true this time, as well. I missed a handful of sessions I would have liked to attend. I missed connecting with several friends and former colleagues I would have liked to visit with for a few minutes. Maybe next year.
On the drive home from Atlanta to Ypsilanti, I read Alex’s “#cccc11 Conference Thoughts,” and I share some of his concerns related to sustainability, especially along the lines of what’s worth keeping (or attending to yet again), what’s worth shedding, and how can a conference with a singular (if too heavily played) theme each year achieve a balance suited to such a vast range of attendee interests and motives. In other words, for the conference to have something for everyone, the program must anticipate demographic segments that are not-me (by institution type, history at the conference, teaching-research balance, research agenda, etc.). That is, most of the CCCC–true, too, of any comprehensive national conference–will not on paper appear to be a fit with any individual’s interests. Add to this the banding together that operates both in paneling up and in audience migration according to schools of thought, favorite theorists, and other varieties of kinship (e.g., friendship, graduate cohorts, home institution), and the result is an unavoidably segmented conference experience. I’m not sure whether there is an easy solution for this, but neither have I ever followed through on the thought I’ve had a time or two to randomly generate a personal conference itinerary. Maybe next year.
What can I say about the panels I attended? I heard some papers I found thoughtful and incisive and others that left me deeply dissatisfied (that said, I count myself productively dissatisfied in such cases). The N.30 roundtable was the only session I attended in which everyone involved used some sort of projectable (i.e., a movie or slidedeck). A couple of panels stretched time’s seams to the limit, but that is not altogether uncommon. Of the entire conference experience, the poster session is the one that left me reeling the most: I probably had 30 conversations with all variety of faculty and graduate students from a great range of programs. Even more: many of these were with people I was meeting for the first time; people I might not have encountered otherwise. I’ve never experienced this degree of engagement in any other conference venue ever, and it leaves me thinking seriously about preparing and carrying in a poster in future years.
A couple of questions I am thinking about now? From D.38, What does new materialism allow us to do (differently)? From I.04, To what extent does school of thought rostering produce territorialization? And, What else implicates (or doesn’t) a city’s rhetoricity? And, What was the name of the play with Shit, the dog? From J.37, What makes surfacing decidable for a researcher? And, How much context is enough (when enlarging contexts)? And, To what extent is correctable black-boxing turning to verbal references for relief from self-evidentiary or natural-appearing visuals? And more.
In anticipation of next year, I don’t have a clear direction yet for a panel. I am considering developing a solo proposal related to an article I am working on. I’ve also taken on certain responsibilities with the Master’s Degree Consortium, and then another poster makes sense considering how this year’s went.
Finished fine-tuning my cloud-parallactic contribution to a roundtable at the CCCC in Atlanta later this week. We forecasters are predicting a sitting-room (i.e., entire row to yourself?) crowd for N.30 session, 12:30-1:45 p.m. on Saturday. As for the fine-tuning, I’m pleased enough with the changes, and I had to work especially hard to resist incorporating more than a cliche or two from Stealers Wheel, e.g., “Trying to make some science of it all, but I can see it makes no science at all.” Yes, the paper is–it’s hard to believe–better because I axed a half-dozen lines like this from it.
And in case you can’t make it to N.30, maybe because you are at the Braves-Phillies game, the good news is that we can catch up on Thursday in the poster galleria, Room M301, Marquis Level, between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., where I’ll be standing quietly next to my first ever attempt at an academic poster. For the full poster experience, it’s best if you pre-install a QR code-scanning app on your mobile device.
My CCCC talk from last Thursday:
Our panel, D.24, was relatively well attended. I printed 30 handouts, and we probably had an audience with that many people or a few more. Bradley has posted his presentation already. Alex may well do the same soon. We talked on Wednesday afternoon over a late lunch about whether or not we would put them online, and we easily agreed that web traffic for presentations like these generates far more exposure to the ideas than the conference venue alone. Feels like a case of pointing out the nose-on-face obvious (will this video get 30 views?), but there are a couple of different discussions this week on WPA-L, a rhetoric and composition listserv/variety hour, about problems fairly typical at national conventions: crowded, over-attended sessions and their opposite, the one-member-audience (a generous friend or colleague, no doubt). Whether the fire marshal was turning late-comers away at the door or whether the carpet mites were the only audience on hand to listen and ask questions, why not post the talk?
A couple of other points: We remixed our talks, delivering them in turn, three by three. The Q&A was terrific; we took several questions and enjoyed thoughtful conversation for the last 30 minutes of the session. Finally, all questions, ideas, suggestions, and insights are welcome in the comments or via email.