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

#thefeministsareinplace … but plans are still moving forward

Coalition Friends,

Carving out a shared moment from pressing institutional demands, family crises, juggled responsibilities, and compulsory homeschooling, members of The Advisory and Executive Boards met virtually as scheduled on March 25 to address a full and timely meeting agenda. Some of us were still reeling from the slew of cancellations announced the week prior. Some of us were caring for relatives who are ill. Some of us were still navigating conflicting and uncertain missives from our local or state governments about how to conduct ourselves and our lives on a day-to-day basis. But most of us were glad for the opportunity to “see” one another, and to think and talk focusedly about concerns that are still pressing in the midst of our altered realities.

Uncertainties aside, I’m excited for the good that is ahead. We discussed and voted on several initiatives, moved some to the back burner and promoted others to the front. We began preparations for a new and incoming leadership team. We made some decisions about the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference. We established our priorities for programs and campaigns that we know our students and colleagues need, and some need fairly urgently. Most importantly, we considered how, when, where, and how quickly we should act on those initiatives with an ethic of care, and how to do this as transparently as possible. Please watch for additional posts in the days and weeks that follow, with relevant announcements and profiles of our incoming leadership team, and know that we’re rolling things out as quickly as we can, but thoughtfully. Distinctive of the Coalition is our marked interest in communicating openly and honestly about what we want to do, what we need to do, and what we can do.

As with anything we do, this upcoming slate of needs and desires requires more labor than our small group of leaders can reasonably take on, and because we take you and your burdens very seriously and very much to heart, we’ll soon be putting out our regular calls for your help and your involvement. When you see those calls circulate, I hope you’ll recognize that they are calling for you, and that you’ll feel both enabled and compelled to respond.

With gratitude for your engagement,
-Tarez Graban
CFSHRC President 2018-2020

p.s. – If you haven’t already, come browse our new site; check out awards and other initiatives, Peitho journal, and let us know what else you’d like to see.

2020 Book Award & Feminist Research Grant

While we cannot celebrate the 2020 award winners in person at CCCC 2020,  it is ever more important for us to create space to celebrate each other and our scholarly community. Please join us in celebrating this year’s award winners: Jess Enoch, Cheryl Glenn, Pamela VanHaitsma, & Tobi Jacobi.

 

2020 Winifred Bryan Horner Book Award Winner Jess Enoch for Domestic occupations: Spatial Rhetorics and Women’s Work

We are delighted to announce that the  2020 Winifred Bryan Horner Book Award Winner Jess Enoch for Domestic occupations: Spatial Rhetorics and Women’s Work.

 Domestic Occupations is a feminist rhetorical history exploring women’s complex and changing relationship to the home and how that affected their entry into the workplace. Author Jessica Enoch examines the spatial rhetorics that defined the home in the mid- to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and considers how its construction and reconstruction–from discursive description to physical composition–has greatly shaped women’s efforts at taking on new kinds of work. In doing so, Enoch exposes the ways dominant discourses regarding women’s home life and work life–rhetorics that often assumed a white middle-class status–were complicated when differently raced, cultured, and classed women encountered them.Enoch explores how three different groups of women workers–teachers, domestic scientists, and World War II factory employees–contended with the physical and ideological space of the home, examining how this everyday yet powerful space thwarted or enabled their financial and familial security as well as their intellectual engagements and work-related opportunities.

Honorable Mention: Cheryl Glenn for Rhetorical Feminism and this Thing Called Hope

Rhetoric and feminism have yet to coalesce into a singular recognizable field. In Rhetorical Feminism and his Thing Called Hope, author Cheryl Glenn advances the feminist rhetorical project by introducing a new theory of rhetorical feminism. Clarifying how feminist rhetorical practices have given rise to this innovative approach, Rhetorical Feminism and This Thing Called Hope equips the field with tools for a more expansive and productive dialogue. Glenn’s rhetorical feminism offers an alternative to hegemonic rhetorical histories, theories, and practices articulated in Western culture. This alternative theory engages, addresses, and supports feminist rhetorical practices that include openness, authentic dialogue and deliberation, interrogation of the status quo, collaboration, respect, and progress.

Honorable Mention: Pamela VanHaitsma for Queering Romantic Engagement in the Postal Age: A Rhetorical Education.

In Queering Romantic Engagement, Pamela VanHaitsma complicates and nuances the way that we read same-sex letters sent in the 19th century. VanHaitsma uses letter writing manuals and other epistolary advice to re-read the romantic correspondence of free-born African American women Addie Brown and Rebecca Primus as well as the multigenre epistolary rhetoric of Yale student Albert Dodd. These case studies look across gender, race, class, and educational background as they also explore 19th century concepts of sexuality and romantic engagement. Both sets of correspondence reveal the multiple ways in which the letter writers incorporate but also queer cultural norms and cultural conventions. Queering our rhetorical readings of these texts raises important ways of re-thinking and re-viewing 19th century texts.

Nancy A. Myers Feminist Research Grant Award: Tobi Jacobi

The winner of this year’s Nancy A. Myers Feminist Research Grant Award goes to Dr. Tobi Jacobi of Colorado State University. Jacobi’s research will explore the literacy opportunities and rhetorical practices available for girls at the New York State Training School for Girls from 1904 to 1935. The training school was a residential reformatory school for girls 12-16 who were convicted of juvenile delinquency. Jacobi’s research focuses on writings such as letters, captioned photos, and reports penned by incarcerated girls, school staff and administrators, friends, and family that counternarrate much of the institutionally archived documentation of girls experiencing Progressive Era “training” at the school. Using a blend of archival and qualitative methods, the project will articulate “critical feminist rhetorical analysis with an emphasis on contemporary remix and circulation that calls attention to the neglected and suppressed voices of prisoners; by thinking across time and space, it values opportunities for both scholars and contemporary confined writers to work with archival documents and challenge monologic historical narratives.” The Feminist Research Grant Award will fund Jacobi’s travel to the Training School site as well as the New York State Archives.

We want to thank our MANY volunteers who reviewed nominations and award applications. All of our award committees are coordinated by Lisa Mastrangelo. The Winifred Bryan Horner Book Award committee included Lisa Mastrangelo (Chair), Hui Wu, Corey Geraths, Evan Groundwater, and Alicia Brazeau. The Nancy A. Myers Feminist Research Grant committee included the following volunteers: Lisa Shaver (chair), Andrea Lunsford, Jenn Fishman, Tammie Kennedy, and Denise Landrum-Geyer. Join us in thanking these coalition members for their generous service.

In a time of movement …

… The Coalition has moved. In the midst of much surreality and uncertainty — and while we are contending with tripled workloads, juggled family obligations, frenetic updates and missives from our workplaces and schools, and the residual effects of hoarding (rather than helping) behavior — all of the Executive officers and Advisory Board members wish you good health, good discernment, peace, and safety. We’re continuing our work, but with cautious optimism and daily adjustments.

For now, allow me to announce the unveiling of three projects long in the works:

(1) Our new and permanent web location is live, here, at https://cfshrc.org. The old site (http://cwshrc.org) may remain online awhile longer but will be archived with no new activity after today. Our new web space has been designed by and will be maintained by the resourceful and insightful Academic Web Pages. AWP is woman-founded and -owned, and specializes in developing habitable and usable web spaces for academic organizations and small affiliates like ours. They have been patient, thoughtful, thorough, and responsive to our and our members’ needs and, as a result, have created a beautiful space for hosting the activities of the Coalition, Peitho, and Feminisms and Rhetorics. While we did not expect to be announcing this in the wake of COVID-19, please join us in celebrating and browsing the new site!

(2) With the new site will come a new and functioning mailing list. The current mailing list (coalition@cwshrc.org) will no longer be maintained. If you were subscribed to that list, we have automatically subscribed you to a new mailing list which we’ll be activating soon. Please watch for an announcement or two from a new list address. For the time being, if you have announcements you’d like to post or disseminate, please send them to admin@cfshrc.org and we’ll post on your behalf. And thank you for your patience as we get the new mailing mechanism established. (We’re working as quickly as we can in the midst of many other uncertainties.)

(3) The Feminisms and Rhetorics 2019 Conference Team has just published a stunning digital archive of the conference, which they and we invite you to visit at https://femrhetarchive19.wixsite.com/femrhet2019 (linked, also, from the FemRhet 2019 conference page). This was a JMU student project aimed to capture and embody all aspects of the conference in a generative and dynamic way. Please do visit and browse its features!

Finally, please also watch for a series of posts here between now and April 15, reporting on results of our annual Board meeting, recipients of this year’s scholarships and awards, plans to continue our online mentoring program, introduction of new Exec officers and AB members, followup from CCCC 2020, and announcements about FemRhet 2021, FemRhet 2023 and membership renewal for those members on an April to March cycle. Admittedly, some of this business now seems mundane while other business seems arduous, yet we know it is all necessary, and we thank you for bearing with us.

cum grato erga,
Tarez Graban (for the Board)
CFSHRC President 2018-2020

Cancellation of Coalition at CCCC 2020

Dear Colleagues,

With real regret, the CFSHRC is cancelling this year’s Action Hour event, ahead of official announcements from the CCCC. We especially regret any inconvenience this announcement may cause for our members in timing or otherwise, we thank you for your support and your kind messages this week and prior, and we hope for clear pathways forward for all your institutions and communities.

Although the evening is cancelled, the Coalition’s work continues. The Exec Officers and Advisory Board will hold their annual March meeting as scheduled on March 25, but remotely. We will vote, approve, and announce a new slate, among other things. Please watch for more announcements in the days following, particularly regarding how we will either remediate or reschedule “Art in the Times of Chaos” and mentoring tables, how we will celebrate our award and scholarship winners, and how plans are shaping for FemRhet 2021 and 2023.

Between now and then, please be well.
-Tarez Graban
CFSHRC President 2018-2020
On Behalf of the Coalition

Coalition at CCCC 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Currently, many Coalition members are weighing a difficult choice regarding travel to CCCC. While we are heartened by CCCC’s close monitoring of the situation [https://cccc.ncte.org/cccc/cccc-2020-and-the-coronavirus], we are weighing those choices with you. We encourage all members to assess their situations and err on the side of their own and others’ safety and well-being. The Coalition is still scheduled to host its annual Wednesday “Action Hour,” featuring a keynote presentation by Dr. Alexandra Hidalgo: “Art in the Times of Chaos: Creative Collaborations Between Venezuelan Women Across Continents,” with interactive lecture, film clips, and Q&A, followed by conferral of awards and participation in mentoring tables. However, we will follow the lead of CCCC officers as they work to keep us updated on the coronavirus and any possibility of cancellation. We will circulate announcements should anything change. In addition, we are currently considering alternative options for enacting at least part of the evening, in the event of cancellation, and for disseminating results of the evening for those who could not attend. Those discussions are in the early stages and quite contingent; when more details are in place, we will share them.

With gratitude for you and your involvement,
CFSHRC Executive Board

#IWD2020

Twenty years ago this May, I shook Gloria Steinem’s hand. She was the commencement keynote speaker at a small college where I was interim writing center director at the time. Steinem opened her keynote with the admission that she was “a self-proclaimed commencement junkie,” and she proved it afterwards by leading the recessional then standing in line to shake hands with everyone in attendance — not only students and faculty, but also family members and guests. I had only a moment in which to express my thanks before the momentum of the line nudged me forward, but it felt rewarding to tell Steinem in person how much her long career in journalism, activism, human rights, and education had made it possible for me to be doing what I was doing, and still am doing today. My list of women to admire has since grown — women whose work has made a profound and concrete difference in how I view the world and how I access it — but the list always includes Steinem for her intellectual curiosity and personal generosity. On International Women’s Day, to whom will you pay tribute?

Event: Connecting Coalitions, Arts, and Pedagogies of Human Rights at #4C20

Please join the Coalition for our annual SIG event before CCCC’s! Wednesday, March 25, 2020, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Crystal Ballroom, Wisconsin Center

Keynote by Dr. Alexandra Hidalgo

This year’s two-part session will focus on making critical connections between filmic and other arts and the various kinds of teaching and activism we strive for in the contemporary classroom. The first part of the session features a keynote presentation by Dr. Alexandra Hidalgo: “Art in the Times of Chaos: Creative Collaborations Between Venezuelan Women Across Continents” with lecture, film clips, and traditional Q&A.

In this presentation, Alexandra Hidalgo will use film scenes and crew interviews in order to discuss not only her in-production feature documentary The Weeping Season, but also the cross-continental collaborative process she used in order to make the film. The Weeping Season is a first-person documentary in which the filmmaker investigates the mystery of her father’s 1983 disappearance in the Venezuelan Amazon. Hidalgo began filming this documentary in Venezuela in 2004. Since then, she has filmed in the United States, Portugal, and Spain. She was last able to film in Venezuela in 2016. However, her Venezuelan passport expired and due to the current political crisis in her homeland, she has been unable to renew it. In order to complete the film, she is collaborating with Venezuelan producer Natalia Machado and a group of local filmmakers, with whom she communicates through Skype and WhatsApp, in order to direct their filming. She is also working with Cristina Carrasco, a Venezuelan editor who lives in Argentina and Spain, and with whom she collaborates through Skype, Google docs, and WhatsApp to craft the story together.

Hidalgo holding a camera and young child.

As cofounder of the online publication agnès films and author of Cámara Retórica, Hidalgo has spent several years articulating a feminist filmmaking methodology for rhetoric and composition. As such, the making of the film itself mirrors the documentary’s themes of loss and crisis. There are the personal and national losses that occur through the filmmaker’s storyline, and there is the collaboration that occurs among three Venezuelan women who must find ways to work across borders given the country’s current crisis. The presentation will both demonstrate and argue for how Hidalgo, Carrasco, and Machado come together through digital technologies and apps in order to co-create a memorable piece of art in a unique enactment of the Venezuelan diaspora. Over three million Venezuelans have escaped their homeland’s crisis since the middle 2000s and the collaborative work on this film offers one model for remaining close to each other in spite of being geographically spread.

Mentoring Tables

The second part of our session will feature one hour of semi-structured mentoring tables on topics ranging from contingent labor to globalizing feminist historical work to developing new research methodologies to finding or maintaining a work-life balance, among other topics.

Continuing the Conversation through Lateral Mentoring and Sustained Collaboration

While our mentoring tables typically offer graduate students and junior scholars the opportunity to learn from senior colleagues in the field on various topics, several of this year’s mentoring tables will be co-hosted by affiliated group and/or organization leaders, with the goal of leading discussion about how to make knowledge from—or how to take rhetorical action on—the topics reflected in Hidalgo’s keynote presentation. Please stay for the mentoring tables and engage with any of the following topics:

  • Table 1: CCCC Latinx Member Caucus, with Christina V. Cedillo & Cruz Medina
  • Table 2: CCCC Transnational Composition SIG, with Thomas LaVelle & Ligia Mihut
  • Table 3: Feminist Rhetorics of Written Argument, with Kathleen E. Welch
  • Table 4: Giving and Receiving Reader Feedback, with Risa Applegarth & David Gold
  • Table 5: Globalizing Feminist Historical Study, with Karrieann Soto Vega & Bo Wang
  • Table 6: Graduate School and the Job Market, with Hui Wu
  • Table 7: History and Historical Methodologies, with Suzanne Bordelon
  • Table 8: Preparing for Publishing, with Lynee Lewis Gaillet
  • Table 9: Strategies for Research and Writing, with Jessica Enoch and Charlotte Hogg
  • Table 10: Writing about Community Writing, with Jenn Fishman & Sarah Moon

Sweta Baniya to Lead Coalition Social Media & Outreach

Sweta BaniyaSweta Baniya is from Nepal and currently a Doctoral Candidate at Purdue University. She is finishing her dissertation project that studies the emergence of transnational assemblages during Nepal Earthquake and Puerto Rico’s Hurricane. her scholarship is informed via non-western rhetorical traditions and practices that she acquired via her community in Nepal. She has taught Business Writing with International Service Learning where she guided students on navigating transnational spaces via multicultural communication, technology, and service-learning. She has previously demonstrated her commitment to supporting feminist scholars as a co-founding member of the nextGEN Listserv and as a volunteer for Coalition social media and award committees. As the incoming Digital Media and Outreach Director for CFSHRC, she wishes to establish safer and empowering digital/ rhetorical practices for emerging and established feminist scholars.

She brings to the DMOD position a number of strengths:

  • Her dissertation research centers on social media for activism and she is continuing several projects that center on social media use in academic contexts.
  • She has a research expertise in transnational feminism, which she also applies in her personal social media presence.
  • She is one of the co-founding member of the nextGEN student-centered community and serves as a moderator.
  • She is committed to mentoring and collaborating in order to support feminist scholars.
  • She is a consistent and dependable volunteer for our current Coalition social media strategy. She regularly live-tweets at conferences and she also helps to promote Peitho articles on twitter.

We are confident that Sweta Baniya will bring her creativity, research expertise, and commitment to mentoring when her term begins this Spring 2020. Join us in thanking Sweta Baniya for her service!

Welcome Dr. Temptaous Mckoy to the Peitho Editorial Board

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Temptaous Mckoy will serve as the next Associate Editor of Peitho. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Mckoy to the Peitho leadership team!

Dr. Mckoy is an Assistant Professor of English with a focus in Technical Communication at Bowie State University. Her strengths include the following:

  • an emphasis on diversity and inclusion through fostering mentoring opportunities;
  • previous experience as an editorial assistant for Technical Communications Quarterly (August 2015–May 2016), which she completed while at East Carolina University during her doctoral studies;
  • strong abilities in social media outreach;
  • an interest in using the book reviews feature as an opportunity to highlight/cite historically marginalized scholars.

Temptaous Mckoy, from Spring Lake, NC, is an Assistant Professor of English with a focus in Technical and Professional Communication at Bowie State University. Her research focuses on redefining the field of TPC and challenging it to be more inclusive of the (in)formal communicative and learning practices as found in Black communities, such as HBCUs. She is an HBCU alum (Elizabeth City State Univ.) and also a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She obtained her BA in English from Elizabeth City State University (’13); her MA in Professional Communication and Leadership (’15) from Armstrong State University (Now GA Southern at Armstrong); and her PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication from East Carolina University (’19). In her work as Associate Editor of Peitho, she will prioritize new titles for review that are published by historically marginalized scholars to leverage Peitho’s platform to take tangible steps toward a more inclusive field of scholarship in the feminist history of rhetoric and composition. Specifically, she believes book reviews can amplify the contributions of historically marginalized scholars in important and impactful ways.

You can follow her on social media at the following handles: @ScoraTemp2(Twitter) and @T.Mckoy2019(Instagram).