“Best Public Intellectual Special Issue” Award

The Community Literacy Journal wins “Best Public Intellectual Special Issue” Award from the Council for Editors of Learned Journals at the Modern Language Association (MLA) annual convention in Chicago, January 11th.

* Notes from the award ceremony and judge’s remarks:

According to the Council for Editors of Learned Journals, journal contestants in the “Best Public Intellectual Issue” Award category must reach out beyond academe, connect with a popular audience in terms of accessible language and attractive presentation, and seek to achieve the democratic mission of higher education.

For the 2013 award, there is one winner — the Community Literacy Journal, edited and produced in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse at DePaul University and the Department of English at the University of Arizona — and two runner-ups. 

The special issue “Writing Democracy” was guest edited by Shannon Carter and Deborah Mutnick.

The Community Literacy Journal’s mission is “defining community literacy as the domain for literacy work that exists outside of mainstream educational and work institutions.” Consequently, the special issue dedicated to “Writing Democracy” takes the intellect out of the academy and gets it to function in ways that are useful and direct to people outside the walls of academe.

The journal’s special issue “Writing Democracy” cover, a photograph of the Norris Community Club established by the university in partnership with local citizens to provide “A clear channel of communication” between residents of Norris, a historically segregated neighborhood, and the City of Commerce, “serves as a very powerful reminder of the very real, very concrete impact university-community partnerships can have.” The impressive range of articles discuss in a scholarly way the field’s search for its own identity in its “turn to public writing” that emanates from a widely-held belief that higher education should prepare students to participate in a democratic polity.