Click here to view on Google Docs.
On the Connecting Writing Centers Across Borders blog, we aim to explore the challenges and opportunities of transnational or international writing center research and practice in non-U.S. contexts. That is why, for our Feature Pieces, we invite submissions of 1500 words that enhance our understanding of what it means to be an “international” writing center field (ie. the “I” in “IWCA: International Writing Center Association.”).
Here’s some context: The International Writing Center Association (IWCA), formerly founded as the National (U.S.) Writing Center Association in 1982, became IWCA in 1998 when the affiliated European Writing Centers Association was established (Thaiss, 2012). Later, the Middle East and North Africa Writing Centers Alliance was formed in 2007 (Weber & Larson, 2017). In 2008, the first Writing Research Across Borders Conference was held (Thaiss, 2012). These organizations sprung up at specific times and provided spaces for exchange of research and practice. Their existence also suggests a complex pattern of how the idea of writing centers may have traveled around the world.
Further, as editors of the blog, we believe that writing centers are subject to the divergence and convergence patterns of globalization. For example, while writing centers often emerge in non-U.S. contexts to support the needs of local writers, they also often originate in response to the demands of English as the lingua franca, as the language of scholarly publication, and as the language perceived as necessary for active participation in the global workforce. We also see that many writing centers in non-U.S. contexts, while rooted in the North American model, are developing their own unique local approaches and practices– among them, translanguaging in the tutoring session and/or operating multilingual writing centers. After all, globalization does not imply a growing tendency of sameness across local contexts; rather, absorbing something “new”–in this case, the U.S. writing center model– means to negotiate and to modify (Canagarajah, 2002).
As such, we welcome pieces from all over the world, but encourage pieces from colleagues outside of the North American context that explore how their local writing center work or scholarship are “negotiating and modifying” the writing center model and local literacy practices within the push-pull of globalization and transnational mobility. Below we present a list of themes to consider as they interact with writing center praxis and international/transnational lenses:
- language and (digital) literacy
- culture(s) of writing and material conditions in local contexts
- sociopolitical realities
- institutional policies and cultures
- transnational partnerships
- non-traditional writing center models (decolonial, non-Western, multilingual, etc)
**We welcome pieces written in languages other than English. For more information, please email us.**
Canagarajah, A.S. (2002). Reconstructing local knowledge. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 1(4), 243-259.
Thaiss, C. (2012). Origins, aims, and uses of writing programs worldwide: Profiles of academic writing in many places. In C. Thaiss, G. Bräuer, P. Carlino, L. Ganobcsik-Williams, & A. Sinha (Eds.). Writing programs worldwide: Profiles of academic writing in many places (pp. 5-22). Parlor Press/WAC Clearinghouse.
Weber, A. S., & Larson, A. H. (2017). Writing support in a transnational context: Decentring the writing center in a medical college in Qatar. In O. Z. Barnawai (Ed.), Writing centers in the higher education landscape of the Arabian Gulf (pp. 145-162). Palgrave Macmillan.