On the Isthmus: The Midwest Writing Centers Association Conference in Madison 2011

Keynote Speaker

Professor Eric Darnell Pritchard, Department of Rhetoric and Writing, University of Texas at Austin

Featured Closing Speaker

Professor Michele Eodice, Executive Director of Learning, Teaching, and Writing, University of Oklahoma.


Here in Madison, we make our lives on and around an isthmus–which, for those of you who might need to dust off the old geology book, is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger, otherwise separate areas. An isthmus is a rare geologic feature that arises through natural forces. These forces may be subtle and slow (plate tectonics resulting in erosion or deposition) or sudden and dramatic (an earthquake or volcano). The result is a type of "land bridge" that allows individuals to cross over and inhabit new areas.

Those of us hosting this conference know that modern life on an isthmus can be frustrating, especially in terms of traffic and congestion. On the other hand, we love this feature of Madison. Our isthmus gives us solid ground from which to admire Lake Mendota to the north and Lake Monona to the south. Moreover, we see our isthmus as a beautiful passageway, connecting two vibrantly distinct parts of our community.

We invite you to join us in Madison, on the isthmus! Spend some days together with us, nestled between the shimmering lakes, as we focus on writing centers and writing center work. Feel free to consider your work through the metaphor of an isthmus: drawing boundaries, intervening, connecting . . . centrality, crossroads, in-betweenness. Or feel free to resist this theme! All proposals are welcome.

Proposal Deadline

The proposal deadline was Friday, March 25, 2011. Responses to proposals went out early in May.

Possible Topics

Possible Formats

Proposed sessions may take any number of forms:

Proposal Submission

Proposals, which include a 50-word abstract and a 500-word narrative description, will undergo blind review. Proposals should be submitted using the "proposal submission" feature at c4w.cla.umn.edu/mwca. Proposals should be as specific as possible about the role of the presenters, the participation of others in attendance, and the contribution the session makes to writing center studies. The conference website includes annotated samples of successful proposals from previous MWCA conferences. The deadline for proposal submission is Friday, March 11, 2011.


Questions about the call for proposals may be directed to Katie Levin, Chair of the Executive Board of MWCA and Assistant Director of the Center for Writing at the University of Minnesota, kslevin@umn.edu, 612.624.7720.

Download CFP

You can download a copy of the CFP here.