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Call For Papers & New Media Texts

[ pdf of call ]

Reading has long been studied in literary theory and pedagogy, in education, and in composition studies, but we have not yet interrogated the act of reading in the context of digital new media texts. Consequently, as teachers of digital literacy, multimodal writing, and web authoring, we often ask students to interact with and create digital, multimodal, and web-based texts without asking them to reflect on what it means to read such texts.

The editors of this collection invite proposals that address questions such as the following:

What does it mean to read new media? How have digital spaces changed the activity of reading? How does reading digital texts—including games, instant messages, digital art and music, and other forms—enlarge our conception of what a text is? Is there a digital canon forming, and what are the consequences of such a move?

We also recognize that every act of reading is also an act of writing—a construction—and that reading cannot be separated from writing. We ask: What happens when writing morphs into composition or design? What sorts of composing processes inform the creation and reading of new media texts? What teaching possibilities lay at the intersection between reading and composing new media texts?

We invite essays and new media texts that reflect broadly on these issues. New media texts will be published in an accompanying CD with print connections (i.e., an author of a new media text can submit an artist’s statement to be published in the book and which would point readers to the CD). The CD will also contain selections from the new media projects discussed in the essays.

We tentatively plan to include essays and new media texts in three broad areas:

Experiencing New Media
This section will consist of relatively brief (8-15 pages double-spaced) essays about the experience of reading or composing new media texts. In these essays, authors should make visible their own process of reading (and/or writing) new media. This section will be autobiographical in focus with authors discussing how they make meaning from a particular text, thus providing example readings that readers can use to understand and interpret similar texts. As models for these essays, we encourage authors to look to the tradition of creative non-fictional essays in which writers reflect on their reading (and writing) processes such as are found in the collection Bookworms: Great Writers and Readers Celebrate Reading (Furman and Standard, 1997). We imagine this section as a contemporary extension of this genre to new media texts, similar to essays such as Yellowlees Douglas’ four readings of Joyce’s afternoon (in The End of Books, or Books Without End, 2001), Hayles’ reading of Memmott’s Lexia to Perplexia (in Writing Machines, 2002), or Nick Montfort’s “A Bad Machine Made of Words” (2004).

In these essays, we encourage authors to explore texts that may be considered nontraditional genres for writing classrooms as well as to incorporate how multiple modalities and media are necessary to consider in reading such texts. We also seek essays in which authors reflect on their composing processes in relation to a new media text they’ve designed.

Understanding New Media
This section of theoretical articles (25-50 pages, double-spaced) will reflect critically on what it means to read (and write) new media. Some topics authors might address include how digital spaces change the activity of reading, how reading digital texts enlarges our conception of text, whether there is a language of new media, and how genre and traditions of genre knowledge are impacted by new media texts. We also recognize that every act of reading is also an act of writing—a construction—and that reading cannot be separated from writing. In light of this, authors might consider addressing what happens to writing—and subsequently writing programs—when writing morphs into composition or design? What place does reading and writing new media texts have in writing studies?

Teaching New Media
In this section, we invite essays of various lengths that reflect on the process of teaching new media texts/new media writing. What teaching possibilities lay at the intersection between reading and composing new media texts? In what classes? We encourage authors to include practical teaching applications, assignment sequences, and syllabi, along with discussion of outcomes and assessments of such teaching work. We also understand that reading new media texts is sometimes more accessible and easy to implement than writing new media texts. Authors may explore the possibilities and complications of implementing new media pedagogies (on individual or departmental/programmatic levels). Non-digital or low-tech alternatives (in production or distribution) to implementing such a curricula are also of interest.

Tentative Timeline:
500-word abstracts due         October 1, 2005
Abstract acceptances             October 15, 2005                       
Start Contacting Publishers   November 1, 2005
Submissions deadline            March 1, 2006
Respond to authors by            May 28, 2006
Authors’ revisions due            July 15, 2006
Send to publishers                  September 1, 2006

Send inquiries to either of the co-editors:

Jim Kalmbach
<kalmbach at ilstu dot edu>
309 438-7648
Department of English
Campus Box 4240
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4240

Cheryl E. Ball
<cball at english dot usu dot edu>
435-797-2735
Department of English
3200 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-3200

Send 500 word abstracts by October 1, 2005 to

Jim Kalmbach
<kalmbach at ilstu dot edu>
309 438-7648
Department of English
Campus Box 4240
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4240

 

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