Call for Papers--Writing Against the Curriculum: Anti-Disciplinarity in the Writing and Cultural Studies Classroom

Cultural studies critiques of disciplinarity have engendered a wide range of alternatives to the disciplinary norms that govern the American academy: multi-, inter-, pre-, post-, trans-, and anti-disciplinarity. We seek essays that use these notions as grounds to think through writing and the writing-intensive classroom as spaces in which to challenge the conventional organization and segregation of knowledges and epistemologies into discrete and highly regulated disciplines. Building, for example, on the work of Henry Giroux, Paolo Freire, Cary Nelson, and others, we imagine “disciplinary” writing as “disciplined” writing, in the sense that Michel Foucault uses the term in Discipline and Punish: writing produced under the auspices of highly controlled and tightly guarded disciplines is subject to surveillance and restriction that governs what knowledge can be made, under what conditions it can be made, and how it is authorized. Therefore, we see writing courses (now more and more considered to be pre-disciplinary, and therefore outside the disciplines) and language-intensive cultural studies courses (which have the potential to cut across a wide variety of disciplines, particularly in the humanities) to be rich spaces in which to enact a resistant pedagogy that asks students to think beyond and against the disciplinary conventions which govern much of the rest of higher education pedagogies.

Writing Against the Curriculum is being assembled in response to the growing popularity of Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and Writing in the Disciplines (WID) programs in universities and colleges across the United States. Given that many of these programs employ both a pre-disciplinary “Introduction to Writing” course, followed by a sequence or selection of writing-intensive courses housed within academic departments, they simultaneously offer opportunities to subvert disciplinary knowledge production in the earlier course, even as they reaffirm those divisions in their later requirements. Nonetheless, the study of rhetoric, the attention to invention and intervention, the emphasis on critical thinking, and a curricular flexibility that enables a pedagogy that can be applied to a wide variety of topics makes these and similar composition classrooms excellent spaces to problematize disciplinarity before students experience its enforcement most intensely.

Essays might ask any of the following questions, and other related lines of inquiry:

Theoretical Interventions
• How do various critiques of disciplinarity account for writing?
• How do pre-, inter-, multi-, trans-, post-, and/or anti-disciplinarity relate to one another?
• What is the status of anti-disciplinarity in today’s academy?
• What sorts of writing resist and/or reinscribe disciplinarity?
• How does disciplinarity discipline writing?
Anti-disciplinarity and Writing Pedagogy
• How do various writing programs resist and/or reinscribe disciplinarity?
• What classroom approaches or activities resist or openly subvert disciplinarity?
• What are the challenges facing writing pedagogy in the disciplinary academy?

Writing in the Anti-disciplines
• How might we think of various modes of discourse (particularly those influenced by cultural studies) as anti-disciplines?
o Post-colonial studies
o Disability studies
o Diaspora studies and critical race theory
o Performance studies
o Gender studies and Queer theory
• How does writing inform these anti-disciplines?
• How do these anti-disciplines imagine writing?
• How can these anti-disciplines transform the writing classroom?

This collection has been solicited by an interested publisher as part of a series on cultural studies, activism and pedagogy. We plan to submit the completed manuscript by August 2007. Please send completed essay (5,000-8,000 words) and c.v., to Ryan Claycomb ( or Randi Kristensen ( by August 15, 2006.