Computers and Writing

Whoo hoo! They accepted my proposal.

Your proposal “Ensuring Information Literacy and Sustainable Learning across Socioeconomic Backgrounds” has been accepted for the Computers and Writing 2009 Conference. As you know, the theme of the 2009 conference is Ubiquitous and Sustainable Computing @ school @ work @ play. The conference will be held at the University of California, Davis, June 18 – June 21, 2009. the conference website

It promises to be an outstanding 3 1/2 days of workshops and panels. I am also happy to announce our keynote speakers–Bill Cope (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) and Barbara Ganley (Centers for Community Digital Learning / Middlebury College). Friday night will feature the annual Computers and Writing Awards ceremony. Saturday night will include an exhibit of digital artworks/multimedia narrative projects. Following a long standing C&W tradition, bowling will be available for those interested (We have an alley on campus, and have already reserved lanes!).

In keeping with the theme of ubiquitous computing, I would like to encourage you to consider presenting a working version of your project at the online portion of Computers and Writing 2009. The online portion of C&W ’09 runs Feb. 16 – Mar. 2, 2009. Potential venues for online presentations include:
* synchronous sessions in Second Life,
* synchronous sessions using Adobe Connect Pro,
* 2-day list-serv discussions,
* week-long forum topics in Sakai,
* week-long wiki building activities in Sakai,
* podcasts played through Sakai, or
* other innovative online formats.

The CFP for the online conference is at The online portion of C&W 09 is being hosted by a group of California universities (University of California, Irvine; San Jose State (CSU San Jose); University of Southern California; University of California, Santa Barbara; Sacramento State (CSU Sacramento); and University of California, Davis). The online submission form will be available at the conference website following Thanksgiving.

I’d love to submit a working version of my paper. But what venue should I use?


I have just had corroborated that I was not hired for a job because of my lack of recent work. I have been working on conference presentations and have gotten several of those papers accepted.

However, I have not done much on publications and that was the word my colleague used tonight.

I have been working on a paper for Reconstruction.

And I came home and began checking out other CFPs.

I have already written to the people from this general literature reference work, and I have sent it on to one of my bosses, since they are calling for a theme that she teaches regularly. I don’t know if she is interested in publishing, but it seemed to have her name on it to me. These essays are due January 1.

Ignatius Critical Editions have put out a call for more traditional literary criticism on various books, including Gulliver’s Travels. I have taught this book for seven or so years and have a lot of thoughts on it. The question is whether or not I could finish a 5000 word essay of sufficient interest (for the reader) and complexity by January 1, 2009. But it would be a really good idea. I have blogged earlier on ideas I wanted to deal with at length on GT.

Women’s Reproductive Lives . Deadline is April 30, 2009.

The Christian Parapsychologist, though I am not sure where I would go with this. Perhaps into The Clown of God story? This will be published in September. Proposals are due January 1 and the essay is due April 1. Essay length is 5,000-9,000 words.

American Writers, Twilight Years looks interesting. I was thinking maybe Charlotte Perkins Gilman. But they want a CV and if they’re going on this based on what has been written, they won’t accept me. However, their deadline for proposals is December 20 and June 15 is their end deadline. I can ask. The worst they can do is say “No, thank you.” Perhaps when I write them, I should give this blog’s email address. At least then they will know that I am able to write. (I do realize the type of writing is different.)

A call for a proposed anthology of women’s letters to their doctors. If you read my personal blog, which you don’t, you would know that I could probably create an entire anthology all by my lonesome on that topic. It might not ever happen, though, so I don’t know if I will submit. Submission deadline is February 15. It is certainly doable. And would be kind of interesting.
Update: I couldn’t sleep so I started working up this and the Ignatius paper proposal. Writing like this is how teachers keep from going stale, I would guess.

Mental Health Issues in Literature and History

There was a call for papers for 19th century American literature and topics from within that. I thought of my most interesting section in freshman comp and literature at CC2.

One of the stories in the book was “The Yellow Wallpaper.” It is the story of a woman who goes crazy from the prescription for her postpartum depression. It was from this story that the whole unit grew.

First, we read “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” discussing the insanity in them and also the gothic elements (since similar gothic elements exist in “The Yellow Wallpaper”). We discussed questions of whether or not it is insanity to believe something that is patently untrue. We talked about the definition of insanity in terms of living with other people or not being able to do so. And we talked about the typical expectation of crazy people to hear voices (or sounds) that no one else can hear because they do not exist.

Then we moved into a discussion of women’s historical experiences with mental instability.

Before we read “The Yellow Wallpaper,” I told them of one experience I have had with insanity.

After that I had the students freewrite about their experience with insanity in any form. I had them write for a few minutes about the most insane thing they’d ever seen.

Then I asked them, what was their definition of crazy?

My personal experience, expressed much more specifically in my class, made it possible for students to feel safe orally sharing stories and one or two did so.

After that we read “Yellow Wallpaper.” We discussed its history and surrounding information such as Gilman’s explanation for writing the work, an English teacher’s explication of the story, and the history of mental health and women in the United States.

For instance, Governor Winthrop wrote in his Journal on 13 April 1645:

Mr. Hopkins, the governor of Hartford upon Connecticut, came to Boston, and brought his wife with him, (a godly young woman, and of special parts,) who was fallen into a sad infirmity, the loss of her understanding and reason, which had been growing upon her divers years, by occasion of her giving herself wholly to reading and writing, and had written many books. Her husband, being very loving and tender of her, was loath to grieve her; but he saw his error, when it was too late. For if she had attended her household affairs, and such things as belong to women, and not gone out of her way and calling to meddle in such things as are proper for men, whose minds are stronger, etc., she had kept her wits, and might have improved them usefully and honorably in the place God had set her.[2:225]

I introduced Nellie Bly at this time. Her work Ten Days in a Mad-House is relatively short. And it does a good job of making clear the situation for women in asylums at the time. Time limitations can be eased by picking particular sections. (Some chapters are less than a page long.)

Love’s Madness: Medicine, the Novel, and Female Insanity explains the focus on the part of the doctors on questions about her lovers and everyone’s giggles over the judge’s description of her as someone’s darling.

To relieve some of the depression of the whole unit, we also talked about her world tour . This is an amazing story of courage on the part of a woman who knows what the world can do and since it ends happily, it relieves some of the gloom this unit creates.

There is a YouTube on Nellie,
that is living history. It is short and introduces the students to her. There are other YouTube videos available on her.

Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour” talks of a kind husband with a life that is circumscribed not by physician or barred windows but by society’s expectations. The shortness of the story, the simplicity of the narrative line, and the shock of the ending makes it a favorite in English classes. We discussed the expectations for women in the day, in terms of education, work, and family. We also discussed the differences in working women and ladies. (This comes up in Nellie Bly and can be either examined there first or after the reading discussed here.)

The third literary work in this second section which we read in this section was Susan Glaspell’s Trifles. This play is complicated in ways that are more understandable having read and discussed women’s issues and mental health issues in the day. Though it is from a later era, the differences are not extreme, since it is about a farming community, a more conservative, less changing group than, for instance, a story about a woman in the city in the same era.

This unit allowed us to talk about women’s issues, to place women’s issues in a historical context which explained some anomalies the students had noticed in life around them, and to discuss mental health and insanity in a way that was unthreatening and thoughtful.

I am also thinking about using part of this in the class on Writing in the Behavioral Sciences to introduce the kinds of issues there have been historically.

Working on a paper and finding other things to do

I am working on a paper for CCTE’s State of the Profession. I’ve worked on it from a lot of angles and I am not happy with it yet. I know it is going somewhere, and I know where I want it to go, but the paths I’m taking to get there are not right yet.

While I was searching my hard drive for some quotes I took note of, I found an old paper that I worked on twenty years ago. I had started updating it and realized that one of the Call For Papers would be perfect for it, if I revise it just a little. So I am going to do that.

And I found another CFP that is for an online journal. One of the papers I have just begun working on would be perfect for that. So I need to flesh out the proposal a bit and send it on.

Conference Questions

How many conferences should I apply to?

It sounds like I am being stuck up, and I certainly don’t mean it that way. But I don’t want to apply to more conferences than I can reasonably attend.

I can write the papers easily. I have found that the more papers I write, the more I have to write. My brain just keeps flowing ideas, related tangentially to one another or to my own personal preferences.

That doesn’t mean I will get accepted at all of them, of course. I was disappointed in the lack of reception to the research agenda presented in my paper for 4Cs.

But how many conferences can I reasonably attend while teaching? Is there a limit to how I should decide to apply? (Obviously national is better than regional in prestige. But what if you can do both? Is that better or worse?)

Looking over tenure recommendations for big schools indicates that two to three national presentations a year are acceptable. I would assume that means that regional presentations must come in higher numbers. (Are there very many conferences in the summer?) Of course, I am not presently presenting sufficiently to apply for positions at large research universities.

Is that a goal? Doing sufficient research that someone in the large university would look at me?

I don’t know. I like presenting. I like writing. But I don’t know that I want to work at a research-driven university.

But if I haven’t been presenting for the past fifteen years and I need to be presenting a lot to show that I can, then perhaps I should continue to work up presentations.

How many research topics can I pursue at one time?

Really my question is: do my topics need to be in one field, so that I become the expert or can I distribute them across multiple interests?

Is it important to build up a reputation in a field? Or is it sufficient to build up a name across the field?

Right now my papers are on:
information literacy for low SES [accepted]
teaching controversial issues, religion and politics [accepted]
an analysis of bias in political coverage [accepted]
job searches [pending]
the use of fairy tales to introduce literary analysis [pending]
the benefits of pen and computer [pending]
bridging the gap for low SES in digital rhetoric and culture [pending] (Not an example of double dipping, though it does have some facets similar to the accepted paper.)
the rhetorical creation of heroes at the national political conventions [writing]
the rhetorical creation of Americans at the national political conventions [writing] (A subset of the work above.)
Christianity as it is portrayed in the works of six popular speculative fiction authors [writing]
an analysis and comparison of bias in and political coverage [writing] (Again the work above is a subset of this.)

If you look at these topics, you would think I am interested in:
politics (and rhetoric)
class discrimination

You’d be correct. But I am also interested in cross-genre romance, science fiction and fantasy, mysteries, genre-questionable literary works, teaching in general…

So, again, the question is, should I limit my topics? Or can I pursue a broad range of interests across multiple intersecting fields?

Does it matter how much my name (or my school name) gets out there?

Which school do I identify?

The low ses work was primarily done at CC2 where I do not teach at present. So I put CC1, where I have continued the work, down as my school affiliation.

On my other presentations, should I put down SLAC? It is where I hope to work full-time and do work part-time. Will it prejudice the readers against me if I am at CC1 or SLAC? Can I submit without my college affiliation listed?

I guess CC1 doesn’t care if I do research and SLAC does. So if it is not related to work done at CC1 (or 2), I should put down SLAC.

The school year has begun. … and a comment on elite attitudes

I have five classes and I am enjoying them so far.

I did get a bit ahead of myself in two classes, because I assumed a greater familiarity with computers than some of my students actually had. But they still managed to get started and blog. (Go read their stuff at Davis English Addendum.

I’m going to have my other classes read and comment, trying to create a confluence of academia through this one blog portal.

… I’m a little po’ed about CEA’s “fragmented blogs” comment, which was just a throw away line in their conference inivitation.

We live in a world atomized into text messages and jump cuts, socially constructed snippets on networking sites, fragmented blogs and news bites, ones and zeroes.

says their call for papers

Is that atomized like reduced to atoms? So the world has been destroyed by texting, networking sites, blogs, and programming?

Don’t think so.

Odd perspective that.

Call for Papers: Science Fiction Research Association

It was not that long ago (perhaps five years) when I was at a conference where someone said that academics didn’t respect science fiction. Apparently science fiction academics are changing that, with a fortieth annual conference. (That’s pretty high up in numbers to be un-respected.)

If you have an interest:

The website says the conference is:

Engineering the Future and Southern-Fried Science Fiction and Fantasy
June 11-14, Atlanta, GA (Wyndham Midtown Hotel)
Guest of Honor: Michael Bishop
Special Guest Authors: F. Brett Cox, Paul di Filippo, Andy Duncan, Kathleen Ann Goonan, and Jack McDevitt

The deadline for proposals is April 1, 2009 at midnight EST.

I love the idea of southern-fried sci fi and fantasy… But I don’t know that it is what I read.

I’ll have to think about it.

If we propose, and we both get in, let me know and we can meet up.