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 Response to Racial Injustice and White Supremacist Violence

Friends,

We are repulsed and heartbroken by the recent violent, racist, and transphobic actions taken by police officers and civilians in Minnesota, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, and other areas of the country, and we grieve for the victims: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Monika Diamond and so many others who have been killed as a result of systemic racism and interlocking systems of oppression. We condemn these acts, and we stand in solidarity with those across the nation, particularly Black Americans and other communities of color, who are rightfully protesting the conditions and policies that enable such atrocities.  

Statements of denunciation and expressions of solidarity, while valuable, are, on their own, inadequate as agents of change. Thus, we want to amplify calls to speak out against racism and to support organizations that are working on the front lines of the battle against systemic oppression. There are many ways to promote the essential work of community activists–leaders and community members–who are already using their experiences and expertise in educational, political, and health care contexts to create change. Below is a list of opportunities: 

Compilations:

Partial list of additional organizations (with brief descriptions from their websites):

  • Color of Change— “We design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. Until justice is real.”
  • Center for Black Equity – The vision of this organization is to “build a global network of LGBTQ+ individuals, allies, community-based organizations and Prides dedicated to achieving equality and social justice for Black LGBTQ+ communities through Economic Equity, Health Equity, and Social Equity.”
  • Circle of Mothers— “Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, created the Circle of Mothers as a way to empower women. The purpose of the Circle of Mothers is to bring together mothers who have lost children or family members due to senseless gun violence for the purpose of healing, empowerment, and fellowship towards the larger aim of community building.”
  • Dream Defenders—”The Dream Defenders was founded in April 2012 after the tragic killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. That Spring, young Black, Latinx, and Arab youth marched from Daytona Beach Florida to Sanford Florida where Trayvon Martin was killed. With that fire in their bellies, they then went back to their communities and campuses to organize. Dream Defenders is a multiracial group of young people who are organizing to build power in our communities to advance a new vision we have for the state. Our agenda is called the Freedom Papers. Through it, we are advancing our vision of safety and security –  away from prisons, deportation, and war – and towards healthcare, housing, jobs and movement for all.”
  • Know Your Rights Camp—”A free campaign founded by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness on higher education, self- empowerment, and instructions on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.”
  • National Coalition on Black Civic Participation—”The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation is a 501 (c) 3 non-partisan civic engagement organization that strives to cultivate institutional base-building capacity and intergenerational leadership models at the local, state and national levels. NCBCP is committed to nurturing a climate where new thinking, innovative and traditional strategies of empowerment are respected and freely expressed; and strategic partnerships and alliances are welcomed. By educating, motivating, organizing and mobilizing our communities, the NCBCP seeks to encourage full participation in a barrier-free democratic process. Through technology, educational programs and civic leadership training, the Coalition works to expand, strengthen and empower Black communities to make voting and civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition.”
  • LIVE FREE – “With over 118 million people attending weekly services in over 350,000 congregations across the U.S., we believe that a social justice revival within our faith institutions would transform our nation’s hearts and minds, and ultimately, the policies and practices that perpetuate these evils. With hundreds of congregations as well as countless leaders and movement partners throughout the country, the LIVE FREE Campaign is working to end the scourges of gun violence, mass incarceration, and the criminalization of Black and Brown bodies that tears at the soul of our society.” This group is currently running a “Masks for the People” campaign, “a humanitarian effort to address the lack of preventive care and resources being made available to our loved ones in jails, urban neighborhoods and poor rural communities. Every $10,000 dollars create 5,000 kits that include masks, hand sanitizer, garments, PPE, etc.”

–Executive Board, Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition 

Call for Nominations: Presidents Dissertation Award

Dear Coalition Friends:

I am pleased to circulate the call for nominations for the CFSHRC’s Presidents Dissertation Award for 2020.

In recognition of the close relationship between scholarly excellence and professional leadership, the Presidents Dissertation Award is given to the author(s) of a recently completed doctoral dissertation that makes an outstanding contribution to our understanding of feminist histories, theories, and pedagogies of rhetoric and composition. This annual award is adjudicated every year and carries a $200.00 honorarium, but it is presented in odd years at the biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference.

Eligibility

For the 2020 Award, any doctoral dissertation that engages feminist histories, theories, and/or pedagogies of rhetoric and composition — and is completed between 6/1/2019 and 5/31/2020 — is eligible.

Review Criteria

The doctoral dissertations that receive this award will not only rigorously engage extant feminist research and scholarship in rhetoric and composition, reflective of the many cultural and intellectual traditions that comprise our field; they will also enhance our understanding of feminist academic work in rhetoric and composition through the methods and methodologies they employ, the critical praxes they model, and the conclusions they draw along with the invitations they offer for subsequent inquiry and exchange.

Nomination Contact and Procedure

The deadline for nominations, including self-nomination, is June 15, 2020. Send Tarez Samra Graban, Immediate Past President (tarez.graban@gmail.com), an electronic copy of the completed dissertation in its final form, as it was submitted to the author’s (or authors’) home institution. Please also provide documentation of completion, including date of submission. The 2020 and 2021 Award recipients would typically be invited to receive their awards in person at the 2021 Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference, but plans will be in place to confer awards in alternative formats for the coming year. (Please stay tuned.)

For a list of past award winners, and to learn more about our awards in general, please visit the Awards page on our website.

With thanks and well wishes,
-Tarez Graban
Immediate Past President

Feminisms & Rhetorics Conference 2021 and 2023 Updates

Dear Friends of the Coalition,

In light of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the time at which larger gatherings may again be possible, and in respect for already ongoing conversations regarding future directions for the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference, the CFSHRC Advisory Board, at our meeting late last month, made the decision not to hold a Feminisms and Rhetorics conference in 2021. At the same meeting, the Board agreed to form a task force to explore ways that we might support Coalition members and friends via alternative interactions to help fill in the “conference gap.” Please stay tuned for future engagement opportunities!

As you may be aware, the Coalition sponsors two awards—the Nan Johnson Outstanding Graduate Student Travel Award and the Shirley Wilson Logan Diversity Scholarship Award—that support attendees and presenters at the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference. We are looking into alternative possibilities for implementing these awards for the 2021 cycle.

In addition, we encourage Coalition members to apply for two awards that we would have announced at the 2021 FemRhet conference: the Presidents Dissertation Award and the Lisa Ede Mentoring Award. Winners of these awards for 2021 will be announced via alternative channels. More details about each of these awards, along with information about how to apply, can be found here: https://cfshrc.org/awards/.

Lastly, the Advisory Board decided to temporarily suspend the submission process for site host applications for the Feminisms and Rhetorics 2023 conference. Although the unknowns with regard to meeting regulations, travel, and the like are still many, we hope to reopen the call for hosts by no later than September 15, 2020. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding conference hosting, either in advance of submitting a proposal or otherwise, please reach out to Wendy Sharer, CFSHRC President, at president@cfshrc.org. You are also welcome to view our recently updated conference-hosting FAQs at https://cfshrc.org/femrhet-conference-call-for-hosts/.

Be safe and stay well,

Wendy Sharer, President

Stepping Into the Unknown Together

Greetings, Friends.

I step into the role of Coalition President with immense gratitude to our Immediate Past President, Tarez Graban. Her tireless work has created a firm foundation upon which I now have the pleasure of building. Furthermore, her help as I figure out the position has been invaluable. Thank you, Tarez!

I also want to send a shout out to the other brilliant and dedicated members of the 2020-2022 Executive Board: Jessica Enoch, Vice President; Jane Greer, Treasurer; Cristy Beemer, Secretary; and Mudiwa Pettus, Member-at-Large. What a luxury to have such great people around me!

At the same time, I am, like most of us, filled with uncertainty as we face the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. What I do know for certain, though, is that the encouragement and ingenuity of feminist colleagues and friends are essential to get us through these times. To that end, I look forward to working with the incredible people on the Executive and Advisory Boards to provide encouragement and spread the benefits of ingenuity widely to Coalition members and friends. The Coalition has sustained me through many difficult times since I joined as a graduate student back in the late 1990s, and I hope to contribute to efforts that will sustain and elevate others over the next two years and beyond.

Even before the COVID outbreak we, as an organization, were working hard to address challenges and cultivate opportunities, including how to make our scholarly venues more welcoming for more contributors and how to mentor and support the many diverse scholars entering and enriching the field. As President, my intent is to continue and expand these efforts, but I will need your help. I know I will fail at some things, and I will do my best to learn from those failures. I am committed to using my privilege to confront the conditions that create and sustain it.

Over the next few weeks, you will receive announcements and updates about various Coalition-related initiatives via our mailing list, website, and social media outlets (many thanks to our out-going Director of Digital Media and Outreach, Patricia Fancher, and our in-coming DDMO, Sweta Baniya!). I welcome your reactions, thoughts, and suggestions on any of these matters. Please feel free to email me at President@cfshrc.org.

Wishing you peace and strength,

Wendy Sharer

President, 2020-2022

 

 

Welcome Our New Advisory Board Members and Executive Officers

We are proud to announce five new members to the Coalition Advisory Board for the 2020-2022 term. These new board members will contribute to the Coalition by advising the Executive Officers and serving on a range of different task forces and committees related to the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference, our journal Peitho, mentoring programs, awards, and guiding future Coalition endeavors to support feminist scholars.

Join us in welcoming Heather Brook Adams, Tamika Carey, Patricia Fancher, Sherita Roundtree, and Patrick Thomas to the Coalition Advisory Board.

Heather Brook Adams

Heather Brook Adams is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research performs feminist historiography of the recent past and investigates rhetorics of reproduction, pregnancy, and motherhood in relation to affect, gender, race, and class. Her book project, “Rhetorics of Shame: A Recent History of Righteous Reproduction” explores rhetorical shaming and blaming practices, both private and public, that have shaped—and that continue to shape—discussions of women’s reproduction and sexual wellbeing. Dr. Adams’s scholarly and pedagogical interests also include rhetorics of health and medicine; visual rhetorics; ethnographic methods; decolonial and intersectional theories; and undergraduate research.

Tamika L. Carey

Tamika L. Carey is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia. She holds a doctorate in Composition and Cultural Rhetorics and a Certificate in Advanced Studies in Women and Gender Studies from Syracuse University. An interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Carey’s primary field is Rhetoric and Composition and her specific research and teaching focuses on African American Rhetorics and Literacies, Feminist Rhetorics, Black Women’s Writing and Intellectual Traditions, and the memoir. Dr. Carey is the author of Rhetorical Healing: The Reeducation of Contemporary Black Womanhood ​(SUNY 2016), a feminist critique of Black women’s self-help and wellness culture.

Patricia Fancher

Patricia Fancher is a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she teaches
and researches digital media, technical rhetoric, and feminist rhetorics. Her research on gender
and digital media has been published in Rhetoric Review, Present Tense, Composition Studies,
Computers & Composition, Enculturation and Peitho in addition to several edited collections. She is currently complete a book project entitled “Embodying Computing,” which locates a queer techne in the history of the invention of digital computing.

Sherita Roundtree

Sherita V. Roundtree is an Assistant Professor of English at Towson University. She studies ways to develop diverse representation and equitable access for students, teachers, and scholars who write in, instruct in, and theorize about writing classrooms. Her current work centralizes the teaching efficacy, pedagogical approaches, and “noise” of Black women graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) who teach or have taught first- and/or second-level composition courses. Considering Black women GTAs’ feelings of preparedness and approaches to teaching composition, Roundtree explores the networks of support they utilize and how they do or do not use resources to navigate pedagogical challenges.

Patrick Thomas

Patrick Thomas is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Dayton University. He teaches and studies Digital Literacies and New Media. His research intersects literacy studies, writing technologies, empirical methodologies, and computer-mediated communication. His current research projects include a study of mobile technologies’ effects on students’ writing practices and an investigation of transcontextual writing practices – that is, how people write across time and space – among professional writers. With Pamela Takayoshi, he has edited the collection Literacy in Practice: Writing in Private, Public, and Working Lives (Routledge Press). He has published in the journals Computers and Composition, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, and Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.

Executive Board

We are also proud to announce the Executive Board for the 2020-2022 term. Join us in thanking these stellar feminist scholars and mentors for their leadership.

President: Wendy Sharer
Vice President: Jessica Enoch
Treasurer: Jane Greer
Secretary: Cristy Beemer
Member at Large: Mudiwa Pettus
Immediate Past President: Tarez Samra Graban

Wendy Sharer, President

Wendy Sharer, Professor of English at East Carolina University is very excited to take on the role of President and hopes she can live up to the leadership standards set by her predecessors. She joined the Coalition in the late 1990’s, and, in 2008, she and Michelle Eble collaborated on “In Their Own Words: The History & Influence of the Coalition,” a video in honor of the Coalition’s 20th anniversary. She is author, co-author, or co-editor of five books, including Reclaiming Accountability (Utah State UP, 2016); Working in the Archives (SIUP 2010); 1977: A Cultural Moment in Composition (Parlor 2007); Vote & Voice: Women’s Organizations and Political Literacy, 1915–1930 (SIUP 2004), and Rhetorical Education in America (Alabama 2004). Beginning in 2001 and ending just this past fall, she held Writing Program Administrator roles at East Carolina, including Director of Composition and Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan. At home, she has 9 cats (some were inherited!) and a very old pup named Nittany.

Vice President, Jessica Enoch

Jessica Enoch, Director of Academic Writing at the University of Maryland, specializes in feminist rhetorics and pedagogies, rhetorical education, histories of rhetoric and composition, and literacy studies. Author of Refiguring Rhetorical Education: Women Teaching African American, Native American, and Chicano/a Students 1965-1991 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP), and editor of Burke in the Archives: Using the Past to Transform the Future of Burkean Studies (with Dana Anderson, Columbia: U of South Carolina Press), her articles have appeared in places such as College Composition and Communication, College English, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly. Her most recent book Domestic Occupations: Spatial Rhetorics and Women’s Work was awarded the Coalition’s Winifred Bryan Horner Outstanding Book Award.

Jane Greer, Treasurer

Jane Greer is Professor of English and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and she has been named a University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor. She is the editor of Girls and Literacy in America: Historical Perspectives to the Present (ABC-Clio 2003); Pedagogies of Public Memory: Teaching at Museums, Archives, and Memorials, coedited with Laurie Grobman (Routledge 2015); and The Naylor Report on Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies, coedited with Dominic DelliCarpini and Jenn Fishman (Parlor Press 2020). Her scholarship has appeared in College English, CCC, Peitho, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. She served on the Advisory Board of the CFSHRC from 2015 to 2018, and on the Executive Board as Member-at-Large from 2018-2020. At UMKC, she teaches composition courses as well as classes on the rhetorical practices of girls and women.

Cristy Beemer, Secretary

Cristy “Cris” Beemer is an Associate Professor of English, Director of Composition, and Coordinator of the Professional and Technical Writing Program at the University of New Hampshire where she was awarded a College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015. Cris’s research focuses on feminist rhetoric in classical, early modern, and contemporary contexts. She has published articles in Peitho, Rhetoric Review, and Teaching English at a Two-Year College, among others. Cris is currently working on her book project, “From the Margins of Healthcare: Breast Cancer and the Rhetoric of the Online Peer-to-Peer Healthcare Community.” Cris has been involved with the Coalition since 2003 presenting and serving on several task forces, and is thrilled to join the Executive Board to give back to the community that has made such an impact on her work.

Mudiwa Pettus, Member at Large

Mudiwa Pettus is an Assistant Professor at Medgar Evers College, a senior college of the City University of New York. Her research interests are located at the intersections of rhetorical education, public intellectualism, and racial politics, with a focus on the Post-Reconstruction/Pre-Harlem Renaissance era. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the National Review of Black Politics, Rhetoric Review, Rhetorica, and A Gathering of Tribes.

Tarez Samra Graban, Immediate Past President

Tarez Samra Graban, Associate Professor of English at Florida State University, joined the Coalition as a graduate student, and has served the Advisory Board since 2010. At FSU, and at Indiana University before that, she has held roles in L2 curriculum coordination, writing program administration, and co-directorship of a fellowship program in the data humanities, and completed a research fellowship with the University of South Africa. Her research and teaching is centered in histories of rhetoric, histories and theories of composition, global and comparative rhetorics, feminist rhetorical theory, and digital humanities. Lately, her work attends to rhetoric as epistemology, writing as text technology, and alterity as cultural apparatus. In her term as Coalition President, she expanded opportunities for mentoring, saw the establishment of new awards, spearheaded the redesign of the organization’s website, and hosted the celebration of the Coalition’s 30th Anniversary, among many other projects to support the Coalition’s expanding membership and mission.

Passing the Baton: Caring for One Another in An Altered Reality

Dear Coalition Friends,

Growing up, my siblings and I heard three consistent messages from our parents: “Make your way in the world by asking as little of it as possible,” “Do the most good for the most people along the way,” and “When you arrive, ask what you could do better.” To my parents’ credit, these were the messages that got them where they are today, my Mom having migrated with her family via railroad to the West Coast as a child, and my Dad having spent 15 years in refugee housing and political displacement, before finally making his way to the U.S. from contested Palestine as a young adult. I’m intensely proud of my parents for these reasons and more — for surviving and thriving and establishing such meaningful legacies. In turn, at various of my own junctures or “arrivals”, I’ve tried to take stock, often in painfully reflective ways: “How have I done? What have I managed? Where have I failed?”

Notice my affinity with failure. Those who know me well, know I can spend hours discussing my failures. And while this post — the Coalition President’s outgoing message — should be a reflective occasion to ruminate on success, I cannot in good faith consider any presidential accomplishments as mine. They are ours.

So, how did we get here (April 15, 2020) so quickly, and how do I account for all that has transpired in the past 24 months  — even in the past month, as the ground has shifted beneath us in the wake of COVID-19 and subsequently altered our realities? I can’t account for all of that in the space of a single post, but I can — with equal measures of gratitude and pride — outline some of the Coalition’s accomplishments, pointing particularly to the efforts of a tremendous Executive Board and Advisory Board, of Peitho journal’s tireless editorial team, of Patricia Fancher and Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne (our inaugural colleagues in two new and vital outreach roles), of Casey Miles (our web coordinator from 2017-2019), and of our many dedicated task forces and volunteer groups.

As an organization, we have much to celebrate: not least a new web presence and the migration of Peitho to a digitally native publication; the creation of two new awards to equip our colleagues across all ranks and from underrepresented groups to do the work that they love, as well as an impressive and expansive slate of award winners; the revision of fiscal and actual policies to support FemRhet conference hosts, and to give more outwardly and charitably to affiliate organizations in various stages of growth; the establishment of an active, thoughtful social media presence; and the nurturing of an exceptional volunteer base on social media and in person.

We have piloted a virtual manuscript mentoring program, celebrated the Coalition’s 30th anniversary, begun writing our own histories, and planned — then cancelled — what would have been a visionary session on “Connecting Coalitions, Arts, and Pedagogies of Human Rights” at 4C 2020. We may even be featured in an upcoming episode of Charles Woods’ The Big Rhetorical Podcast.

We have also developed new and more ways and forms of supporting one another in doing the Coalition’s work, revised our Bylaws, created documentation to better assist ad-hoc volunteers in taking on projects, stood in solidarity with sister organizations and allied groups, offered financial support for conference meet-ups and other collaborations, and  tried to ensure that our public meetings act simultaneously as tributes to long-time members and past leaders and occasions for welcoming newer members and future leaders. (This becomes increasingly important as we experience generational shifts and anticipate retirements, but this year, especially, we have mourned the passing of two dear colleagues and one past president: Nan Johnson on 8/31/19 and Joyce Irene Middleton on 4/13/20.)

For their work between 2018-2020 on adjudicating existing awards and articulating new ones, revising or articulating policies and guidelines, planning meetups, mentoring at conferences or online, working towards more nuanced graduate student outreach, assisting with Coalition 4C events, and hosting FemRhet 2019, I would also like to acknowledge the following stellar volunteers from our membership: Jen Almjeld, Erin Andersen, Sweta Baniya, Alicia Brazeau, Amanda Brooks, Alexandra Cavallaro, Sherri Craig, Jane Donawerth, Rebecca Dingo, Julianna Edmonds, Mary Fratini, Katherine Fredlund, Cory Geraths, Michelle Grue, Denise Landrum Geyer, Evan Groundwater, Holly Hassel, Gavin Johnson, Rachelle Joplin, Tammie Kennedy, Stephanie Larson, Amy Lueck, Andrea Lunsford, Liane Malinowski, Katie Manthey, Londi Martin, Alexis McGee, Caitlyn McKay, Lydia McDermott, Janine Morris, Sarah Mosely, Kate Navickas, Kate Pantelides, Paula Patch, Dara Regaignon, Becky Rickley, Mary Sheridan, Rebekah Sims, Carolyn Skinner, Patrick Thomas, Erin Wecker, Patty Wilde, and Traci Zimmerman. Without them, none of this would be possible. [Please, if I have forgotten to name you here, e-mail me!]

Absent from this post, of course, are the “failed” initiatives — “failed” in that they are still pressing, still urgent, and still not complete — including our relationship with and plans for future Feminisms and Rhetorics conferences, and our attempts to meet the life needs of a growing membership, not only during the present moment of school closures and social distancing, but also into our new “normal.” Absent are the ongoing labors that come with being a public-facing organization in a moment of such marked shifts in disciplinary ethos, and the challenges of being an organization that is so visibly engendered. Some of these labors have led to stalemate or postponement because the timing wasn’t right, and others have had a profound influence on the way we do business, but are as yet unrealized in concrete outcomes.

There is no easy way to quantify the labors that constitute these less-visible engagements, these “non-arrivals” in one sense, but without them we’d have no way of ensuring our own growth. I am grateful for some of these unrealized aspirations inasmuch as they reflect a deep-seated commitment to doing and to caring. They demonstrate that the Coalition is comprised of many complementary “we’s” moreso than it is representative of a single unified “we.” Caring for one another can be difficult work, and yet I hope we have done it well and are on the path toward doing it better.

Finally, I’m grateful for the labors of the incoming Executive and Advisory Boards, and genuinely excited for their envisioning under the tutelage of Wendy Sharer, our wildly capable yet characteristically humble Incoming President, who has ambitious and important plans. Please join me in welcoming Wendy and this incredible slate of new colleagues.

In service,
Tarez Graban
Outgoing President 2018-2020