CWS Blog

blog navigation

CWS Blog

blog posts

  • Gesa E. Kirsch CWS Graduate Student Symposium

    The Center for Writing Studies conference planning committee invites proposals for the 5th Annual Gesa E. Kirsch CWS Graduate Student Symposium, April 25, 2014, from 8:30 am-4:30 pm. Graduate students from all departments are welcome to present on topics of interest within writing, literacy, discourse, rhetoric, education, and communication. The symposium is a supportive conference where graduate students can present and receive feedback from a small, interested group of peers and faculty.

    We encourage a range of presentation types, from traditional papers to multimodal, performative, reflective, or experimental projects.  Please send a title and short abstract (100-200 words) to Kaia Simon ( by April 4, 2014. Specify your preference for either a 10- or 20-minute presentation.

    Additionally, one session of the Symposium will provide an opportunity for small-group workshops. This workshop session is designed to be a writing group experience for graduate students to get feedback on written work, including seminar papers and/or upcoming conference papers. To participate, contact Kaia Simon ( by April 4, 2014.

    Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

  • Good News from CWS

    It is not always easy to find good news in any medium, but we have a lot to share as the new semester starts. This fall, CWS is looking forward to visits by Mary Juzwik, who will present at the Colloquium on October 24 and the University of Illinois Writing Project Fall Conference on October 26, and Maisha (Fisher) Winn, who will present at the colloquium on December 5. CWS is also co-sponsoring a visit by James Gee, who will talk on new literacies and video games, at the Symposium on Activity-Based Approaches to Communication, October 5. Kaitlin Marks-Dubbs and Ligia Mihut will present their dissertation work at a Graduate Research Forum on October 17. We are looking forward to colloquia by Jordynn Jack and Brian Street in the spring.  

    I am also happy to announce that we have a new Core Faculty member of CWS, Kelly Ritter, Professor of English and incoming Director of First-Year Rhetoric.

    We want to celebrate as well the new positions of six Writing Studies students, who completed their PhD work in the last year....  Click the title above to read more!

  • Virginia Kuhn, "Filmic Texts, Future Texts: From Keywords to Keyframes"


    When: Thursday, May 23th at 3:00 pm

    Where: English Building 160

    Sponsored by NCSA, iCHASS, & ISDA

    Abstract: Filmic media (aka video) is an increasingly ubiquitous mode of expression and communication brought about by the rise of consumer grade video cameras and other mobile devices (smart phones, iPads, flip cams) on the one hand,  and improvements in graphics processing units for networked editing and cloud based video hosting on the other. These technologies allow both the recording and the dissemination of video in ways that are utterly unprecedented. However,  we have yet to see its real potential. This presentation will focus on the radical potential of video and its implications for transforming research,  scholarship and pedagogy.

    Bio: Virginia Kuhn serves as associate director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy and associate professor of cinema practice in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She directs an undergraduate Honors program, oversees faculty in the IML Digital Studies minor and teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate classes in new media, all of which marry theory and practice. Committed to helping shape open source tools for scholarship, she recently published the first article created in the authoring platform, Scalar. “Filmic Texts and the Rise of the Fifth Estate” appeared in the International Journal of Learning and Media, she just completed editing her second peer-reviewed digital anthology titled, MoMLA: From Gallery to Webtext, and co-authored a chapter in Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Policies and Politics, which was published by the pioneering UK-based scholarly press, Open Book Publishers.


  • Second Language Writing: An Overview of the Development of the Discipline

    Tony Silva, Purdue University: "Second Language Writing: An Overview of the Development of the Discipline"
    Date: Thursday, April 11
    Time: 4-5 pm
    Place: Lucy Ellis Lounge, Foreign Languages Building

    Abstract: In describing the development of second language writing (L2W) studies, I will (1) stipulate a definition of L2W; (2) examine trends in the development of L2W decade by decade from 1950 to the present—by looking at the numbers and areas of focus of the relevant publicly available documents, by mentioning important contributors to the field, and by examining such issues as theory, inquiry paradigms, types of inquiry (empirical and hermeneutic), instructional practices, and the creation of infrastructure; (3) assess the current status of L2W studies around the globe; (4) provide a description of the current status of L2W as an incipient discipline; (5) speculate on the future of L2W studies; and (6) provide a list of resources for further inquiry.

  • IPRH Panel: The Future of Authorship

    Panel: The Future of Authorship (Brown Bag Lunch)
    Date: February 22, 2013
    Time: 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Location: IPRH, Humanities Lecture Hall

    About the event:
    This panel will examine recently developed forms of scholarly communication, focusing on the ways scholars now create knowledge and communicate their findings to a range of audiences using innovative digital platforms and tools for conducting research, writing, and publishing. The aim of this panel is to explore the intellectual advances afforded by new modes of authorship, peer review, and publishing. Please join us for a panel discussion featuring the following speakers:

    Nicholas Mirzoeff (Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University);
    Kevin Hamilton (Associate Professor of Art and Design, and IPRH Coordinator of Digital Scholarly Communication, UIUC);
    Eduardo Ledesma (Assistant Professor of Spanish, UIUC)
    Jodee Stanley (Editor, Ninth Letter)

    Please bring your lunch. Cookies and beverages will be provided.

  • IPRH lecture Richard Graff

    Richard Graff 
(Writing Studies, University of Minnesota)

“Spaces of Oratorical Performance in Ancient Greece:  Reconstruction, Interpretive Visualization, and Assessment”

    Date: January 30, 2013

    Time: 4:30 p.m.

    Location: 1000 Lincoln Hall

    This event is free and open to the public.

About this event:

This talk will present chief findings of a long-term collaborative, interdisciplinary study of the physical settings in which ancient Greeks practiced the art of rhetoric. These include a variety spaces and structures from the late-Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods (ca. 500-100 BCE) utilized throughout the Greek world as venues for the performance of formal oratory-- principally, buildings that housed meetings of city councils (bouleuteria), auditoria utilized for larger citizen assemblies, and various structures fitted for use as law courts. In addition to providing a much-needed synthesis of the archaeological, literary, and historical evidence for these spaces and structures, the study utilizes both traditional and emergent research methods to elucidate the ways in which the physical settings structured communicative (inter)action and group deliberation.  3D digital modeling and other forms of advanced visualization have been utilized to identify salient architectural-spatial and acoustical variables and to assess them in terms of the opportunities and challenges they presented to both speakers and audiences.

    The talk will summarize the inventory of speaking sites considered in the study and the methods of analysis and interpretation utilized in it. It will then illustrate these methods by considering a few significant but neglected structures, and a single well-known, but enigmatic one -- the meeting place of the Athenian assembly called the Pnyx.

  • Summer and Fall 2012 in the Center for Writing Studies

    Summer and Fall 2012 in the Center for Writing Studies has been an active time and we have much to celebrate. Between May and August, four students completed their graduate concentrations and headed off to new positions:  Jessica Bannon as Assistant Professor of English at the University of Indianapolis, Lauren Marshall Bowen as Assistant Professor of Humanities at Michigan Technological University, Amber Buck as Assistant Professor of English at CUNY-Staten Island, and Cory Holding as Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. We miss their many contributions here, but know that they are going on to contribute much to their new institutions and the field.

    In May, I led a three-day Faculty WAC Seminar and enjoyed working with a great group of 15 professors from five colleges. In August, Jon Stone and I led a two-day WAC seminar for a similarly diverse group of 26 graduate students.

    The University of Illinois Writing Project offered its fourth Summer Institute, summer writing camps for local elementary and secondary students, and a fall conference. The excellence of UIWP was also recognized as we obtained funding for the second year from the Office of Public Engagement.

    The Fall also featured two colloquia, with visits by Valerie Kinloch and Daniel Perrin, both of whom gave fascinating talks and also had meetings with a number of graduate students and professors. We also had three brownbag meetings, with talks by Robert McChesney and Lindsay Russell and an information session on our Writing across Media (WAM) courses, with the participation of our current instructors (Alexandra Cavallaro, Kaitlin Marks-Dubbs, and Melissa Larabee).

    The Writers Workshop also had an active Fall as can be seen from their newsletter.

    In Alumni news, please join me in congratulating Amy Wan, now Assistant Professor of English at Queens College, CUNY, as her 2011 article “In the Name of Citizenship: The Writing Classroom and the Promise of Citizenship” was selected for the Richard Ohmann Outstanding Article in College English Journal Award!

    In personnel news, Andrea Olinger has agreed to take up duties as an Assistant Director of CWS in the Spring, working with Jon Stone, and Alexandra Cavallaro has agreed to take an Assistant Director position starting in Fall, with Andrea and Allie then working together jointly in 2013-14. Julia Smith will begin teaching a WAM section in Spring. Welcome and thanks to all of them!

    This fall we also were also very happy to have Lindsay Russell (English) join CWS as a Core Faculty member and Safiya Umoja Noble (African American Studies) as an Affiliated Faculty member. Welcome to them both.

    Finally, the Spring will bring a colloquium by Mary Juzwik (Michigan State) in March and Xiaoye You (Penn State) in April, two graduate student research forums (the first in February featuring Rebecca Woodard and Sonia Kline), brownbags to be announced, and our third Gesa Kirsch Graduate Research Symposium with alumna Christa Olson (now at UW-Madison) as our keynote speaker. In the meantime, I wish everyone happy and peaceful holidays.

    Paul Prior, Director of the Center for Writing Studies

  • Site redesign, new blog, and academic year recap


    Welcome to a slightly redesigned site for the Center for Writing Studies. We've made a few changes to make the site easier to navigate and more useful. 

    In particular, we've changed the layout of menu items to make it easier to find some of our activities (our Writing Across Media course, UIWP, and the Center's Speaker Series). The calendar of upcoming events has been moved to a side panel and in its place we now have this blog, a more dynamic and flexible space that will allow us to post a wide variety of information that may be of interest to Center For Writing Studies students, faculty, and visitors. If there is information you would like to have posted, submit it to our Assistant Director, Jon Stone (, for review. We invite news about conferences, calls for papers, events of interest around campus, and other relevant information and news. The blog is RSS enabled for those who would like to subscribe for external viewing. 

    We've also added a link that allows for secure donations to support special CWS programs and activities. 

    We want to acknowledge the close of a wonderful 2011-2012 academic year. We've had the privilege of hosting or co-hosting a wide variety of visiting scholars including Danielle DeVoss, Jonathan Alexander, Morris Young, Ralph Cintron, Neal Lerner, and CWS alum Derek Van Ittersum. Our Colloquium has also hosted talks by CWS graduate students: John O'Connor and Vanessa Roullion in the Fall and Heather Blain and Julia Smith this Spring. Our brownbag series has featured talks from Sharra Vostral, Brendesha Tynes, Lisa Nakamura, another visiting alum, Jody Skipka, and a group of graduate students (Jessica Bannon, Lauren Marshall Bowen, Amber Buck, Cory Holding, and Martha Webber) discussing their (successful) experiences on the job market. We also hosted thr 3rd annual Gesa Kirsch CWS Graduate Student Symposium. Our special thanks to everyone who participated in these events.. 

    We look forward to another great year in 2012-13 and wish you all a peaceful and productive summer.