Calling for Intellectual Labor and Discussion

Dear Coalition Friends and Colleagues:

As co-editors of a proposed collection, Rhetorics of Reproduction: Rights, Health, and Justice, we wanted to let you know why we’re looking forward to this year’s Feminisms and Rhetorics conference.

This year, 2019, marks a surge in US state legislatures establishing laws tied to reproductive rights, health, and justice, some of which are intended to challenge and overturn Roe v. Wade. At the same time, no policy changes to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits Medicaid coverage of abortion, are in sight. But abortion is only one issue of reproductive rights, health, and justice—concerns that affect people in local, national, and global contexts—and as a result of the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on Women, the 2019 delegates deemed it a priority to chart a vision for a more informed, more just future in relation to reproduction as part of a commitment to global health, and in light of critically unstable material reproductive realities. While we know an issue like this cannot be fully discussed or solved at our biennial conference, and while we don’t presume that all Coalition members will, do, or can think the same way about it, we understand that such discord calls for intellectual labor and discussion, and we know that Feminisms and Rhetorics has historically been one place where this labor and discussion can occur.

We’re aware that some of these spaces include extra-scholarly concerns as well as scholarly ones, and we’re also aware that every other year, the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference becomes one such space to discover these connections, as we know that the conference continues to draw new faces, new voices, and new interests. For this collection, we consider reproductive justice not so much a stance as a theoretical frame, and a methodology that aligns in significant ways with the work of rhetorical scholars and others who study language and its uses and effects.

If you will be attending the conference, remotely or in person, we hope we can meet you, talk with you more, and/or learn more about the varied, and potentially cross-disciplinary and/or transnational spaces in which Coalition members are working, and which we’re hoping you, your friends and allies will share, as they relate to the topic of our collection. We have set the request for proposals (due December 10) after the conference, to enable such conversations to occur.

Heather Brook Adams and Nancy Myers