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Edited Collection Call for Proposals

Contemporary Perspectives on Cognition and Writing

Patricia Portanova, Michael Rifenburg, and Duane Roen, Editors
Foreword by John R. Hayes
At our 2014 Cognition and Writing Special Interest Group meeting in Indianapolis, John
Hayes shared his research on the supposed death of cognition and writing research. He
complicated the rise and fall myth of cognitive studies by offering a series of data
showing that although citations of Flower and Hayess work has steadily increased over
the past twenty-five years, those citations have occurred in publications by authors
outside of English Departments. The Special Interest Group identified two reasons for
this decline. First, cognitive research frequently hinges upon interdisciplinary
collaboration. Advances in cognitive research and new technologies for research may be
best understood by experts in fields such as neuroscience, psychology, and special
education, but interdisciplinary collaboration is still infrequent in mainstream
composition where tenure and promotion guidelines may not value co-authored
scholarship on equal footing as individual scholarship. Second, with teaching, service,
and other administrative responsibilities, it is often difficult to arrange such
interdisciplinary research projects and partnerships and to undertake different research
technologies such as eye-tracking software, fMRI imaging, and statistical analysis
Despite the recent decline of published articles citing the work of Flower and Hayes, we
have identified significant interest and several current research projects by
compositionists in English departments. For example the Framework for Success in
Postsecondary Writing relies on eight habits of mind instructors should foster in students.
Additionally, in Writing Across Context (Utah State UP, 2014), Kathleen Blake Yancey,
Liane Roberston, and Kara Taczak focus on the importance of metacognition for
facilitating writing-related transfer and introducing students to threshold concepts.
We have been in conversation with the Perspectives on Writing series under the WAC
Clearinghouse to produce an edited collection on current issues animating the intersection
of cognition and writing. We invite 500-word proposals for chapters to be included in
these four sections.
Section 1 Building Context: This section will chart the rising interest in cognition and
writing in the 1980s, most notably with the work of Linda Flower and John Hayes, to the
supposed death of such research in the 1990s. Submissions in this section might explore
(but are not limited to) the following questions:
What conversations within writing studies helped give rise to the work of Flower
and Hayes specifically and cognition and writing in general in the1980s?
What are the main threads of research on cognition and writing since the
supposed death of such research in the early 1990s?
What cognitive principles/theories continue to influence our current teaching,
research, and theory-building?

Section 2 Interdisciplinary Research: Interdisciplinary partnerships are critical for

advancing our understanding of cognition and writing. Yet, such partnerships specifically
and interdisciplinarity in general is fraught with challenges. This section will explore the
promises and perils of interdisciplinary research. Submissions in this section might
explore (but are not limited to) the following questions:
What methodological or theoretical challenges are raised when designing and
implementing interdisciplinary research on cognition and writing?
How have advances in research technologies such as eye-tracking software, fMRI
imaging, and statistical analysis software impacted interdisciplinary research?
How can interdisciplinary research partnerships be best supported by department,
college, university, or discipline-wide initiatives?
Section 3 Neuroscientific Discoveries and Applicability: In recent years, neuroscientific
discoveries have advanced our understanding of the brain. For example, we now have
evidence that it is still possible to create new neural pathways well after the early 20s. In
fact, using technology, such as surfing the web, can effectively rewire our brain (Small
2007). This section will explore how neuroscientific discoveries may change our
understanding of the writing process. Submissions in this section might explore (but are
not limited to) the following questions:
How have advances in research in neuroscience impacted the theory, pedagogy,
or practice of writing?
What gaps exist in research on cognition and writing that neuroscientific
investigation could address?
How could recent discoveries in neuroscience (e.g., advances in our
understanding of the brain) inform current research in cognition and writing?
Section 4 Implementing the Habits of Mind: Duane Roen spoke at our 2015 SIG on the
habits of mind forwarded by the 2011 Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing.
These eight habits of mind are positioned as intellectual and practical by the writers of
the Framework. This section will offer a pedagogical discussion of implementing the
habits of mind in writing-intensive classroom and writing center. Submissions in this
section might explore (but are not limited to) the following questions:
How do these habits of mind impact the work of teaching writing, particularly in
regards to discussions of linking metacognition with writing-related transfer or
threshold concepts?
How might past and current conversations on the intersection of cognition and
writing influence classroom implementation of these habits?
In what way are the habits of mind an effective way for focusing a writing
tutoring session or writing center training session?
What roles can the affective domain play in promoting success in college writing
Please send proposals of up to 500 words to cognitionandwritingCFP@gmail.com
by September 1, 2015. Notifications of acceptance will occur by November 1, 2015.
Completed manuscripts of approximately 7500 words (25 pages) are due on June 1,

When submitting a proposal, please include names, email addresses, and institutional
affiliations for all contributors. Queries are welcome, and we encourage a range of
approaches and views.