The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Series


Each academic year the Center invites several well-known scholars to campus to speak as part of our colloquium speaker series. The colloquia run for one and one half hours, with a 45-minute talk followed by a question and answer session. Center graduate students also present their research at the colloquium series twice a year at the Graduate Research Forum.

Typically, talks are held on a Thursday afternoon in room 126 of the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences. The Center hosts a lunch on Thursday with graduate students and/or faculty, a dinner with faculty members on Thursday night, and a breakfast with graduate students on Friday morning.

For the schedule of colloquium speakers, please see the center Calendar. For our archive of previous colloquium talks, many of which are available as streaming audio, please see our colloquia archive.


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?


Fall 2015

Stephanie Kerschbaum Flyer

Stephanie Kerschbaum

Associate Professor, English, University of Delaware

"Disability Disclosure, Research Interviewing, and Markers of Difference"

How does disability matter to everyday communication between interlocutors? Specifically, how do disabled faculty members purposefully negotiate others’ awareness and understanding of their disability? To answer these questions, I draw on the concept of markers of difference that I forward inToward a New Rhetoric of Differenceas well as more recent work in intercultural pragmatics and sociolinguistic narrative analysis to unpack how people position and present themselves as well as what linguistic, embodied, and material resources they use in interactions with others. First, I’ll consider a set of examples involving research design and methodology from an ongoing collaborative interview study I am conducting with Margaret Price. I’ll then turn to narratives shared by disabled faculty members about moments of disability disclosure that reveal some surprising means by which disclosures happen, as well as the ways that disability disclosure is simultaneously a singular and momentous event as well as a recurring and ongoing process.

Robin Jensen Flyer
Robin E Jensen
Associate Professor, Communication, University of Utah

"Fertility in Clinical Time: The Integration of Scientific Specialties as Infertility Studies"

The 1960s and 70s saw the rise of the "infertility clinic" in Western Europe and the United States. Such clinics engendered a shift from disciplinary specific approaches to infertility related research and treatment to integrated approaches that incorporated the methods and expertise of multiple fields of study. This rhetorical history demonstrates that appeals to time--or, more specifically, appeals to clinical tracking, managing, and otherwise intervening in reproductive timing--served as the discursive common denominator for this trans-disciplinary effort.

Drawing from a range of documents from different infertility clinics, professional correspondence, scientific reports, and mainstream media coverage, I contend that to be "fertile" in this context was to be functioning within scientific and clinical time, while to be "infertile" was to be out-of-time, often in more than one sense. I trace this definitional metaphor to the emergence of the "biological clock" trope in the 1980s and its continued employment in the twenty-first century, and I consider the implications of this discursive temporal regime for constructions of sex, gender, and public health.