The mission of the TC Age Studies forum is to benefit the association by serving as a valuable resource for researchers and educators in the field of age studies. To achieve this goal, researchers explore the implications of age differences across the lifespan and the intersections of age with other categories of identity in literature, media, and culture, particularly focusing on considerations of aging and old age. Educators incorporate age studies concepts into pedagogies of literature, language, and writing. We encourage scholars to explore the impact of their own and others’ age-based stereotypes, the benefits and frustration of aging, and the potential inherent in aging and old age beyond the boundaries of essentialist, reductive valuations. The TC Age Studies forum supports examinations of cultural assumptions and research about age and age-based discriminations, including responses and resistance.

CFP: Special Issue of Literacy in Composition Studies on aging


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    Lauren M. Bowen

    Call for Papers: Special Issue of Literacy in Composition Studies

    Composing a Further Life

    Guest Editors: Lauren Marshall Bowen and Suzanne Rumsey

    The world is aging. According to the National Institute on Aging, rising life expectancies and reduced fertility mean that the percentage of older adults is steadily increasing worldwide. Longer lives, extended careers, and cultural changes are reshaping what it means to grow old. As a multidimensional identity category, old age presents a particularly rich source of inquiry for compositionists. Aging is accompanied by a wide and varied range of biological and cognitive changes, which present new barriers—and new benefits—to existing literacy practices, to new literacy development, and to the experience of teaching. At the same time, old age is a sociopolitical identity category that is necessarily interpreted through different cultural and historic perspectives—constructions and interpretations partly generated by the production and circulation of texts and discourses.

    In many ways, the lens of old age highlights the need for conscious connections between composition and literacy, the keywords of this very journal. Despite efforts to the contrary (e.g., Dobrin), Composition Studies remains a field primarily associated with writing at the college level, which often means it is a field most centrally concerned with the study of young adult writers. In Literacy Studies, however, older adults have figured in studies documenting the cross-generational ebbs and flows of literacy over time. While such cross-generational comparison is essential to understanding the larger social, cultural, and economic contexts of literacy, there is more to be learned from viewing Composition specifically from the perspective of old age and aging.

    Borrowing its title from Mary Catherine Bateson’s 2010 Composing a Further Life, this special issue invites scholarship that considers how attention to old age and aging might expand, and perhaps even challenge, what we know about composition. Questions of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
    · What new purposes and exigencies for writing emerge in later life?

    · How do technological, social, and cultural changes place new demands on the existing literacies of older adults?

    · How does advancing age impact the transfer of new knowledge about writing?

    · What does it mean to age as a writer and/or as a writing teacher?

    · How do we compose our late careers or post-retirement lives as compositionists?

    · How well do interfaces of composing technologies account for the aging body?

    · How might composition and literacy instruction participate in shaping perceptions of older people?

    · How might community literacy pedagogies foster opportunities for cross-generational composition?

    To be considered, please submit a 250-word abstract or a manuscript draft to the editors at Questions may also be directed to this email. The deadline for proposal submissions is September 1, 2017. Accepted manuscripts will be due January 31, 2018.

    About Literacy in Composition Studies:

    LiCS is a refereed open access online journal that sponsors scholarly activity at the nexus of Literacy and Composition Studies. We foreground literacy and composition as our keywords, because they do particular kinds of work. Composition points to the range of writing courses at the college level, including FYC, WAC/WID, writing studies, and professional writing, even as it signals the institutional, disciplinary, and historically problematic nature of the field. Through literacy, we denote practices that are both deeply context-bound and always ideological. Literacy and Composition are therefore contested terms that often mark where the struggles to define literate subjects and confer literacy’s value are enacted.

    Given its ideological nature, literacy is a particularly fluid and contextual term. It can name a range of activities from fundamental knowledge about how to decode text to interpretive and communicative acts. Literacies are linked to know-how, to insider knowledge, and literacy is often a metaphor for the ability to navigate systems, cultures, and situations. At its heart, literacy is linked to interpretation—to reading the social environment and engaging and remaking that environment through communication. Orienting a Composition Studies journal around literacy prompts us to investigate the ways that writing is interpretive as well as persuasive; to analyze the connections and disconnections between writing and reading; and to examine the ways in which literacy acts on or constitutes the writer even as the writer seeks to act on or with others.

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