Call for Papers, Panels, and Abstracts-19th Biennial NCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation-Alta


19th Biennial NCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation

The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird, Alta, UT, July 30-August 2, 2015.

Theme:  Recovering Argument

The key term recover is richly ambiguous. Its primary sense, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “to regain (something lost).” To recover argument, in this sense, might be “to bring back or restore” argumentation to human affairs, and to encourage reflection on useable traditions. Although doing so requires awareness of a past (another sense is “to remember; to recall or bring back to memory”), and although such awareness might be nostalgic, recovery can be much more complicated: To recover is also to re-cover, “to provide with a new cover,” as when an upholstered chair is refurbished with new fabric. Recovery also may alter more than appearances. Profound, fundamental change may eventuate only from intense struggle against a past: This is the sense of “getting over,” or recovering from, as when we speak of the “recovering alcoholic.” This example, finally, speaks to argument’s therapeutic potential: To recover is also “to recuperate,” or “to restore to health” a person, or entire peoples. Without presuming any particular answers, Recovering Argument thus foregrounds questions of argumentation in time: How is argument remembered? How does argument remember? Is too little remembered, or too much? What has been/is/should be lost/forgotten? What has been/is/should be kept/remembered? What has been/is/should be overcome? and, To what ends?

Keynote Speakers:

V. William Balthrop, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Carole Blair, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Conference:  The conference is the oldest gathering in argumentation studies, attracting scholars from around the world since 1979. It offers an unmatched combination of scholarship, conviviality, and fellowship in a spectacular natural setting. While international in scope, it offers an intimate experience: Attendees stay together and eat meals in common. Opportunities for direct engagement abound, both within formal sessions and without; some brilliant ideas have emerged from the hot tub! There is time for hiking and outdoor recreation in the magnificent Wasatch Mountains, and attendees and their families can take fuller advantage by arranging to arrive early or to stay after the conference concludes.

Submitting to the Conference:  Argumentation studies are a many-splendored thing. The conference welcomes and encourages submissions from all methodological approaches to argumentation, including applied, critical, cross-disciplinary, empirical, interpretive, pedagogical, philosophical, and/or theoretical. It also welcomes studies of all forms (verbal, visual, spatial, and so on) of argument in all domains (legal, political, interpersonal, scientific, and so on). The contents of previous conferences, available at, reveal a rich diversity of subjects and approaches. Submissions that engage the 2015 conference theme are strongly preferred.

Please submit electronic versions of completed papers, panel proposals, and extended abstracts to the Conference Director, Randall A. Lake. To access the submission system, go to the Conference website at and click on the 2015 Conference link.

Deadline for Submissions: Monday, March 2, 2015

Submission Requirements:  All submissions should be in APA (6th edition) form; all text, including notes and references, should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins, using Times New Roman, 12-point font. All files should be submitted in MS Word (.doc or .docx), WordPerfect (.wpd), or Rich Text (.rtf) format. MS Word is preferred. Submissions not conforming to these requirements will not be considered for subsequent publication.

Completed papers:  May not exceed 3,200 words, including all notes and references. Authors would do well to consider what can be accomplished within these limits.

Panel proposals:  Panel proposals should provide a title, names and addresses (including email) of participants, an abstract for each paper, and a brief rationale (500 words or less).  Ample opportunity for audiences to engage presenters directly is an Alta tradition. Therefore, a respondent’s role should be explained and justified. Proposals in which all participants share an institutional affiliation are discouraged.

Paper abstracts:  Extended abstracts (at least 500 words) should be substantial enough to indicate the scope, direction, and merit of the proposed paper. Assessment will be based on the evaluators’ understandings of the projected paper as discussed in the abstract.

Papers authored solely by graduate students are eligible for the Michael Calvin McGee Outstanding Student Paper Award. Only completed papers submitted by the March 2 deadline will be considered. Eligible papers should be clearly marked “Student Paper.”

Multiple submissions from the same author are strongly discouraged.

Please indicate any audio-visual needs that you will have, should your submission be accepted.

Presentation Guidelines: The Alta Conference encourages discussion and audience participation. Thus, each oral presentation (paper or response) should not exceed 15 minutes and the total presentation time for a panel (papers and respondents) should not exceed one hour.

Selected Publication: Papers delivered at the conference will be reviewed for possible inclusion in a volume to be published by Taylor & Francis. Authors who wish to have their papers considered for publication must meet two additional requirements: (1) They must obtain written permissions for any copyrighted materials that appear in their work, and must sign a copyright agreement provided by the publisher. (2) They must verify the accuracy of all direct quotations that appear in their work, by providing copies of the original sources. Further information and instructions, and additional formatting requirements, will be provided when submissions are accepted for conference presentation. The conference’s new agreement with T&F necessitates a somewhat earlier deadline for consideration than has been the case for previous conferences: Only completed papers (including those proposed for panels and in abstracts) that meet all requirements and are submitted to the Conference Director no later than Wednesday, July 1, 2015, will be considered for inclusion.

Graduate Student Scholarships:  Limited scholarships are available for graduate students whose institutions are unable to provide financial support.  Please indicate if you are a graduate student who wishes to apply for a scholarship, and have your advisor send the Conference Director a brief letter of support.

Attending the Conference:  The conference will be held at the Cliff Lodge at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Alta, Utah ( Housing and meal details will be posted on the conference website. Preliminary questions may be directed to the Local Host, Danielle Endres:

Conference Director:  Randall A. Lake, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281. Email:

Planning Committee/Editorial Board:

                R. Jarrod Atchison, Wake Forest University

                Jennifer Bevan, Chapman University

                Brett Bricker, University of Kansas

                Greg Dickinson, Colorado State University

                Bart Garssen, University of Amsterdam

                Leo Groarke, Trent University

                Casey Ryan Kelly, Butler University

                Susan Kline, Ohio State University

                Kathryn M. Olson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

                Catherine H. Palczewski, University of Northern Iowa

                Gordon Stables, University of Southern California

                Christopher Tindale, University of Windsor

                Don Waisanen, Baruch College, City University of New York

                Carol Winkler, Georgia State University


Conference Website: