Steve Parks, Editor


Steve Parks_FotorWelcome to SWR.

SWR has published work by figures such as Berlin, Villanueva, and Selfe. It has supported studies on topics such as literacy, writing centers, cultural rhetoric, and graduate education. And throughout, the series has maintained a continual commitment to fostering conversations that connect research to teaching, disciplinary knowledge to student writing. As such SWR has consistently pushed the boundaries of our field, consolidated these gains, then moved on to new areas to explore. I have always understood the SWR series, then, as a project that draws together multiple conversations of our field into an integrated, purposeful, and endlessly emergent vision.

My aim as Editor will be to continue that tradition by embedding SWR in a project of investigating the social, political, and technological contexts that are shaping our classrooms today, while acknowledging the historical contexts that have shaped these same classrooms. I also hope to support publications that speak beyond our field to policy makers and organizations shaping the larger national debates about writing, literacy, and equal access to higher education. That is, I hope to simultaneously continue the important work of exploring the past and future of our field, while creating publications that assert our disciplinary voice in public discussions about the future of literacy in the United States.

This work might be encapsulated as follows:


Broadening Voices

The combination of a new form of identity politics, social media, globalism, and neoliberalism have reconstituted many of our traditional understandings of the “student” and, as such, require a re-constellation of many of our traditional pedagogical, assessment, and programmatic practices. As Editor, I intend to seek out work that provides a material history of how the “student body” is changing and articulates what new concrete practices are required to continue our historical commitment to students striving for access to higher education and civic/political agency.

As such, I also believe SWR should expand its focus on material histories of writing programs. In part, this means moving towards studies that explore the materiality of local programmatic, curricular, pedagogical, and assessment practices as a way to understand the concrete forces shaping our discipline at this current moment. And it also means expanding our focus on the types of programs studied to include a broader range of important institutions, such as Historically Black Colleges/ Universities, Tribal Colleges, and Latino/a Serving Institutions. There is a need, I believe, to enrich our disciplinary history of college classrooms to insure the voices of all of our teachers and students are represented to insure the work they produced benefits the entire field. In this way, the SWR could act as the force to demonstrate how the identity of the field has itself always been diverse, multiple, and complex in its formation.

Indeed, as an Editor/Publisher, I have always been committed to expanding the voices and languages that participate in a community conversation – whether in a neighborhood or our discipline. As Editor, I would continue this commitment by seeking out scholars who represent the multiple heritages that exist in our classrooms and our field. And in doing so, I would also want to consider how the very language of these publications might need to expand as well. That is, I believe that SWR should become known for supporting scholarship that fully represents the heritages that scholars bring to our field.


Broadening Platforms

While there will always be a place for print books featuring black ink on white page, that place is markedly different than when SWR began. In part, print technology has enabled the introduction of artistic covers on the outside of books and photos/graphics throughout its pages. That is, we can now think of scholarly books as also aesthetic statements representing the book’s argument. We can imagine publications which feature the handwriting of our community partners, the student papers of our classrooms, and the visual images which frame our work. As Editor, I want to bring a broader aesthetic vision to the series.

Moreover, the “place” for books is now surrounded by digital/multimodal publications that expand the range of scholarly practices that mark our field. As a field, we can now imagine (and read) publications which cross over multiple platforms, move readers across a variety of contexts, in presenting their research. My belief is that SWR needs to fully invest in these new possibilities. And while it is impossible to predict the exact form such publications will take, my belief is SWR should be on the forefront of discovering the possibilities of developing and presenting our research in these multiple writing platforms.


Broadening Audiences

I have also always believed that our research can and should have a public impact. This is particularly the case when many of the values that inform our field – open access to literacy education, recognition and respect of diverse heritages/identities – are increasingly the topic of public debate. As Editor, I want to develop publications that can speak to audiences beyond our immediate discipline – to public policy makers, non-profit leaders, and education advocates. Such a focus would not diminish our commitment to writing and rhetoric research, but recognize how such commitments flow into audiences that could use these insights to effect public debate.

In addition, my professional experience has led me to consistently consider the relationship between editorial vision and publishing infrastructure, to understand the relationship between publication goals and material possibilities. I have found it particularly important to have such a focus when committing to publishing voices that are often marginalized, that are on the edges of dominant culture. That is, I believe that printing a book that does not circulate, that is not read by its intended audience, does not actually constitute publication. Publishing means investing in circulation, creating a reading audience. As Editor of SWR, I want to bring this belief to SWR, working to support both powerful research and broad circulation to the series.

Of course, SWR will ultimately be shaped by its writers. So while the above my be my opening lens through which to see the work of SWR, I hope to learn from the Editorial Board, SWR authors, and the field as a whole, on how the series might best move forward. Ultimately, SWR emerges from a community of teachers and scholars. And it is their voices that should direct its future.

I look forward to your insights and input.


Steve Parks