The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquia & Symposia Series


Guest Scholar Speakers

Each academic year the Center invites several well-known scholars to campus to speak as part of our colloquium speaker series. In the fall of 2016, we began hosting symposia with multiple speakers and a range of activities.

For the schedule of colloquium speakers, please see the Center calendar.


Graduate Student Research Forum

In fulfillment of the Writing Studies Concentration requirements and in preparation for long-format job talks, CWS graduate students in their final two years of study present their dissertation research at the colloquium series.


For our archive of previous colloquium and symposia talks, many of which are available as streaming audio, please see our colloquia archive.


Fall 2017



Friday, October 6th; 12:00pm-5:00pm


Trans Symposium Description FlyerTrans Symposium Schedule



Saturday November 4th; 10:00am-5:00pm


Social Justice Education Symposium Info FlyerSocial Justice Education Symposium Schedule



Fall 2016

CWS Inaugural Symposium Wednesday

Jonathan Alexander:“Writing Youth: Young Adult Fiction as Literacy Sponsorship”

The publication of Young Adult (YA) fiction is amongst the most lucrative arms of the contemporary publishing industry, with billions of dollars spent each year in producing, marketing, and creating transmedia franchises for books and products aimed at late adolescents and young adults. YA publishers cannot deny that their readers are actively engaged with multiple platforms of communication and production; such comprise a significant portion of contemporary young adult lifestyles, even at a time of economic downturn. As such, a number of major YA publishing corporations have invested a lot of energy not only in creating multimedia ecologies for their products but also in publishing works that take up such multiliteracies as important themesintheir products. In this presentation, I explore how we might study the corporate sponsorship of media literacy practices in and through young adult fiction. I show how YA novels model for young people ways to manage the various media tools that surround them, and I examine not only YA texts and their media ecologies but also young people’s multiliterate media making in response to their favorite texts and stories.


CWS Inaugural Symposium Thursday


Deborah Brandt: “Toward an Understanding of Writing-Driven Literacy”

You can only write as well as you can read. The best way to learn how to write is to read, read, and read some more. These beliefs run deep in our society and in writing studies as well. But what if they are not true? As a thought experiment, this talk will push on the many differences and conflicts between writing and reading as they have been practiced, regulated, and treated over time. The talk will entertain the possibility that writing well requires separating from reading and embracing writing’s differences. The aim is to develop a vision of writing-based literacy that will allow our field to catch up with important changes happening in the history of mass literacy.


Spring 2016


Elizabeth Moje flyer

Elizabeth Moje

Professor of Education, University of Michigan

"Writing in the Disciplines: From Evidence-Based Argument to Navigating Ways with Words"

In this talk, Dr. Moje will discuss the current emphasis on "evidence-based argument" in calls to teach writing across the curriculum. Acknowledging the value of learning to make arguments from evidence, Dr. Moje will make her own evidence-based argument about the need for teachers to consider the multiple forms of writing in which members of disciplines engage and which novices should learn. These forms of written expression include the writing done to collect and record data, writing to communicate with team members, and writing to understand or to think through ideas. What's more, the texts interdisciplinary scholars adn professional works use to make their arguments represent a rage of written materials (including, but not limited to narratives, charts, graphs, adn other scholars' arguments). Such texts also need to be taught as written forms that writers need to read, synthesize, and represent in their own writing. All of these forms of writing are the "ways with word" (Heath, 1983) of members of disciplines, which are at least as important as the various forms or genre of texts themselves. Dr. Moje will use cases from disciplines and professions to warrent her argument and will discuss the implications for secondary school teaching in the disciplines.

Jeff Rice Flyer

Jeff Rice

Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies, University of Kentucky

"Craft Identities"

Anecdotes. Narratives. Repeated anecdotal narratives. These items, as social media logics, enact a rhetorical sense of engagement as they network across a variety of printed and digital spaces. These items rhetorically engage writers with subject matter. They also enact what I call "craft identity," the networked construction of meaning out of small things, or what de Certeau called spatial stories and Lyotard championed as small stories. Craft identity, I argue, is also a series of small story networked disruptions whose overall narrative joins the personal with the object of study. In this particular case, the object of study is craft beer, beer produced by breweries whose production is fewer than 6 million barrels annually and which only use adjuncts for flavoring, not cost savings. In this talk, craft identity is not a demonstration of what is craft beer, but rather, as grand narratives identity are disrupted by smaller narratives and anecdotes, the talk asks: what do we learn about networked meanings in general? And what do we learn about our positions within such narratives?