CFP: Special Issue of Pedagogy “Resilience in an Age of Austerity”, due October 3rd, 2016


Special Issue of Pedagogy – “Resilience in an Age of Austerity”

Guest Editors: Chris Gallagher, Debbie Minter, Shari Stenberg

Proposals Due: October 3, 2016

It is now widely recognized that higher education and the humanities in particular are in crisis. In response to neoliberalism and austerity measures, institutions turn to management practices rooted in corporate efficiency: strategic planning, cost-cutting, outcomes assessment, and aggressive marketing and branding. English Studies is under acute pressure, as it faces declining enrollments, institutional and cultural scrutiny (and often dubiety) about the market value of our work, and a dire disciplinary job market (Welch and Scott, Donoghue, Newfield). As a result, we are often required to prove our worth within value systems that privilege economic gain above teaching and learning.

For this special issue, we invite proposals that theorize and exemplify the possibilities and limitations of resilience in the face of austerity and the corporatization of higher education. Resilience is a transdisciplinary concept, receiving scholarly attention in public policy and urban affairs, sociology, psychology, business, education, rhetoric, architecture, engineering, computer and information science, and more. It is defined in varying ways: a state of personal strength and resourcefulness; an individual’s ability to withstand difficulty; a group or organization’s capacity to prepare for, adapt to, and recuperate from threats to health, safety, and economic security; a relational, rhetorical process (Flynn, Sotirin, and Brady).  While some thinkers view resilience as inherently transformative, intertwined with individual and social resistance, others worry that it has become privatized and individualized, reduced to personal “grit” (Duckworth). We are interested in proposals that theorize resilience in the context of English studies pedagogy, including undergraduate and graduate education.

We invite proposals that address questions including, but not limited to, the following:

 *   What is a resilient discipline? A resilient English major? A resilient writing center? A resilient English pedagogy?

 *   What historical examples can we identify, or have we experienced, that will help us develop resilient programs, pedagogies, and practices in our own moment?

 *   What disciplinary or interdisciplinary models or frameworks of resilience–e.g., psychological resilience, interpersonal resilience, feminist resilience, queer resilience, urban resilience, organizational or enterprise resilience–are more or less promising for English Studies?

 *   Is resilience necessarily accommodationist, a matter of accepting and riding out the status quo, or can it (also) be a practice of resistance, critique, and transformation?

 *   Does resilience always go hand-in-hand with sustainability? Are there times when sustainability calls for practices other than resilience?

 *   What are the limits or problems with the concept of resilience? Why might we not want to adopt the language of resilience?

 *   How is resilience enabled by collaboration (with K-12 teachers; unions; students; administrators)?

 *   What does it mean to support the resilience of NTT faculty and GTAs teaching in our departments?

 *   What does it mean to facilitate resilience in graduate education, particularly as we prepare English graduate students for a difficult job market?

Submission Process: Submit 750-word  proposals to Debbie Minter at<> by October 3, 2016. The guest editors will make selections by the end of November 2016 and full drafts of solicited articles will be due in March 2017. After peer review, revised articles will be due to the guest editors in October 2017.


Donoghue, Frank. The Last Professors: The Fate of the Humanities in the Corporate University.

New York: Fordham UP, 2008.

Duckworth, Angela. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. New York: Scribner, 2016.

Flynn, Elizabeth A., Patricia Sotirin, and Ann Brady, eds. Feminist Rhetorical Resilience. Logan:

Utah State UP, 2012.

Newfield, Christopher. Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle

Class. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2011.

Welch, Nancy and Tony Scott, eds. Composition in the Age of Austerity. Logan: Utah State UP, 2016.

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