[Air-L] CFP: Technical Communication Special Issue on “Legal Issues in Global Contexts”

martine courant rife courantm at msu.edu
Mon Mar 30 08:33:56 PDT 2009

Call for Proposals:

Special Issue on “Legal Issues in Global Contexts”

_Technical Communication_, the journal of the Society for Technical
Communication (STC), is soliciting article proposals for an upcoming
special issue that will examine how factors of law and of culture
affect how technical communicators work in international and
cross-cultural contexts.  This special issue will be published in
November 2010, and the guest editors are Kirk St.Amant of East
Carolina University and Martine Courant Rife of Lansing Community

Legal issues are increasingly affecting the work we do as industry
practitioners, academic researchers, university and college educators,
and independent entrepreneurs in technical communication. In some
cases, these legal issues involve notions of ownership, copyright, and
trade secrets. In other instances, legal concerns related to privacy,
disclosure, and free speech affect how technical communicators perform
different activities. These legal issues are further complicated by
different cultural perspectives related to working in global
environments and to addressing the informational needs of different
cultural groups within our own nations.  Very few individuals in
technical communication, however, are lawyers or have formal training
in issues of law and its intersection with different cultural
communication expectations and assumptions. This special issue of
_Technical Communication_ will examine the legal issues affecting
technical communication practices related to designing materials for
or to working with individuals from other nations and cultures.

The guest editors invite proposals for papers on applied research or
theory, case histories/studies, tutorials, and/or annotated
bibliographies that address the following issues:

•	Why should technical communicators attend to global/international
legal issues? Why not?

•	What kind of training should technical communicators have to address
issues of law and culture effectively in international and domestic

•	How are legal issues or requirements related to language and
translation affecting technical communication practices?

•	How should technical communicators working in international
organizations approach legal issues? Should these issues be turned
over to the “legal department”? Should technical communicators have
input on organization policies with respect to implementing law?
Should they be seen as experts in this area? Why or why not?

•	What developments in international law, treaties, or global-context
legal conversations may impact the work of technical communicators
(e.g., the EU Data Protection Directive, TRIPS [Agreement on Trade
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights], conversations on
appropriation of traditional knowledge)? What recommendations might be
developed to work within or challenge these new developments?

•	How do legal issues affect communication practices in globally
distributed virtual teams?

•	What kinds of legal issues do international practices such as off
shoring raise for technical communicators?  How do these issues affect
technical communication practices or provide new opportunities for
technical communicators to contribute value to their organizations?

•	How have legal issues in global contexts become more immediate with
regard to the continual growth of and use of online media in
international contexts?

•	In what ways can our history of examining issues of intercultural
communication contribute to how we approach legal issues in global

•	How do cultural differences related to intellectual property and
copyright affect technical communication practices – particularly
practices involving globally distributed teams?

•	How do issues of government surveillance and data mining affect the
ways in which technical communicators interact in globally distributed
workplaces or use online media to present information and exchange
ideas across cultures?

•	How can aligning global legal issues and local legal issues help –
or complicate how we work and conduct research as technical

•	What kinds of theories or research methods from the field of
technical communication might inform our ability to understand legal
issues in global contexts?

•	In what ways can/should technical communicators enter into public
discussions about global-legal issues?

Proposals should be no more than 400 words in length.  All proposals
should include submitter name, affiliation, and email address as well
as a working title for the proposed article.

The schedule for the special issue is as follows:
1 June 2009 -- 400-word proposals due
15 June 2009 – Guest editors return proposal decisions to submitters
1 October 2009 – Draft manuscripts of accepted proposals due
15 February 2010 -- Final manuscripts due
November 2010 -- Publication date of special issue

Completed proposals or questions about either proposal topics or this
special issue should be sent to Kirk St.Amant and Martine Courant Rife
at tc.special.issue at gmail.com

Martine Courant Rife, JD, PhD
Professor, Writing Program
Lansing Community College Communication Department
Arts & Sciences Building, 211G, 517/4839906
martinerife at gmail.com //AIM martine785

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