May/June 2016 Special Issue of WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship: “Religion in the Writing Center”

Proposals will be accepted though May 30, 2015.
Invitations to submit full articles will be issued by July 1, 2015.
Manuscripts will be due on December 31, 2015.

Guest editor: Lisa Zimmerelli, Assistant Professor of Writing and Writing Center Director, Loyola University Maryland

Religion in the Writing Center, May/June 2016 Special Issue

2789691676_39bb997f54_oAlthough a robust conversation around race, class, gender, and sexual identity has emerged within writing center studies, religion as a category of identity remains under-theorized in our field, perhaps because of its characterization as intimate, personal, and almost irreproachably private. Harry Denny’s consideration of the “politics attendant” to sex and gender in Facing the Center draws attention to the way in which “private” aspects of identity are performed in social contexts and how they shape and are shaped by political discourse.

Likewise, within composition studies, the obfuscation of religious belief in the academy has been noted. According to Anne Gere “because discussions of religion have been essentially off-limits in higher education, we have failed to develop sophisticated and nuanced theoretical discourses to articulate spirituality” (Brandt et al. 46). Elizabeth Vander Lei and bonnie kyburz’s Negotiating Religious Faith in the Composition Classroom represents an important move towards developing such a language around religion and writing. However, as Vander Lei and Lauren Fitzgerald observe in “What in God’s Name? Administering the Conflicts of Religious Belief in Writing Programs,” this scholarship has a rather limited focus on the role of religious belief on the composing practices of students. Vander Lei and Fitzgerald challenge “WPAs, as campus leaders with a vested interest in writing and public discourse…to work with students, instructors, and administrators to develop practices that address religious belief ethically and effectively” (185).

For this special issue on “Religion in the Writing Center,” we invite proposals for articles up to 3000 words that recognize religious identity as one category of identity that is present in our daily work in writing centers and that explore the potential of religious belief to inspire productive academic and civic discourses in the writing center. We are interested in proposals covering the broadest range of religious identity that consider the following questions organized around the broader categories of: religion as an identity category; writing centers at religious/faith based institutions; the role of religion at secular institutions; tutor-student interactions over issues of faith and religion; and tutor religious identity.

  • In what ways is religion a category of identity worthy of the same consideration and exploration as race, class, gender, and sexuality?
  • How is religious discourse useful for complicating or enlarging writing center work? That is, how can we use religious identity as a way to open up—not close off—civic and political discourse in the writing center?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges for writing centers at faith-based or religious institutions?
  • What specific strategies can we use in tutoring students who use faith and religious documents as evidence?
  • How does a tutor’s religious identity affect his/her philosophy and praxis of tutoring?

Proposals will be accepted though May 30, 2015.
Invitations to submit full articles will be issued by July 1, 2015.
Manuscripts will be due on December 31, 2015.

Proposal format: Please submit a 250—400 word proposal that includes your focus and working, relevant scholarship, theoretical underpinnings, and your plans for structuring a 3000-word article. Send the proposal to Lisa Zimmerelli at Please provide full contact information with your submission.


Brandt, Deborah, Ellen Cushman, Anne Ruggles Gere, et al. “The Politics of the Personal:
Storying Our Lives against the Grain” College English 64 (2001): 41-62. Print.

Denny, Harry C. Facing the Center: Toward and Identity Politics of One-to-One Mentoring.
Logan, UT: Utah State University, 2010. Print.

Vander Lei, Elizabeth, and bonnie lenore kyburz, eds. Negotiating Religious Faith in the
Composition Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2005. Print.

Vander Lei, Elizabeth and Lauren Fitzgerald. “What in God’s Name? Administering the
Conflicts of Religious Belief in Writing Programs.” WPA: Writing Program Administration 31. 1-2 (Fall/Winter 2007): 185-195. Print.


  1. Amy nichols October 19, 2016 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Hello, I just noticed this CFP as I was searching for articles on religious identity in writing center settings. It looks like the May/June 2016 issue did not end up addressing the original CFP? I would really appreciate any information on this topic (or why the issue didn’t make), as this is an area I’ve been hoping to help our tutors work through as they encounter this aspect of identity in sessions.


    • Lee Ann Glowzenski November 1, 2016 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Hello Amy,

      I’m Lee Ann, on of the co-editors of WLN. Unfortunately, Lisa Zimmerelli was unable to complete her work as guest editor due to unexpected family commitments. But the good news is that we just found a new guest editor for the issue, and we hope to get it into print as soon as possible.

      Thank you for your question and your interest in the religion special issue!

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