Editor’s Introduction

Editor’s Introduction

Peitho Volume 25 Issue 2, Winter 2023

Author(s): Rebecca Dingo, Clancy Ratliff

Rebecca Dingo is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Rebecca’s research has addressed transnational rhetorical and composition studies and in doing so she forwards a transnational feminist lens attuned to global political economy. She is the author of Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing, which received the W. Ross Winterowd Award in 2012.  She has published widely in both the field of Women’s Studies and Rhetorical Studies. Rebecca has also offered workshops and trainings across the globe on her research, writing pedagogies, and writing development.  Her pedagogy seeks to connect theory with practice and all of her classes tend to offer on-the-ground case studies paired with theoretical lenses. Rebecca earned her Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on Rhetoric and Composition from The Ohio State University.

Clancy Ratliff is Friends of the Humanities/Regents Professor in the English department and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her research and teaching interests are in feminist rhetorics, environmental rhetorics, writing program administration, and copyright and authorship. She has published research in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Kairos, Pedagogy, and other journals and edited collections. She is involved with several community advocacy organizations, including Sierra Club Delta Chapter, Move the Mindset,  Citizens Climate Lobby, Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing, and Louisiana Association of Sports, Outdoor Adventure, and Recreation (LASOAR).


Tags: , ,

The Winter issue of Peitho arrives on the heels of the first in person CCCCs since 2019 and the tri-annual conference Writing Research Across Borders held in Norway. The energy at these conferences was palpable. To be able to have unplanned encounters with folks in the hallways, during sessions, and even as we walked down the street reminded us all how important connecting with people in real time is, how travel helps us develop new understandings about place, language, and culture, and how much getting away for the daily grind of work can open new ways of thinking and seeing. In the best-case scenario, engaging in in person intellectual exchange humanizes the experiences and perspectives and helps us develop empathy (and sometimes anger), coalition, and shared political commitments to changing institutions and structures. Indeed, my intersectional feminist politics is always strengthened (and sometimes challenged) by the concerns and perspectives outside my small bubble of academia in Western MA.   

While not all essays explicitly state it, each essay in this Winter issue of Peitho is demonstrating an important shift in the field toward centralizing intersectional perspectives born specifically out of the deep political and scholarly work of women of color historically and in the present. As these essays show, when feminist scholars extend beyond liberal feminist lenses that do not address how racialized, heteronormative, ethnocentric, and class power work together, they begin to see how white feminism became a feminism that “unremarks” on the concerns of women of color and other marginalized people (White-Farnham), on how intersectional and material analyses or labor and power can create institutional change (Cox and Riedner), and how an African American Club’s study group’s secretaries worked to re-compose dominant narratives about African American women and their histories (Nelson). Feminist scholars of color have long shown that race and gender cannot be separated from our political commitments and are in fact central to them. These essays reflect Peitho’s ongoing commitment to expanding feminist rhetorical theory and showcasing feminist teaching and administrative/institutional practices.  I am excited to see that the authors of this issue have centralized these lenses in their approach to reading archives, developing cross generational coalitions, and in questioning the persistence of a feminist politics that does not take intersectionality into account.  We hope to continue this conversation not only in Peitho but at the Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference in Fall 2023! 

This issue of Peitho also, sweetly, offers a demonstration of intergenerational feminism as the artist for our cover is the (feminist) mother of one of our authors (Rachel Riedner). We are so pleased to be able to showcase both of their works in the same issue.  

–Rebecca Dingo (Co-Editor) 

The Winter issue also includes two Recoveries and Reconsiderations pieces, both examining the rhetorical work of women in patriarchal faith communities. The first, by Tiffany Gray, is a preliminary look at some interesting archival documents: the Mormon Women’s Oral Histories Collection at Claremont Graduate University. The women who share their oral histories grapple with their identities as women and as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as Gray shows. Gray ends her tour through this archive by offering a list of considerations, some of which can help researchers who are new to archival work navigate their way through collections of archives.  

Gray’s essay is a recovery, and the second piece, by Samantha Rae-Garvey, is a reconsideration: it looks back at Beth Moore, who was a prominent Southern Baptist leader until she decided to leave the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in 2021. Rae-Garvey focuses on Moore’s Twitter account, the main place where she struggled, publicly, to process her anger about the dismissal, dehumanization, and abuse of women in the Southern Baptist Convention.  Rae-Garvey claims that the SBC mislabeled Moore’s speaking engagements as “preaching,“ possibly in an attempt to squeeze her out of the SBC by insinuating that Moore was assuming the role of pastor, which is limited to men (Moore herself never called herself a pastor or her speaking preaching).  

There are people of all genders who see inequity and mistreatment when it happens in faith communities. In Sonia Johnson’s 1981 feminist memoir, From Housewife to Heretic: One Woman’s Struggle for Equal Rights and Her Excommunication from the Mormon Church, another story of a life lived in a faith community, she recounts years of seeing and experiencing small acts of injustice against women and girls and filing each one of them away.  

Eventually, Johnson remarks, her file burst.  

–Clancy Ratliff (Co-Editor)