CFP: “Teaching Anime and Manga” (Northeast MLA, April 2018, Pittsburgh), Submission Deadline 9/30/17

This session emerges out of presentations Stevi Grimm and I have given at Anime Expo’s annual Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, particularly our discussions how we have used various Japanese animated and comics series in teaching critical thinking, composition, gender studies, and literature.

While the Northeast Modern Language Association is a language and literature conference, we welcome proposals that incorporate anime and manga outside of strictly language and literature courses: proposals may consider the use of these texts in courses on history, music, science, and more–because as long as there is an anime or manga about just about anything, there is likely one that fits almost any class.

Please consider sharing the call for papers below with interested colleagues. 300-word abstracts are due online September 30, 2017, at If you have any questions for Stevi and me, please email or message me on Twitter @dereksmcgrath.


Anime Expo 2016 recap: “Using Anime and Manga in Education” (AUDIO)

I was at Anime Expo in Los Angeles this week, participating in a successful panel on options for using Japanese animation and comics in the classroom.

I recorded the following, which you can listen to here.

This was my first out-of-town fan convention, and my first academic presentation at a fan convention. I want to start by first thanking Mikhail Koulikov and Brent Allison with the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation for organizing our panel, “Using Anime and Manga in Education.”

Anime Expo was a packed convention, with more than 100,000 attendees at panels, workshops, and events happening almost back-to-back from morning to night. Our panel, as part of the Anime Symposium educational series, had almost a full audience throughout our 50-minute or so running time, with more than 100 people in attendance, all of which demonstrates how well all three of us who presented did to inform an audience of teachers and students about options for using Japanese animation and comics in classrooms–and also managing to accomplish so much when about a quarter of our panel’s time was cut.


NeMLA CFP Deadline 9/30: Composition Sessions on Student Writing

We are less than one week away from the September 30th deadline for all calls for papers at the Northeast Modern Language Association.

Submit abstracts about composition pedagogy!

The 47th annual meeting of NeMLA will be held in Hartford, Connecticut, March 17 to 20. The full list of more than 400 CFPs is available at CFP List (, and I have advertised some sessions my peers and I are organizing (and posted some advice for writing abstracts and on one topic).

I also wanted to advertise two sessions organized by my colleague, Heather Urbanski at Fitchburg State University. Both sessions focus on composition classroom practices directed to successful student writing. I have included both CFPs with direct links for submitting abstracts. Both NeMLA members and non-members may submit to as many sessions as desired, with a free CFP List NeMLA account that can be created here.

Please forward these CFPs to anyone you know who would be interested in submitting.

Evaluating Student Writing (Roundtable)

Have you ever wondered, “How on Earth can I grade this poem? Can creativity even be quantified?” Or, “how should revision fit into the overall course grade?” In this roundtable, writing instructors from a variety of fields (rhetoric and composition; technical writing; creative writing; and more) will discuss their systems for assessing and evaluating student writing in the college classroom. Both conceptual and pragmatic concerns will be addressed for making the evaluation and feedback process an integral part of our writing pedagogy.

Writing instructors from various fields (rhetoric and composition; technical writing; creative writing; and more) are invited to share their systems for assessing and evaluating student writing in the college classroom at both conceptual and pragmatic levels.

The Student as Writer: Embodiment, Mindfulness, and Disability in the Composition Classroom

In this session, we review ways to approach the First Year Composition and other writing classrooms by focusing on the students as embodied writers, taking student-centered pedagogy to a new level. Areas of interest for papers include, but are not limited to, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and disability studies. A combination of theoretical and practical perspectives will be employed to locate the student as embodied writer within the disciplinary tradition.

Taking student-centered pedagogy to a new level, presenters review both theoretical and practical perspectives on students as embodied writers in the classroom. Topics include meditation, disability studies, and mindfulness, among others. A combination of theoretical and practical perspectives will be employed to locate the student as embodied writer within the disciplinary tradition.

MLA 2016: “Developments in Comics Pedagogy” has been accepted!

A roundtable on teaching comics is coming to Austin, Texas!

Last week, I received confirmation that a roundtable I proposed with Keith McCleary (UC San Diego) has been accepted for the 2016 meeting of the Modern Language Association in Austin.

The roundtable “Developments in Comics Pedagogy” continues a discussion Keith and I have had since 2013, when we organized a similar roundtable with K. Wayne Yang at UC San Diego for the Northeast Modern Language Association in Boston. Based on that successful discussion we had with comics creators and teachers from Boston and around the United States, we started work on a second roundtable to host at the MLA. We’ve been working consistently on this project, soliciting proposals to hear how people are using comics in the classroom, and we want to thank the MLA for selecting our roundtable to host as a special session for the 2016 meeting.

Keith and I were pleased with so many strong submissions received; we received so many that we were limited by MLA rules to host at most six other panelists to this roundtable. Although we were unable to include all submissions on the roundtable, we think the participants for this 2016 meeting demonstrate a variety of pedagogical practices suited to numerous departments, disciplines, and course levels. The participants to this roundtable are comics creators, scholars, and teachers who specialize in studies of literature, language, and rhetoric and who come from departments of composition, English, German, Spanish, and even a newly developed program devoted to just comics and graphic novels. We included scholars at different stages in their careers, from MAs to associate professors, and Keith and I focused the selection on creators and scholars who can discuss comics from around the world.

The MLA 2016 meeting will be in Austin, Texas, January 7 to 10. Roundtable participants include:

Elizabeth Losh, University of California, San Diego
Susan E. Kirtley, Portland State University
Joe Sutliff Sanders, Kansas State University
Maria Elsy Cardona, Saint Louis University
Nick Sousanis, the University of Calgary
Elizabeth Nijdam, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

We appreciate the contributions that these panelists have made in developing our successful proposal to the MLA, and we are enjoying the conversations we have been having ahead of this roundtable. We look forward to January, and we will have updates as the MLA approaches.

Please follow #MLA16 on Twitter for additional updates for this and other sessions at the Austin meeting this January.

CFP: Developments in Comics Pedagogy (MLA 2016)

I am pleased to announce that a colleague and I are proposing a special session for the 2016 meeting of the Modern Language Association in Austin, Texas.

Keith McCleary at UC San Diego and I previously had organized, with K. Wayne Yang, at UC San Diego, a similar session at the Northeast Modern Language Association, which featured a productive discussion with comics creators and teachers on innovative pedagogical practices for comics, graphic novels, and other sequential art in the production and appreciation of comics. We look forward to bringing this discussion to the MLA.

Towards forming a roundtable featuring teachers passionate about their teaching of comics, we appreciate feedback. If you have suggestions for how to improve our CFP to best address the current debates in comics pedagogy, please email us at and

The brief CFP and the extended description are below.

MLA 2016 (Austin, Texas, January 7-10): “Developments in Comics Pedagogy”

This special session is a roundtable that focuses on innovative teaching practices of the production, research, and appreciation of comics. Submit a 200- to 350-word statement summarizing your approaches to teaching comics by March 1, 2015, to both Keith McCleary ( and Derek McGrath (