Praxis: A Writing Center Journal
Call For Papers: Race & The Writing Center
For a special Spring 2019 issue, Praxis: A Writing Center Journal welcomes submissions related to the theme of “Race & the Writing Center.” The complexities of serving traditionally under-served students and providing equal access to education have been staples of writing center scholarship and mission statements for decades. Yet the challenge to implement those mission statements remains, and, Lori Salem’s 2016 quantitative study “Decisions. . . Decisions. . . Who chooses to use the Writing Center?” urges all practitioners, revisiting and rethinking the pedagogy and practices we offer to minority and underserved students is essential. The time to focus our attention on the way matters of race and racial justice affect our work in the center has never been more ripe.
For this issue, the editors of Praxis seek submissions that consider the presence and role of race in writing centers. We are interested in the ways writing centers serve as both support centers and as primary contact points for questions of race, language, equality, and justice in education. We are interested in best practices, pedagogy, and new research. Yet, we are also interested in challenges that dedicated practitioners have faced in attempting to serve or advocate for students and colleagues when working with matters of race or racial justice.
Submissions might explore, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- In which ways do issues of race currently affect writing center work?
- What is the role of writing centers in advocating for racial justice?
- Which practices can writing centers adopt to better address issues of race?
- How might writing centers administrators develop training for consultants and staff that prepare them to acknowledge issues of race and support efforts towards racial justice?
- Which challenges do writing center administrators, staff, and consultants face as advocates for racial justice?
- How can writing centers make their services and spaces more welcoming and accessible to minority and traditionally under-served students?
- How can writing center practitioners navigate questions of dialect, vernacular, language acquisition, code-switching and code-meshing, while respecting students’ voices and “Right to Their Own Language”?
This issue also seeks submissions for a special section on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions entitled “Started from the Bottom, Now We’re Here.” Guest editors Dr. Mick Howard of Langston University and Dr. Karen Keaton Jackson of North Carolina Central University elaborate:
Much of the past and current discourse of race in the writing center is framed in terms of writing center professionals and tutors creating strategies that will work best with the Other. Those Others – students of color – are viewed as outside of the norm, thus requiring alternative approaches from those expressed in mainstream literature about the traditional or “regular” student.
What we find most ironic about all of these prior discussions is the absence of historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, and other minority serving institutions (MSIs) including Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) from the conversation. While HBCUs make up only 2-3% of all U.S. colleges and universities, ‘26% of the black recipients of doctoral degrees [in science and engineering] between the years 2002 and 2011 were alums of HBCUs, ie 2435 out of 9202’ (Tech-Levers/HBCU-levers.blogspot.com). Similarly, in the April 2010 MLA Report entitled ‘Data on Humanities Doctorate Recipients and Faculty Members by Race and Ethnicity,’ statistics showed that from 1997-2006, 3 of the top 5 institutions granting bachelor’s degrees to those African Americans who went on to earn PhDs in the Humanities are in fact HBCUs, topping Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Georgetown, and Harvard.
In this special issue of Praxis, we intend to focus on HBCUs and other MSIs not as the add-on or ‘Plus One’ in writing center discourse, but ‘The One’ with the expertise and knowledge. For if we really think about it, why would those institutions that educate thousands of diverse students each year not be involved in or at the forefront of conversations about race and writing centers? What can scholars at PWIs with less racially diverse student populations learn from those of us at MSIs who work with large numbers of diverse students (in terms of race, college preparation, and learning styles)? How might the approach or conversation change in cases when both the writing center professional and the student are the Other? The statistics above show that MSIs indeed are doing something right, which means our larger field is at a loss if scholars at all institution types are not aware of our expertise in working with students of color.
We invite writing center colleagues from HBCUs, TCUs, and other MSIs to submit articles that connect to the research questions listed above or that give voice to any issue relevant to writing center theory or pedagogy and students color. We have waited long enough to give voice to our unique experiences, and finally, the wait is over.
For this issue, recommended article length is 3000 to 4000 words for focus articles; the editors will also consider shorter pieces as columns, as well as book reviews.
Articles should conform to MLA style. Please submit articles to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about submitting an article, the journal’s blind peer-review process, or to contact the managing editors, please direct emails to the same address.
The deadline for consideration in this special issue is August 15, 2018.