Community Literacy Journal



CFP for Edited Collection


Civic Engagement in Global Contexts: International Education, Community Partnerships, and Higher Education

Eds. Jim Bowman and Jennifer deWinter 

Project Overview

In recent decades, many US colleges and universities have embarked on ambitious projects abroad in an effort to enhance their work in an increasingly globalized world. These efforts are fueled by both idealist and pragmatic motives. Some institutions seek to develop a global brand that brings prestige and perhaps even a pipeline of international students to the U.S. (Toma, 2009; Pon and Ritchie, 2014). Others seek to immerse students in diverse cultural contexts and thus realize college-wide learning goals pertaining to global awareness (Hovland, 2005; Starr-Glass, 2010). Yet others develop initiatives that afford students and faculty opportunities to practice civic engagement on a global scale (Bringle, Hatcher, and Jones, 2011; McIlrath and MacLabhrainn, 2007). Examples of such efforts include the development of satellite campuses in foreign countries; collaborative projects between schools in the US and abroad to address local and global challenges; writing projects embedded within foreign study; and so forth.

In almost all of these efforts, writing and literacy practices remain crucial to the efficacy and ethics of the projects. Thus, writing programs and service learning programs are particularly well-positioned to contribute meaningfully to global civic engagement in higher education. A small body of emerging scholarship has begun to examine this work more closely (Thaiss, Bräuer, Carlino, Ganobcsik-Williams, and Sinha, 2012; Castelló and Donahue, 2012; Martins, 2015). However, the complexities of this work remain under-theorized in a number of important ways. For example, civic engagement is often tied with US neoliberal attitudes toward democratic ideologies: to engage in service learning, for example, is to become aware of ourselves as members of a democratic society that is often locally and globally defined. However, this looks and acts fundamentally different in countries and societies, especially those with fundamentally different socio-political systems.

This collection examines the role of writing, rhetoric, and literacy programs and approaches in the practice of civic engagement in global contexts. Writing programs and literacy programs have experience in civic engagement and service learning projects in their local communities and their work is central to developing students’ literacy practices. Further, these programs compel student writers to attend to audience needs and rhetorical exigencies as well as reflect on their own subject positions. Thus, they are particularly well-positioned to partner with other units on college campuses engaged in global partnerships. With this in mind, we invite scholars who work in international civic engagement and service learning to consider the following questions:

Socio-Political Differences and Concerns for Civic Engagement Pedagogy

  • What does service learning or community literacy look like in non-US situations and what are the reasons for this difference?
  • What do theories of rhetoric, literacy, and composition play as a tool for critiques, self-awareness, and social action or in responding to particular challenges?
  • What type of civic engagement is possible in different cultural and political contexts?   
  • Is service learning and civic engagement possible in non-US political systems (such as totalitarian regimes)? If so, what does this look like? What’s at stake? What are the specific considerations of this approach in a non-neoliberal political structure?


  • What are models of service learning and civic engagement partnerships in transnational contexts?
  • What does reciprocity look like in transnational higher education partnerships with very different political economies social and political systems?
  • What learning outcomes for students are realistic in light of asymmetrical relationships of power? What learning outcomes are realistic and work against tropes of the savior complex? How can instructors and/or programs work against this and still leave the students feeling like they can be meaningful actors?  

Administrative / Curricular

  • What might be the role of writing and writing programs in satellite campuses abroad?
  • What is the role of writing and writing programs in foreign study, as well as in faculty-driven research and curricular projects?
  • What are the affordances (both barriers and obstacles as well as opportunities) to creating and sustaining these types of programs?
  • What types of synergy can be created between writing programs and other campus programs--civic engagement and service learning programs, foreign study, WAC and WID, and so forth--to foster effective, sustainable global engagement?

The above is not an exhaustive list; however, the questions point to the power that politics, culture, partnerships, institutions, and individuals have in affecting civic engagement and service learning in international contexts.

If you are interested in contributing to this collection, please send queries or submit a 300-500 word abstract by January 15th, 2016 to either Jim Bowman at or Jennifer deWinter at Final drafts are due August 30th, 2016.



Posted: 2015-11-17 More...



Writing Democracy 2016 | Documenting Our Place in History: The Political Turn, Part II

We invite proposals for a poster session on “Documenting Our Place in History: The Political Turn, Part II,” at Writing Democracy workshop at CCCC 2016, April 6, 2016, in Houston, Texas (1:30-5:30). This poster session will showcase research, teaching, and community-based activities that addresses one or more of the following themes, especially as they might contribute to CCCC 2016 theme, “Writing Strategies for Action”:

  • Details of the most pressing issues that a “political term” might address, including a critical lens and vocabulary through which to understand these issues and the role of writing teachers within them.
  • Accounts of Composition/Rhetoric’s political commitment to underrepresented populations before, during, and after they reside in our classrooms.
  • Insights from recent political movements (local, national, and transnational) as models for the type of political literacy and writing practices which our classrooms might support.

This poster session is organized by a team of faculty and graduate students involved with the Writing Democracy project ( This afternoon workshop extends a conversation about the 1930s Federal Writers’ Project begun informally at CCCC 2010, expanded in a conference on Writing Democracy held at Texas A&M University-Commerce in March 2011, and extended still further at three CCCC Workshops (2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015) to return in 2016 to the 2013 workshop’s focus on the “political turn,” specifically the issues around which rhetoric and composition might productively organize. Attendance at each of these annual events has been strong and grows stronger every year. This year, we invite new voices to join our conversation about the role writing can play in a participatory democracy. 

For additional information, please visit our blog at There, you will find the proposal for this Writing Democracy workshop, including the workshop’s schedule.

After the CCCC review process concludes for the 2016 conference, we will circulate this “call for posters” inviting concrete examples of a “political turn,” expanding upon one or more of the themes listed above. The Poster Session resulting from this open call will include two parts:  presentations of posters by their authors (Part I) and a panel of respondents (Part II).  

To be considered for this poster session, please submit a 250-word proposal that:

  • Identifies your presentation title,
  • Explains your project,
  • Indicates the anticipated status of the project by April 6, 2016 (note that projects may just be beginning, or still in-progress, when you submit this proposal; we are happy to invite poste presentations in its early stages, but we need to know the status to plan), and
  • Discusses your interest in sharing your research with Writing Democracy workshop attendees.

Submit .doc or .pdf proposals to Shannon Carter via email ( or before midnight CST on January 30, 2016. Include contact information for all proposal authors in the body of the email. Proposals will be reviewed by the Writing Democracy Team identified below, and applicants will be notified by January 30th.

To help accepted presenters prepare for the poster session, the planning team will share strategies for designing posters. Accepted presenters also will be invited to participate in a peer review of poster drafts in late February.

We look forward to learning about your work!


Posted: 2015-11-11 More...

CLJ office closed until September 1st


Our office is closed for article submissions until Tuesday, September 1st.

For queries, email Amanda Gaddam:
For web site, email Daniel Carroll:

Posted: 2015-06-22

CFP: Community Food Literacies

Call for Papers

Community Literacy Journal
Special Issue: Fall 2015 (10.1)
Community Food Literacies
Editor: Michael Pennell

What role does food literacy play in our communities? What role does community literacy play in local and global food movements? This special issue of the Community Literacy Journal will focus on the connections between food and community literacy. Alongside the rise in community supported agriculture, farmers markets, and craft/local foods, there is a growing concern with food justice, food security, and food deserts. The recent local food movements are tied to and reflective of local communities. In particular, these local communities represent the people, places, and literacies behind our food system. Moreover, they occupy a key context for investigating and exploring the intertwining of food and community literacy. Ideally, this special issue will contain work by academics, community members, literacy workers, and food workers, as they offer glimpses into community food issues, movements, and organizations.     

welcome electronic submissions no longer than 20 double-spaced pages that conform to current MLA guidelines for format and documentation (as well as the journal’s submission guidelines). Submissions may include scholarly manuscripts focusing on any social, cultural, rhetorical, or institutional aspects of community literacy and food. In particular, I look forward to manuscripts co-authored in collaboration with community partners. Your name or other identifying information should not appear in the submission itself. Please include your name(s) and contact information, title of the submission, and an abstract (about 100 words) in the body of your email message. The deadline for manuscript submissions is June 1, 2015. Please attach submissions as a Word or Word-compatible file and email to Michael Pennell (

Feel free to contact me with queries, as well as questions, before submitting manuscript.
Posted: 2015-04-11 More...

CFP: Conference on Community Writing


Conference Theme: Building Engaged Infrastructure
Boulder, CO
October 16-17, 2015

The Program for Writing and Rhetoric at University of Colorado Boulder is proud to host the first Conference on Community Writing — a space for scholars, teachers, program administrators, and community leaders to share scholarship and examine the theories, technologies, and best practices shaping Rhetoric and Composition, related disciplines, and the communities that house our institutions.  We call together innovators who push a range of social boundaries in their uses of writing and rhetoric in community settings and who encourage students to approach the act of composing as participatory members of publics beyond the classroom.

The conference theme, Building Engaged Infrastructure, challenges attendees to build strong and durable community-university partnerships through teaching, research, and community writing, simultaneously challenging faculty who do community-engaged work to find support within university departments. The theme also explores how to build institutional support for departments themselves as they become more engaged and committed to community-engaged instruction and scholarship across the curriculum, an essential infrastructure if the work is to be sustainable.

For community members who work outside of the university, the conference is an invitation to share expertise and experiences with writing and discourse as a means toward social change. The Conference on Community Writing will bring together academics and community innovators to explore the relationships between communication, writing, and action as attendees work together to build engaged departments and sustainable communities.

In addition to traditional panel presentations, workshops, and keynote sessions, we will foster collaborative, action-oriented working sessions, DeepThink Tanks, facilitated by community and disciplinary leaders, which address critical questions about writing and rhetoric in relation to social, environmental, and economic movements.

Posted: 2014-09-15 More...

CFP: Engaging the Possibilities of Disability Studies

Call for Papers
Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing and Service-Learning
Special Issue – Fall 2014
Engaging the Possibilities of Disability Studies
Co-editors Bre Garrett and Allison Hitt
In the past decade, disability studies has increasingly informed the work of writing and rhetoric. Scholars in composition theory and pedagogy, rhetorical history, digital writing, civic and public writing, technical and professional communication, and writing center studies have turned to the lens of disability studies to question and challenge the field’s normative treatment of students and writing practices. This special issue will be devoted to the important intersections between disability studies and public rhetoric, civic writing, and service learning. In his rhetorical reading of disability studies and composition, Robert McRuer defines disability as an “open mesh of possibilities….” How might teachers, scholars, and activists work together to re-engage disability studies as a productive site of possibility?
Some questions that we encourage contributors to engage with include, but are in no way limited to, the following:
Posted: 2014-06-28 More...

CFP: Learning the Language of Global Citizenship


Call for Proposals
Learning the Language of Global Citizenship:
Strengthening Service-Learning in TESOL
The literature on service-learning in TESOL has developed over the last two decades to include over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals and several edited collections (see the attached bibliography from the September 2013 special issue of the TESOL Journal). Collectively, the research to date indicates that service-learning gives English Language Learners (ELLs) insight on U.S. culture, provides authentic speaking and listening situations, enhances literacy skills, and has a positive effect on retention. When incorporated into TESOL teacher education programs, service-learning enhances pre-service teachers’ understanding of ELLs, language learning theories and practices, and the communities in which they serve. 
Service-learning scholarship in TESOL has not only increased our collective understanding of engaged teaching and learning in diverse settings, but also demonstrates increased theoretical maturity by systematically applying empirical methods to examine a range of assorted research phenomenon. Key articles in the existing research base tell us powerful stories about language, culture, race, nationality, and contribute to public discourse on immigration, globalization, education, and civic engagement, to name a few of the issues to which English Language Learners and their teachers can contribute.
Proposals for innovative applications of service-learning TESOL research and practice are encouraged. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Best practices in TESOL service-learning research and praxis
  • Service-learning and TESOL teacher education
  • TESOL, service-learning, and Second Language Acquisition theory
  • Service-learning in Intensive English Programs
  • Service-learning in ELLs in PreK-12, higher education, adult education, and international settings.
  • Assessment of TESOL service-learning, with particular emphasis on language and cultural learning outcomes (e.g., reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, and culture)
  • Intercultural communication, multilingualism, and TESOL service-learning
  • Interdisciplinary service-learning projects with ELLs focusing on environmental and social issues such as immigration, global warming, poverty, animal welfare, and eldercare.

Prospective authors should email proposals up to 600 words in length (not including citations) in .doc, .PDF, or. RTF format to James M. Perren <> and Adrian Wurr <> by September 1, 2014. Selected authors will be invited to submit full-length manuscripts by Jan. 1, 2014. The collection will be published by Common Ground Publishers in fall, 2015.

Posted: 2014-06-23 More...

Reflections: Latin@s in Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service-learning

From our friends and colleagues at Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service Learning: a special issue focusing on "Latin@s in Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service-learning." Click here for Table of Contents PDF.  
Posted: 2014-01-26 More...

Issue 8.1 is in the mail!

Posted: 2014-01-15 More...

“Best Public Intellectual Special Issue” Award

The Community Literacy Journal was given the “Best Public Intellectual Special Issue” Award from the Council for Editors of Learned Journals at the Modern Language Association (MLA) annual convention in Chicago, January 11th.

* Notes from the award ceremony and judge’s remarks:

According to the Council for Editors of Learned Journals, journal contestants in the “Best Public Intellectual Issue” Award category must reach out beyond academe, connect with a popular audience in terms of accessible language and attractive presentation, and seek to achieve the democratic mission of higher education.
Posted: 2014-01-15 More...
More Announcements...

Vol 10, No 1 (2015)

Table of Contents

Front Matter

Front Matter & Table of Contents


Community Food Literacies: An Introduction
Michael Pennell
Nutritional Noise: Community Literacies and the Movement Against Foods Labeled as 'Natural'
Erin Trauth
De aquí y de allá: Changing Perceptions of Literacy through Food Pedagogy, Asset-Based Narratives, and Hybrid Spaces
Lucía Durá, Consuelo Salas, William Medina-Jerez, Virginia Hill
Mindful Persistence: Literacies for Taking up and Sustaining Fermented-Food Projects
Christina Santana, Stacey Kuznetsov, Sheri Schmeckpeper, Linda Curry, Elenore Long, Lauren Davis, Heidi Koerner, Kimberly McQuarrie
Sponsors of Agricultural Literacies: Intersections of Institutional and Local Knowledge in a Farming Community
Marcy Galbreath
Community Cookbooks: Sponsors of Literacy and Community Identity
Lisa Mastrangelo
Feed Your Mind: Cultivating Ecological Community Literacies with Permaculture
Stephanie Wade

Book and New Media Reviews

Book & New Media Reviews
Jessica Shumake