Presidents Dissertation Award Winners

The Presidents Dissertation Award was originally created to celebrate two distinctive projects over a two-year period. Last year, the Coalition’s Advisory Board voted to adjudicate this award annually, in part to redistribute the labor of reading lengthy projects. As a result, we have the honor of reading a robust set of outstanding dissertations each year, and this year’s judges vetted and discussed 16 stellar projects over a three-month period. This was a particularly difficult competition; so many of these projects were worthy of the award.

The 2020 submissions celebrated diversity, were exceptionally constructed and elegantly composed, and rigorously engaged extant feminist research and scholarship in rhetoric and composition, pointing to the many cultural and intellectual traditions that comprise our field. In addition, the strongest projects contributed significantly to our understanding of feminist histories, theories, and pedagogies of rhetoric and composition by challenging extant frameworks; enhanced our understanding of feminist academic work in rhetoric and composition by employing unique methods and methodologies; and offered invitations for subsequent inquiry and exchange.

While we would normally confer these awards at FemRhet 2021, we have decided not to wait, especially with so much of our 2021 programming is in flux. Thus, on behalf of the 2020 Presidents Dissertation Award Committee, I am pleased to announce this year’s award recipients and honorable mention: Temptaous T. Mckoy and Johnathan Smilges (award recipients); and Nabila Hijazi (honorable mention).

Temptaous T. Mckoy, recipient of the 2020 Presidents Dissertation Award for

“Y’all Call It Technical and Professional Communication, We Call It #ForTheCulture: The Use of Amplification Rhetorics in Black Communities and Their Implications for Technical and Professional Communication Studies.”

Dr. Mckoy is Assistant Professor of English with a focus in Technical Writing at Bowie State University. In June 2019, Mckoy completed her degree in Rhetoric, Writing, & Professional Communication at East Carolina University under the direction of Michelle Eble (Chair), Matthew Cox, Erin Frost, and Natasha Jones. Dr. Mckoy is also the winner of CCCC’s 2020 Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication. One judge wrote the following of Mckoy’s project:

“This dissertation is excellently situated in technical and professional communication scholarship and deftly meshes registers between formal ‘academic’ prose and colloquial Black prose. Mckoy provides a useful intervention in TPC scholarship by articulating a theory of ‘amplification rhetorics,’ which she describes as reclaiming agency and embodiment, acknowledging and validating lived experiences, and privileging marginalized epistemologies (38). Drawing on Critical Race Theory, Womanist theory, and African American and Black rhetorics, Mckoy’s project is methodologically rich, drawing on participant observation, interviews, site visits, music video analysis, and textual analysis to argue for the importance of Black technical communication.”

Another judge concurred:

“Among the many dissertations submitted for this award, none challenged me more than this project—in a productive way. The author’s purposeful use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) was impactful. … While I had previously encountered such calls, none have made the impact that this project did. Indeed, this project’s deft, evocative, and candid analysis has invited me to rethink my own biases. Beyond this important takeaway, I was similarly struck by the project’s exploration of TRAP music through the lens of amplification rhetorics. The multimodal chapter was not only engaging but, too, one that propels the field forward. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to not only review this project but, more importantly, to learn from it.”

Johnathan Smilges, recipient of the 2020 Presidents Dissertation Award for

“Queer Silence: Rhetorics of Resistance”

Dr. Smilges is Assistant Professor of English at Texas Women’s University. In spring 2020, Smilges completed their dual degree in Rhetoric and Composition and Women’s Studies at Penn State University, under the direction of Cheryl Glenn (Chair), Debra Hawhee, Janet Lyon, and Hil Malatino. Dr. Smilges is also the winner of CCCC’s 2020 Lavender Rhetorics Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship. One judge wrote the following of Smilges’s project:

“Smilges’s work savvily moves between theory and analysis, offering up important insights in the ways that silences work in queer and trans rhetorics. Their chapter on ex-gays is compassionate, smart, aware of its limitations, and deftly ties together queer theory and disability theory.”

Another judge concurred:

“This project struck me—both as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and, too, as a feminist and queer rhetorician. The author’s deft weaving of historical and personal narrative to open the project is exemplary of the dissertation’s larger political importance and, too, its contributions to the field. I was drawn immediately to the parallels between the author’s narrative of reparative therapy and the historical reference to the APA. Both are haunting. But, importantly, the author’s narrative serves a purpose—it illustrates, in a profound way, this project’s theorization of queer silence (12). This term productively extends robust scholarship on silence by feminist rhetoricians and, in so doing, makes a foundational contribution to the feminist rhetorical studies. The author’s argument that ‘silence can become a strategy of resistance, wherein the absence of verbal speech forges alternative routes to signification, to making meaning in the face of a society bent on erasure’ is one that can shape much of the ways that feminist and, in particular, queer rhetoricians study and, also, practice silence (19). … This project is exceptionally well written, cogently argued, and consistently thought-provoking. I look forward to seeing it—hopefully one day soon—on rhetorical scholars’ shelves and, perhaps more importantly, in their classrooms.”

Nabila Hijazi, Honorable Mention in the 2020 Presidents Dissertation Award competition for

“Syrian Refugee Women in the Diaspora: Sustaining Families through Literacies”

Dr. Hijazi is a Lecturer in English at the University of Maryland. In spring 2020, Hijazi completed her degree in Language, Writing, and Rhetoric at the University of Maryland, under the direction of Scott Wible (Chair), Jane Donawerth, Jessica Enoch, Sara Wilder, and Wayne Slate. Dr. Hijazi is also the recipient of University of Maryland’s Dr. James W. Longest Memorial Award for Social Science Research in 2018. While Hijazi’s project did not win the award, judges felt it deserved an honorable mention for how it re/focuses feminist study on women in a diaspora that is often overlooked, especially in a nation occupied by individuals and groups who may, themselves, claim to be pluralistic in their thinking. One judge wrote the following of Hijazi’s project:

“This project is both timely and responsive to ongoing work by feminist and other rhetoricians. The realities of migration and immigration are complicated, certainly, and this project adroitly attunes the reader to the rhetorical means through which Syrian women navigate ‘the tension … between growing up in Syria and living in the United States’ (2). … This dissertation’s focus on both an expansive view of literacy as well as its qualitative engagement with these women’s stories sheds an important light on an understudied community of rhetors. The author showcases this contribution through, among other discussions, an exploration of motherhood and the home (94). Such work can productively re-orient the field beyond our engrained biases, as the author notes: ‘In constructing the home space and preserving the intact Syrian family structure in the diaspora, Syrian refugee women are reviving domestic literacy and gender role practices that may seem too backward or even oppressive from a Western, progressive perspective’ (95). Moreover, there is power in the author’s work to prove that ‘[i]nstead of … victims as often depicted … Syrian refugee women are agents in finding ways to survive and save their families through maintenance of their roles in domestic space’ (99). There is accordingly much that this research can do to extend our understandings of rhetorics of motherhood, the home and, more broadly, migration through an attention beyond the limited confines of Western rhetoric.”

In addition to congratulating these scholars on their achievements, we also want to acknowledge the following 13 individuals whose excellent work was nominated or submitted for this award: Kainat Abadi (St. John’s U); Ellen Cecil-Lemkin (Florida State); Brandon Marcell Erby (Penn State); Autumn Adia Griffin (U Maryland); Nancy Henaku (Michigan Tech); Gavin P. Johnson (Ohio State); Darlene Johnston (Bowling Green State U); Gina Lynn Kruschek (East Carolina U); Shewonda Leger (Michigan State); Katelyn S. Litterer (U Mass Amherst); Molly J. Mann (St. John’s U); Prairie L. Markussen (U of Arizona); Megan Poole (Penn State).

As the Coalition looks ahead to a new year, we will be announcing more awards calls, as well as an inaugural nominations process for the new Shirley Wilson Logan Diversity Scholarship Award. Coalition members do exceptional work and lead exceptional lives. We look forward to your nominations and applications next year!

Tarez Samra Graban
Immediate Past-President
Awards Chair 2020–2022

and members of the 2020 Presidents Dissertation Award Committee

Angela Clark-Oates
Jessica Enoch
Michael Faris
Cory Geraths
Kathleen Ethel Welch

CFP: On Race, Feminism, and Rhetoric

Overview

The fact of the matter is, we wouldn’t have any feminism worth thinking about or writing about without the work of feminists of color. They have pushed feminism to be better and do better since the beginning. However, these feminists often are not afforded the credit they deserve for creating feminist spaces and demanding change within them. During the Suffrage Movement it was Sojourner Truth’s speech, “Ain’t I a Woman,” at the Women’s Rights Convention, Akron, Ohio, in 1851 that demanded we recognize the voices and perspectives of all women. The work that Black women, lesbians and working class women did to push the mainstream white middle class feminism of the 1970s to speak across race, class, and sexuality made feminism stronger. Feminists of color in the 1970s writing in anthologies like This Bridge Called My Back, Home Girls, and But Some of Us Are Brave started building a third wave of feminism before the 1990s gave us the Third Wave. And it was a young Black woman named Rebecca Walker who first proclaimed “we are the third wave.” In short, it has always been the voices of feminists of color that pushed feminist movements to realize the radical notion that all womxn are people. In this issue, we are looking for scholarly complications to the discourse around white feminism that historically approach the idea: Feminism has never really been white.

This contemporary moment, perhaps more than any other has shown us the relevance and importance of race, feminism and rhetoric. The current global pandemic has put a spotlight on institutionalized inequities around race, class and gender. The on-going protests and unrest around police brutality and murders have forced us to come to terms with the meaning of solidarity and coalition in the struggle. Extreme nationalism has ripped children from the arms of their parents and placed them in cages going against every fiber of the founding lies of the United States. The recent election and the fact that yet again over 50% of the white women who voted cast their vote for Donald Trump has made clear that assumed alliances around gender are not to be taken for granted when we add race to the mix. Now more than ever we need to be in nuanced and critical conversations on race, feminism, and rhetoric.

From Fair Fight Now to the Black Lives Matter Movement, Black women have been the driving force behind the change we need in America today. In the wake of the 2020 US elections, we need to have more conversations about how feminists of color combat the normalization of the refusal to transfer power, concede losses, and acknowledge the truth. Like we saw with the Women’s March controversy, we can not continue to tolerate feminists of color being pushed to the margins in the spaces we created. This bridge can no longer be our backs. As “The Squad” on Capitol Hill grows to include even more women of color voices, we need to make space for complex conversations around what diversity and equality really means while continuing to hold our leadership accountable to the progress we have made. Now is not the time for half-measures, talking points for views, and conservative approaches. We need to center the voices of feminists of color who are doing the work to ensure our feminist futures. We hope that the essays in this special issue will help shed light on all the important and nuanced ways that race, feminism and rhetoric intersect across time, in this moment, and around the world.

Invitation

The editors invite articles, manifestos, and alternative works that consider, but are not limited to, the following questions and topics:

  • Rethinking Intersectionality Rhetorically
  • Global Feminisms (Transnational Feminism, Afrodiasporic and African Feminisms, IndigenousFeminism, Latinx Feminisms, Arab Feminisms)
  • Histories of Women of Color Feminisms
  • Models of political activism, like “The Squad”
  • Allies, Coalitions, Solidarity in the Struggle
  • Interrogating whiteness through gender and class
  • Black Lives Matter/Say Her Name
  • Rhetorical histories and the legacies of raced and gendered rhetoric
  • Anti-Racist Feminisms
  • Complicating conversations around human rights (women’s rights, trans womxn’s rights, immigrant rights)
  • The Phyllis Schlafly Effect and Why We Never Expect that 50% of White Women Will Act Against Solidarity
  • Re-examinations of Civil Rights
  • Marches and Uprisings
  • Feminist Pasts/Feminist Futures
  • Racing Digital Feminisms
  • Race and Inequities in Medicine
  • Race, Ability, and Disability
  • Black women theorizing and giving us the language to name our oppression (from intersectionality to misogynoir and beyond)
  • Race and Transgender Rhetorics

Submission Details & Timeline

Please send completed articles, manifestos, and book reviews. We are also open to accepting alternative formats such as digital, audio, and visual compositions. All submissions should be emailed to both editors, Gwendolyn D. Pough <gdpough@syr.edu> and Stephanie Jones <svjones@syr.edu>, by January 30, 2021. Peer review will occur during the winter of 2021, Revisions will be due in the spring of 2021, and the anticipated publication date will be summer of 2021.

Event: Intersectional Feminism & Digital Aggression: Research Experiences and Approaches

Join the Coalition for an online roundtable discussion of digital aggression and feminist research methods on Wednesday, December 9 at 3pm EST featuring Bridget Gelms (San Francisco State University), Leigh Gruwell (Auburn University), Vyshali Manivannan (Pace University), and Erika M. Sparby (Illinois State University). Digital aggression can take many forms, most commonly bullying, harassment, and doxxing. In all of its forms, gendered digital aggression creates barriers to equality for communities and people who are also marginalized in physical spaces.

Each of these feminist scholars will discuss their research methods and the challenges they’ve encountered researching digital aggression. In addition, speakers will offer insights on resisting digital aggression informed through intersectional feminist practices.

Key questions to be discussed:

  • How can researchers prepare themselves to study digital aggression?
  • What do feminist methodologies look like when researching digital aggression?
  • How can researchers prepare for/prevent aggressive attacks?
  • What resources are available for digital aggression researchers?
  • How do axes of privilege or oppression influence initial approaches to researching digital aggression and/or preparations for/responses to aggressive attacks?
  • What do mentors need to know about working with a digital aggression researcher?
  • How can institutions support digital aggression researchers?

Wednesday, December 9 at 3pm EST
In order to receive the zoom link, please RSVP in advance here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/intersectional-feminism-and-digital-aggression-roundtable-tickets-128565541997

Presenters:

Bridget Gelms,(she/her) Assistant Professor of English, San Francisco State University
Leigh Gruwell, (she/her) Assistant Professor of English (Rhetoric and Composition), Auburn University
Vyshali Manivannan, (she/her) Lecturer in Writing Studies, Pace University, Pleasantville
Erika M. Sparby, (she/her) Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Technical Communication Department of English, Illinois State University

Inclusivity Survey

During these months while the pandemic limits our interactions, several task forces within the Coalition are leading efforts to critically assess our organizational structures and practices, to identify how those structures and practices have been informed by white supremacist culture and other exclusionary traditions, and to initiate changes such that we might become a more inclusive organization that attends to equitable, intersectional, and truly coalitional feminist practice.

To further these endeavors, we need your help. We invite all who are interested in the work of the Coalition (members and non-members alike) to complete our Inclusivity Survey at the following link:

CFSHRC Inclusivity Survey

Response times will vary, but the survey should take approximately 10 minutes.

Thank you for your input!
CFSHRC Feminisms and Rhetorics Alternative Interactions Task Force
CFSHRC Feminisms and Rhetorics Workflow, Process, and Format Task Force
CFSHRC Graduate Student Outreach Task Force

Honoring Kate Ronald

Late yesterday, we received the shocking news that Kate (Katharine J.) Ronald passed away. Whether you are a former student or colleague of Kate’s at Miami U of Ohio or the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, or whether you enjoyed her grand and generous mentoring in other ways, we invite you to pay tribute with us to a woman whose absence will be keenly felt but whose work will continue to forward our field. As former Roger and Joyce L. Howe Professor of English, and former Director of the Howe Writing Initiative at Miami of Ohio, Kate married her interests in rhetorical history with WAC and critical thinking in meaningful ways. She was co-editor with Joy Ritchie of Available Means: An Anthology of Women’s Rhetorics and Teaching Rhetorica: Theory, Pedagogy, Practice. With Hepzibah Roskelly, she co-edited Farther Along: Transforming Dichotomies in Rhetoric and Composition and co-authored Reason to Believe: Romanticism, Pragmatism, and the Teaching of Writing. She also contributed dozens of articles and book chapters that helped raised the profile of women’s historical and theoretical contributions to rhetorical studies and to pragmatics. For years she was a regular feature at the biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics (FemRhet) conference, making her rounds between panels to offer emerging scholars her immense support, often building their confidence at moments when they needed it the most. At the 2011 FemRhet conference at Minnesota State University, she keynoted with Rebecca Dingo and Eileen Schell, deferring in her characteristically humble way to the other scholars for their work in transnational feminist studies.

Kate modeled a feminist ethic through how she produced her scholarship—collaboratively and generously—and what she produced—texts that valued equally theory and practice. She’s likely best known for Reason to Believe and the foundational Available Means, the best-selling book in the U of Pittsburgh Press’ Series Composition, Literacy, and Culture. Her scholarship also shows her gifts and skills as a teacher and mentor. The peer mentorship and respect Kate modeled is palpable in Lisa Shaver’s Peitho piece, “The Making of Available Means,” as Kate and Joy discuss their professional alliance and deep friendship that sparked the anthology and the sinew between the creation and teaching of the text. Kate did no less than help shape our field, and she did so in ways both charismatic and unassuming. No wonder she will be sorely missed, and how grateful we are for all she shared with us.

We invite all who knew Kate to share their memories and tributes by commenting on this blog post. We begin with a tribute from Charlotte Hogg, Coalition Advisory Board member and co-editor of the recently published Persuasive Acts (U of Pittsburgh P, 2020), an anthology that builds on the foundation Kate helped to lay in Available Means.

Tribute to Kate Ronald by Charlotte Hogg

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I took Advanced Composition from Kate Ronald, who insisted we call her Kate. I still recall so much from this class, in particular how this riveting teacher put our writing front and center and insisted we do the same. I remember her talking about how she would read while blow-drying her curly hair—sharing productivity pro-tips years before it was the thing to do. To this day I use an adaptation of an assignment she had in that class. Even then, before I knew that rhet/comp was a field, I knew I wanted to be like her. I visited her office wondering what to do with my life; she told me about the field of rhetoric and composition, made a list of programs for me to apply to (this was before one could look them up online), and I did exactly as she advised. We didn’t really keep in contact over the years except for a few serendipitous occasions, and yet she continued to be a touchstone along my career. She happened to be on my panel at my first national conference (the inaugural Feminisms and Rhetorics in 1997). When drafting an article, I found just what I needed in one of her lesser-known pieces. My admiration culminated in co-editing (with Shari Stenberg) Persuasive Acts, a follow up to Available Means, and dedicating the text to Kate and Joy Ritchie. When I would run into Kate at a conference, I was reminded how she modeled what to me is the perfect academic: unpretentious but whip smart, generous with guidance without taking over, and witty as hell. She’ll remain unmatched in these qualities but still made me—and I’m sure countless others—strive to achieve them ourselves, which is what made her such an exemplar.

Call for Peitho Editor/Co-Editors

The Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition (CFSHRC) is seeking an editor (or co-editors) for Peitho, our quarterly peer-reviewed online journal, beginning June 1, 2021.

In supporting the Coalition’s mission, Peitho seeks to publish research that advances the feminist study of our profession, including

  • Peer-reviewed scholarly texts (i.e., essays, webtexts, standalone videos);
  • Book reviews;
  • Special edited content, including, but not limited to, occasional themed sections or materials related to Coalition activities.

In cooperation with an associate editor (Temptaous McKoy will hold this position until 2024) and Peitho’s editorial team, the editor has purview over the editorial content and production process of the journal, including managing the editorial board, issuing calls for papers, refining the journal’s submission process, and publishing the journal. The editor has the support of the Coalition’s Executive Board for all matters requiring approval.

Qualifications: A strong candidate will have:

  • A strong record of feminist academic work, including research and scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and service;
  • A strong record of affiliation with the Coalition (i.e., membership, Coalition-related service work, participation in Feminisms and Rhetorics conferences, involvement in Peitho);
  • Working knowledge of available resources for digital scholarship and digital publication;
  • Relevant editorial experience and a vision for the future of the journal;
  • A career record of collegiality as well as outstanding planning and communication skills;
  • A firm commitment of support from their home institutions (i.e., release time, interns or research assistants).

Responsibilities:

  • Serve as editor for four years, assuming responsibility for Peitho 24.1 (Fall 2021) through Peitho 26.4 (Summer 2025);
  • Manage the submission, editorial, and online publication process for four issues of Peitho per year (Fall launched in September; Winter launched in January; Spring launched in March; and Summer launched in June) in coordination with the Associate Editor;
  • Participate in the search for a new Associate Editor when needed;
  • Participate in the search for a new Web Coordinator when needed;
  • Serve as an ex officio (nonvoting) member of the CFSHRC Advisory Board and attend regular Board meetings and provide reports on Peitho on Wednesday afternoons at CCCC and during the biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics conference.

Compensation
The Coalition provides a $250 stipend for each year of the editors’ 2-year term (April to April) and 1 complimentary conference registration for each year of their 2-year term (April to April) where the Coalition has a strong presence.

Financial arrangements regarding the Coalition’s funding for software and technology, training, interns, stipends, and other items related to the journal will be negotiated at the beginning of the editor’s term.

For full consideration, please submit the following materials in a single PDF file (with your name in the filename) to Suzanne Bordelon (bordelon@sdsu.edu) no later than February 15, 2021:

  • Letter of application that addresses qualifications for the position,
  • Statement of institutional support,
  • List of three references,
  • Current vita.

Expanded Mentoring Program Begins!

At a time of particular isolation, and in response to several requests that we continue our online mentoring program, the Coalition is happy to announce an expanded mentoring project. The program is a way for us to share knowledge about research, teaching, activism, and professional development by matching mentor-mentee pairs who will collaboratively establish a schedule whereby the mentee can make good progress on an agreed-upon project (i.e., job market/prepping application materials; planning research projects/fieldwork; writing/revising materials for publication; developing a syllabus; applying for grants; etc.) within six months or less. Mentors and mentees may continue to work together beyond one six-month cycle if desired.

Our pilot program in 2019 focused its mentoring around a publication goal; however, this expanded program need not be circumscribed in that way. Although we want to be as flexible as possible so that mentoring pairs can figure out what works best for them, we offer some suggestions for getting started:

  • Determine which specific project you would like to work on with a mentor, or whether you would like help with less tangible things, such as gaining confidence in coursework or dealing with challenges in your workplace.
  • Determine how long you plan to commit. You may wish to start with a six-month commitment, and see how it goes.
  • Determine how often you would like to check-in with your mentor/mentee. Do you want to engage weekly, bi-weekly, monthly? What makes the most sense for your goals and schedules
  • Determine which medium works best for your relationship (FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, email, phone, etc.).

We are seeking both mentors and mentees. If you are interested in participating either as a mentor, a mentee, or both, please fill out this registration form [https://forms.gle/zbvF3yqAmmZ3Bz276] by November 1, indicating your interest. We will continue to share information and requests for help on an ad hoc basis.

-Tarez Samra Graban,
Immediate Past President

In the Coalition Archives: The Feminisms and Rhetorics Collection

I am pleased to share this post on behalf of Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne, Coalition Archivist and Historian.  -Wendy


If you, like me, are missing the community of our C’s Wednesday night SIGs or are pining for the quick hallway conversations between sessions at Fem/Rhet, I invite you into the CFSHRC archive where we have a collection devoted to the Fem/Rhet conferences. From the program for the inaugural conference at Oregon State University in August of 1997 to the student-created archive for the latest conference at James Madison, the Coalition archives has some great materials to browse. 

To access the archives, please visit the finding aid on the archives page of the Coalition website. The finding aid is regularly updated with processed materials from the collection. If you are interested in any materials, please contact Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne, the current archivist and historian for the Coalition to access the holdings (ramseyae@eckerd.edu). 

In addition to programs from nearly every year, the collection also features planning documents and FAQ for institutions considering hosting Feminisms and Rhetorics Conferences, conference hosting proposals, emails among liaison committee members, book exhibit information, and photographs and videos from various conferences. 

The collection takes us through the evolution of the conference and the Coalition, as we see in the variation of themes: 

  • From Boundaries to Borderland (Oregon State University, 1997) with plenaries including Jacqueline Jones Royster on “Borderlands and Common Spaces: Care and Maintenance in our Neutral Zone” and Nancy Tuana “Fleshing Rhetoric: Speaking Bodies/ Reconfiguring Sex/Gender.” 
  • Cross-Disciplinary Sites of Feminist Discourse (Univeristy of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1999) with exhibits from a variety of feminist art collectives, bookstores, and non profits  in Minneapolis.  The conference featured Voices of Women Writers, a series of readings by novelists and non-fiction writers Judith Katz, Barrie Jean Borrich, Sandra Benitez, Aurora Levins Morales, and the Tight Spaces Collective. 
  • Millikin University, 2001.There was no stated theme for this conference. Featured Keynote speakers at this conference included Krista Ratcliffe “Silence and Listening: Rhetorical Arts for “Resisting Disciplines,” Elizabeth Birmingham “Marion Mahony and Milliken Place: Gender, Erasure, and Architectural Attribution,” Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford “Feminism(s) and the Politics of Style” (read by Nancy DeJoy), Elizabeth Flynn “What’s in a Name?: Reconfiguring Feminist Traditions,” Joyce Irene Middleton “The Rhetorical World of Black Women Filmmakers: Camille Billops, Julie Dash, and Cheryl Dunye,” Nan Johnson “A Feminist Writes the History of Rhetoric: What does THAT Mean,” and Susan Applegate Krouse “Transforming Images: American Indian Women’s Narratives in Academia” and Jacqueline Jones Royster and Ann Marie Mann Simpkins “Marking Trails: Race, Gender, and Culture in the History of Rhetoric.” 
  • Intersections: Critical Locations of Feminist Rhetorical Practice (Ohio State University, 2003), where the introductory note highlighted participants from “46 states and 10 nations.” Featured panels included Feminist Historiography with Patricia Bizzell, Cheryl Glenn, Laura Gurak, Winifred Bryan Horner, Jan Swearingen, Kathleen Welch; “Feminist Pedagogy” with Nancy DeJoy, Lisa Ede, Hildy Miller, and Krista Ratcliffe; “Clearing the Clouds, Learning to Speak, and I Got Thunder” with Jacqueline Jones Royster, Shirley Wilson Logan, and Joyce Irene Middleton; and plenary addresses from Andrea Lunsford “All Available Means of Persuasion for Feminists,” Marcia Farr “Speech Play and Verbal Art: New Perspectives on Feminist Rhetorics” and Susan Jarrett “A Sustaining Meloncholy: Feminist Theories and Public Rhetorics.” 
  • Affirming Diversity (Michigan Tech, 2005) with Keynotes including Min-Zahn Lu “Class Matters: Gender, Critical Literacy, and the Global Restructuring of Capitalist;” Donna Harraway “We Have Never Been Human: Companion Species in Naturecultures;” Jacqueline Jones Royster “Gender, Race, and Nation;” Andrea Lunsford “Women Against War;” and Helena Maria Viramontes reading from selected works. 
  • Civic Discourse (University of Arkansas–Little Rock, 2007) where the proposal called for presentations beyond the read-aloud academic essays to more interactive and alternative formats and included a note for graduate students on how to approach the conference. Featured panels included those from outside of academia:  “The Women of Central High” and another “When Worlds Collide: Feminist Art vs. Images of Empire;” Wendy Kline “Bodies of Evidence: Activists, Patients, and the FDA Regulation of Depo Provera; Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, former US Surgeon General, and a panel on Civil Rights/Civic Discourse. Keynotes included:  Malea Powell “Making NDN Culture: American Indian Women Civic Materialities;” a welcome address from Krista Ratcliffe “Unwilling to Listen: How do you Engage in Civic Dialogue When Each Side Isn’t Civil?” a moderated panel with each of the past conference chairs; Carol Mattingly “A Habit of Civic Engagement: Nineteenth-Century Nuns Dispelling Prejudice; Jessica Rayman “Copyright, Feminism, and Digital Discourse; Hui Wu “Whose Feminism is It? The Rhetoric of Post-Mao Chinese Women Writers;  Shirley Wilson Logan “Daisy Bates and Ida Wells: Talking Across Gender.” Another highlight was a reception and tour at the Clinton Presidential Archives. 
  • Enabling Complexities: Community/Writing/Rhetoric (Michigan State University, 2009). Featured speakers included Gwendolyn D. Pough “On Prince Charming and the Strong Black Woman: Race, Representation, Rhetoric and Romance;” Ceclia Rodriquez Milenas “My English is Not Very Good Looking–Accents and Identities;” Rochelle L. Harris “From Zombies to Writing Groups and Motorcycle Rallies to Memoir: My Search for the Fifth Trope of Rhetoric;” Resa Crane Bistro “Diagnosing Intergenerational Post Traumatic Disorder: Or, a Fat Old Indian Woman Fistfights the American Psychiatric Association in East Lansing;” Terese Guinsatao Monberg “Pinay Peminists: Listening for New Locations and Re/visions of Rhetorical Theory;” and Dora Ramirez-Dhoore “Racial and Scientific Rhetoric in Eco-Political Matters: Third World Women Workers in Helena Maria Viramontes Under the Feet of Jesus and Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s Desert Blood.” This conference also opened with a community event “A Legacy of Conflict and Possibility: an Examination of Racism Between Women of Color and White Women” hosted by M. Carmen Lane from the Lane-Leota Group. 
  • Feminist Challenges or Feminist Rhetorics?: Locations, Scholarship, and Discourse (Minnesota State Mankato, 2011). Keynote speakers included Gayle Salamon, AlisonPiepmeier, as well as a number of keynote roundtables from Kate Ronald, Eileen Schell and Rebecca Dingo who discussed who feminist methodologies and practices. Mumbi Mwangi and Kyoko Kishimoto discussed Women of Color Feminisms, and Sondra Perl and Betsey Sargent revisited the intersections between felt sense, the body and feminism in pedagogy. A lunch time keynote roundtable included Jenn Melby, owner of Mankato’s Coffee Hag, and a cohort of local feminist and LGBTQI business owners. 
  • Networks and Connections: Feminisms, Rhetoric, and Local/Global Communities (Stanford University, 2013). The conference program is not currently in the archives, but it is available here. 
  • Women’s Ways of Making (Arizona State University, 2015). Currently the archive does not have the conference program in its processed holdings, but it is available here. This folder holds a variety of materials related to securing publisher tables. 
  • Rhetorics, Rights, (R)evolutions (Dayton University, 2017). Currently the archive does not have the conference program in its processed holdings, but the program is available here. 
  • Redefining Feminist Activism (James Madison University, 2019). Currently the archive does not have the conference program in its processed holdings, but the program is available here.

The programs and accompanying materials from the collection also highlight the importance of community engagement to the conference–with exhibits featuring local non-profits (such as at University of Minnesota–Minneapolis) or with community leaders offering plenaries (such as at University of Dayton) or with a roundtable with local feminist business owners (such as at the University of Minnesota Mankato). The welcome message from the 2009 Michigan State  conference directors Malea Powell and Sue Webb and conference assistant co-directors Kendall Lion and Jennifer Sano makes this connection explicit: “we have created a conference that both examines the knowledge work we already do as scholars and community activists and that creates more space for the complicated, difficult work that must follow if we want to adequately reflect the deep structure of connections/intersections/overlaps that are critical to our shared future.” They then continue by encouraging participants to “reach across the category” they identify with to forge new connections and new possibilities. 

The idea of blurring binaries was again present at the ASU conference in 2015 where organizers expressly worked to “collapse several impoverished binaries: mind/body, producer/consumer, passive recipients/active consumers, public/private, male/female, and craft/art.” The conference featured artists, weavers, knitters, and other artisans and crafters who presented alongside the more traditional conference format to showcase different ways of making.  That said, throughout all the conference programs, you see the conference encouraging broad understanding of what it means to participate in the conference–from locals housing grad students, to online reading rooms, to performing in plays. The blurring of practice and theory was also evident during the Dayton Conference where attendees helped to raise funds for Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. 

A long-standing feature of the conference that we can observe evolving through the conferences are the shared meals. From the early conferences where nearly all the meals were shared, to the more recent iterations of the conference with fewer shared meals and more emphasis on shared experiences. These experiences include the archival collection highlighted at the 2019 JMU Conference featuring exhibits on the ERA and women’s activism on campus, to the opening cocktail and hors d’oeuvres celebration at the 2017 Dayton Conference featuring a rare book collection, that included first editions of noted feminist texts, to the performance of the award-winning Scottsdale Chorus at the 2015 ASU Conference, to the catered dinner in the Rodin Sculpture Garden at the 2013 Stanford Conference, to the visit to the Clinton Presidential Library during the 2007 ULAR Conference. For me, first as a master’s student and now as a professor, these moments beyond the presentation rooms where I got to metaphorically (and sometimes literally) play with fellow conference attendees is where the magic of feminisms and rhetorics happen. 

The Feminisms and Rhetorics Collection is a reminder that the hard work of feminist rhetorical theory, practice, teaching, and learning can be extended and enriched when we gather to ask critical questions of ourselves and each other in a spirit of inclusivity and encouragement

-Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne, CFSHRC Archivist and Historian

Welcome to Peitho’s Advertising Coordinator Intern, Timothy Ballingall!

The Coalition is pleased to welcome Timothy Ballingall as our first Advertising Coordinator Intern for Peitho! Timothy is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric & Composition at Texas Christian University, where he teaches courses in composition, argument, and gender. His dissertation, Rhetoric to the Lovelorn: Women’s Newspaper Advice Columns between the Wars, uses feminist historiography, archival research, feminist interpretations of ethos, and qualitative content analysis to examine advice columnists in the 1920s and 30s. His work has appeared in Peitho.

As the Advertising Coordinator Intern, Timothy will be responsible for assisting in generating advertising revenue for Peitho (contributing to and maintaining a contact list of potential advertisers, soliciting ads, collecting revenue, and assisting with the publication of the ads within Peitho, etc.) over the next 11 months.

Many thanks are due to the Peitho Editorial Board members who served as the search committee for this position: Dr. Suzanne Bordelon, Dr. Lisa Mastrangelo, and Dr. Temptaous McKoy.

Exciting Feminisms and Rhetorics News!

I am pleased to share news that the Advisory Board of the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition recently passed the following motion regarding the 2023 Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference:

That the Coalition delay of the re- release of the call for 2023 Feminisms and Rhetorics site hosts until the spring of 2021 and require within this call that potential site hosts front themes of anti-racist activism and center the work of feminists of color.

I also want to make you aware that several members of the Advisory Board and the broader Coalition have started work in two task forces: one that seeks to “fill the gap” left by the cancellation of the 2021 FemRhet Conference, and one that aims to investigate and propose potential structural and procedural changes to the FemRhet Conference.

In the remainder of this post, you will find background information about the timing of the call for FemRhet 2023 site hosts and the decision to front anti-racist activism and the work of feminists of color at that conference. In addition, you will learn more about the task forces. As you read and consider these items, please know that your input is strongly encouraged and most welcome. Please contact me (mailto:president@cfshrc.org) or the coordinators of the task forces (their contact information is below) with any ideas, recommendations, or feedback. Members of the Executive Board are also happy to talk through ideas with you if you are already thinking about submitting a site proposal for the 2023 conference. Please direct communications about possibly hosting the FemRhet 2023 to me or to Tarez Graban, Immediate Past President, at tarez.graban.gmail.com.

Background and Task Forces Details

During its virtual annual business meeting in March 2020, the Coalition Advisory Board voted not to co-host a Feminisms and Rhetorics conference in 2021. At that same meeting, the Board also decided to temporarily suspend site-host proposals for the 2023 Feminisms and Rhetorics conference. These decisions were made in response to ongoing conversations about the workflows, formats, and processes associated with the conference and in light of COVID-related uncertainty regarding the possibility of planning for and holding a large gathering in the near future.

With these decisions and situations in mind, the Coalition established two task forces:

  1. An “Alternative Interactions” (AI) task force that is investigating ways to enable conversations, education, mentoring, and other activities that would have occurred at our CCCC 2020 Wednesday evening action hour and during the FemRhet 2021 conference. Lisa Shaver (lisa_shaver@baylor.edu) is coordinating this task force.
  2. A “Workflow, Process, and Format” (WPF) task force that is reviewing past practices and future possibilities related to these aspects of the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference and building on the work of the Coalition’s FemRhet Policies Task Force from last year. Jessica Enoch (jenoch1@umd.edu) is coordinating this task force.

To ensure that our WPF task force members have time to complete their work and that we can, as desired, incorporate changes that they might recommend, and to allow more time for clarity with regard to how institutions and communities will resume life and business in the wake of the pandemic, it seemed advisable for a revised call for site-hosts for FemRhet 2023 to be released in the spring of 2021.

We also felt that the second part of the motion is an essential part of larger Coalition efforts to amplify voices of scholars of color, interrogate white privilege, and promote anti-racist organizational change. While many members and supporters of the Coalition have critiqued white supremacy and engaged in racial justice work in the past, current events and the enduring, centuries-long oppressions and injustices that inform them make it undeniably clear that this anti-racist emphasis for the next FemRhet gathering is not just reactive but is necessary to promote the Coalition’s mission. There are many ways to accomplish this focus in a conference gathering, and members of the Executive Board, as noted above, are glad to make themselves available to discuss ideas in advance of the re-issued call for site-host proposals.

With gratitude and hope,

Wendy Sharer, President CFSHRC