2018 Watson Conference

Thomas R. Watson Conference Logo

The Twelfth Biennial Thomas R. Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition will take place at the University of Louisville on October 25-27, 2018.

The Watson 2018 PROGRAM is available for viewing.

Visit the registration information page for details about the early registration discount, refunds, accessibility, and to register for the event.

The Keynote Essays are now available through the Computers and Composition Digital Press website.

We encourage you to read the texts before the conference to better inform engagement with the talks.

Making Future Matters

Today’s social and political climate raises important questions about contemporary knowledge-making practices in relation to the work we do and how we do it. For example, everyday we are confronted with questions that ask us: What are facts and who gets to decide? How do ideas assemble and circulate, and how does that activity inform their uptake? How can individuals and things shape these practices? These questions are not new, but given their exigence, the twelfth biennial Thomas R. Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition asks scholars to address the role of our work within shifting educational landscapes and larger publics. Specifically, this conference invites scholars to explore the ways that our work comes to matter, for whom, to what ends, and how we might direct that work to encourage futures that matter.

We use the concept of matter and mattering in two ways, both addressing how we might direct our work toward material futures. First, we use matter colloquially to ask, what are our pressing concerns and why are they significant? What matters to our work, and to whom/what does our work matter? Second, we use matter methodologically, to ask how our work materializes (in) the world. How do we examine and represent the material entanglements that become our research? How do our interconnected ways of thinking, knowing, and being in the world shape who and what are made/made legible in our articulations? Emerging from both lines of inquiry is detailed attention to the questions we ask, the partners we engage, and the theories/methodologies we draw upon to pursue our work of mattering.


  • Laurie Gries, U of Colorado Boulder
  • Steve Parks, Syracuse U
  • Octavio Pimentel, Texas State U
  • Paul Prior, U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Jacqueline Rhodes, Michigan State U
  • Melanie Yergeau, U of Michigan


  • Cheryl Ball, Wayne State U
  • Christina Cedillo, U of Houston-Clear Lake
  • Bill Hart-Davidson, Michigan State U
  • Rebecca Dingo, U of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jeffrey Klausman, Whatcom Community College
  • Jabari Mahiri, U of California Berkeley
  • Laura Micciche, U of Cincinnati
  • Beverly Moss, The Ohio State U
  • Derek Mueller, Eastern Michigan U
  • Rebecca Rickly, Texas Tech U
  • Kevin Roozen, Central Florida U
  • Annette Vee, U of Pittsburgh


  • Gesa E. Kirsch, Bentley University


  • Mary P. Sheridan, Director
  • Cooper Day, Assistant Director
  • Joe Franklin, Assistant Director
  • Ashanka Kumari, Assistant Director