The Pedagogical Potential of Story: Life Writing, Composition, and Blended Scholarship Call for Proposals, Amy E. Robillard and D. Shane Combs, Editors

Life writing texts—essays, memoirs, autobiographies, letters, diaries, interviews—are the focus of this collection for a few reasons: first, they call attention to the circumstances of their own production in ways that foreground process; second, they demonstrate our core interdependence, as one can no more write one’s life without writing the lives of others than one can live without food; and third, they show how all writing is a part of ongoing conversations (a claim that has been entrenched in scholarly discourse for some time).

We all rely on and live within cultural narratives that we did not choose, and we try, to varying degrees, to control those narratives by revising them in any number of ways. In this collection, we want to highlight the ways that scholarship and theory blend productively with life writing to create something new: not arguments but essays. We seek essays that blend the public and the private to theorize writing, teaching, learning, and living. We want to let life writing do what it does every single day for so many people: provide insight, show us we’re not alone, and stimulate our own thinking, writing, and learning.

We invite proposals that blend life writing and scholarship, including but not limited to, essays that address any of the following:

·      How does a complex understanding of narrative contribute to identity?

·      How do we story our lives as scholars and teachers? When and why might we turn to the autobiographical in our lived experiences as scholars and teachers?

·      How does life writing teach us how to live?

·      What does life writing—reading it or writing it or both—teach us about writing processes?

·      How might our understanding of rhetoric inform analyses of life writing’s acts of persuasion and negotiation of truth and belief?

·      How can we theorize writing differently by writing autobiographically?

·      What are the effects of challenging cultural narratives in our writing about the self?

·      How might we tell our stories autobiographically while using previous life writing autobiographies as theory? Or, how do we make our stories historically relational to the life writing that precedes us?

·      How does life writing contribute to the theorizing of affect?

·      How do changing life situations—grief, illness, trauma—affect our desire and/or willingness to write autobiographically?

What we are not looking for: essays that send us back to the endless loop of well-trod debate. We seek productive and imaginative blending of story and scholarship that show minds at work on the page, thinking through complex issues of concern to teachers, writers, learners, people in the early twenty-first century.

Please email a proposal of 500-750 words to Amy Robillard at or Shane Combs at by November 15, 2017. You can expect to hear back from us by January 31, 2018.