Proposal Deadline: 4/25 Location: Pittsburg, PA
Conference Dates: Thursday, November 11, 2021 to Sunday, November 14, 2021
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has necessitated a shift in our conceptualization of writing center work. Especially as writing centers have reoriented themselves to online synchronous and asynchronous tutoring in 2020. Writing center practitioners have had to adapt and transform longstanding practices to better fit our new paradigm. Ongoing, too, is our reckoning with racism and white supremacy, a cultural pandemic, which has resulted in the loss of Black lives and the increased visibility of right-wing insurgents across the country.
Recent writing center publications are grappling with this transformation and with doing writing center work during a pandemic. The Peer Review highlights how writing centers are being asked to justify their work as never before. Praxis: A Writing Center Journal focuses on the need for inclusion in the writing center, re-interrogating the various ghosts that continue to haunt the regulatory work of the writing center, especially when it comes to antiracism. The WLN digital edited collection Wellness and Care in Writing Center Work, brings attention to wellness practices (or a lack of them) in the writing center, and the Fall 2020 issue of The Dangling Modifier focuses on reshaping the writing center, positing, ‘This contemporary environment for writing centers has challenged tutors to rethink everything they’ve learned while simultaneously bringing to light previously hidden inequalities and outdated practices of the center.”
The National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) seeks to extend these lines of thinking, with a special interest in how tutors subvert writing center training or best practices. What forms of subterfuge do tutors deploy in order to complete their work in a pandemic? How might tutors use subversive complicity as a guiding philosophy for engaging in antiracist tutoring practice? What other ‘workarounds” do they create to do their jobs more in a way that aligns with their own tutoring philosophies? While subversion and subterfuge may traditionally be thought of as undesirable traits, the writing center’s historical positionality as marginal gives subversive tactics a special role, one that is often necessary for survival. As the pandemics, both cultural and biological, continue to rage, what tactics will writing centers need to survive and thrive in the world that comes next?
For the NCPTW 2021 conference, we seek proposals that think through or even invite subversion and subterfuge into the writing center space. Possible inquiries include:
• How do tutors work around administrative directives in order to do their jobs in a way they feel more comfortable or more just?
• How do writing centers work around restrictive institutional policies? How do writing centers (tutors, directors, staffs as a whole) work to challenge or sidestep institutional barriers to racial, linguistic, and social justice?
• What have writing center tutors and administrators learned during the pandemic and racial upheavals of 2020? What lessons guide us as we transition completely or partially to face-to-face services in the fall?
• What creative tactics have tutors developed to handle the transition to remote services, (e.g., with tutoring practices, technology glitches, etc.)? What adjustments or
adaptations have tutors made that they want to keep?
• What new possibilities have been created by the transition to remote services? What initiatives have tutors developed to support their peers and/or coworkers during this time?
• How have writing centers handled offering in-person services during the pandemic? What acts of subversion or creativity have been necessary during this time?
• How have writing centers responded to or subverted institutional mandates arising from the COVID-19 pandemic? How has the pandemic impacted centers beyond the
transition to remote services (budgeting, staffing, scheduling, culture, morale)?
• How have centers worked to support student tutors during the pandemic, including and beyond their role as student employees? How have centers worked to support Black tutors and students in particular?
• How do tutors view and talk about the “work” of the writing center? How do tutors define and describe their roles, particularly as BIPOC*, first-generation, or international students?
NOTE: The chairing committee is still finalizing the conference experience and will take into account health and safety recommendations.
*Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
Individual Presentations (in person and synchronous): a 15-20-minute presentation that will be combined into a conference panel by program chairs.
Individual Presentations (asynchronous): a 15-20-minute recorded presentation that can be played on site and on the NCPTW website.
Panel Presentations (in person and synchronous): Panel of closely-related talks (usually 3-4) on question, topic, or issue relevant to the conference theme. Panelists will have a combined 75 minutes for their presentation.
Panel Presentations (asynchronous): Panel of closely-related talks (usually 3-4) on question, topic, or issue relevant to the conference theme. Panelists will have a combined 75 minutes for their presentation. Asynchronous presentations will be available to view on the NCPTW website.
Roundtables (in person and synchronous): 75-minute group discussion. Presenters offer introductory remarks and facilitate discussion on a question, topic, or issue relevant to the conference theme.
Poster Presentations (synchronous and asynchronous): organized as a remote research fair, presenters offer a visual representation of their research to discuss informally with attendees.
Workshops (synchronous): a 75-minute interactive session in which organizers facilitate engagement among participants to explore an issue, question, or theme.
Something else (in person, synchronous, or asynchronous): concurrent sessions will be 75 minutes long; come up with something else that you can do in that time-present, perform, model, interact, etc.-and pitch your idea.
Individual and Poster Presentations: 250 word proposal
Panels, Roundtables, Workshops: 500-750 words, should outline the content, goals, and takeaways of the session. Workshop and ‘something else” proposals should describe any interactive elements.