Welcome to the World of Composition.
Every year since its formation in 1949, the sects of the Ivory Tower send their best to represent them in what some call the “Pugna of Rhetoricus” – or the “Battle of Rhetoric.” Rarely held in the same place twice, the Conference of College Composition and Communication affords both the Tower apprentices and arch-professors the opportunity to pit their mastery of ethos, pathos and logos against one another. Despite the seemingly rancorous nature of this event, the sentiment amongst these scholars is a positive one—each battle won or lost is a learning experience, one that can be used to help educate others.
Each encounter tests different aspects of the hero’s mastery. Those hailing from the school of forward thought, for instance, will face such battles as how to implement technology in the classroom. And those vying for the rank of top administrator will choose battles that test their ability to run a department efficiently and drive world-class curriculum development. Heroes must also remember that they will not only be judged on their merits amongst their competitors, but also their performance. They should be ready to rise to any and all spectators’ challenges.
The esteemed Chair Malea Powell will lead this year’s Conference, which will take place in Atlanta. Spectators and heroes alike should not miss important festivities, such as an address by Chris Teuton, who will discuss the exotic narratological practices of the Cherokee, or an oratorical piece by Dean Rehberger, who will educate us on literacy in the 21st century. Attendees should also note that this year’s events will center on, as Powell puts it, “All Our Relations: Contested Space, Contested Knowledge,” and therefore should expect a degree of chicanery amongst participants. We must recall, however, that in today’s world, we—as educators—are experiencing a renaissance, and collaboration is imperative to establishing our continued success in the future. Through this conference, battles will be won and lost, but out of the chaos, we will forge new pedagogies that fill the ever expanding void of knowledge.
By entering the CCCC, you are embarking on a mission comprised of many quests. You must network and make connections to help you through your career. You must educate yourself so that you may better educate others. You must embrace debate and dialogue; you must question and answer. Be warned, however, for within these walls the pen is far mightier than the sword.