It was wonderful to see so many of you in Atlanta for Feminisms and Rhetorics! For those of you who were not able to attend, I am thrilled to share information about two awards presented at Spelman: the 2023 Lisa Ede Mentoring Award and the 2023 Presidents Dissertation Award. Details about award recipients are below: please take a moment to read about and celebrate the winners’ accomplishments!
-Wendy Sharer, Immediate Past President and Awards Coordinator
2023 Lisa Ede Mentoring Award
The Lisa Ede Mentoring Award recognizes an individual or group with a career-record of mentorship, including formal and informal advising of students and colleagues; leadership in campus, professional, and/or local communities; and other activities that align with the overall mission and goals of the Coalition. This year’s recipient is Dr. Gwendolyn Pough, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Dean’s Professor of the Humanities at Syracuse University. Dr. Pough exemplifies the kind of mentoring this award was created to acknowledge and amplify.
Her significant contributions to the study and application of feminist rhetorical theory include an edited collection, Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminist Anthology; a single-authored book, Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip Hop Culture, and the Public Sphere; over two dozen articles and book chapters; and more than fifty scholarly presentations, lectures, and keynotes. Pough has also led major professional organizations, including both the Conference on College Composition and Communication (for which she was Chair) and the Rhetoric Society of America (of which she is currently President). Too, she has served and continues to serve the Coalition through her membership on our Advisory Board since 2014.
Through all of these endeavors and accomplishments, Dr. Pough has been an invaluable resource–professionally and personally–for the many, many people she has mentored, a fact reflected in the multiple letters from current and former students and colleagues that were submitted in support of her nomination. Regarding these letters, the Lisa Ede Mentoring Award Committee explains,
“It would be difficult to summarize the love and gratitude expressed for Pough by those mentees who contributed to her nomination. Many talk about her presence, her generosity, her intellect, and her mentorship in terms that are reserved for someone who has been among the most impactful people in their lives. Pough’s mentees seem not only stirred but transformed by her example. Indeed, the committee was impressed by the holistically strong nomination filled with letters from a diverse and equally impressive collective of mentees. Those who have taken her classes or worked with her on dissertation projects describe a fierce teacher who shows up everyday ready to do the work. Those who have met her through professional networks comment on how she takes up labor that she doesn’t need to do simply because she wants to do her part in building our collective field. Those inspired by her scholarship express how she makes deep, complex inroads into the ongoing conversations about Black rhetorics, feminism, hiphop, and more, and makes it look easy! In sum, the nominating letters powerfully demonstrate that she has a wide range of talents and mentoring styles, all rooted in Black feminist, hip-hop pedagogies. Pough has radically changed the game and challenged white feminism her entire career.”
Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Pough!
Thank you as well to the Lisa Ede Mentoring Award Committee: Moushumi Biswas, Sherri Craig (Co-chair), Laura Davies, Allison Durazzi, and Gavin Johnson (Co-chair). Your contributions to the Coalition are greatly appreciated!
2023 Presidents Dissertation Award
This year, the work of two scholars was recognized with the 2023 Presidents Dissertation Award. The first recipient is Dr. Nisha Shanmugaraj, who completed her dissertation, “Negotiating the Model Minority: HowIndian American Women Rearticulate Dominant Racial Discourse,” at Carnegie Mellon University and currently holds the rank of Assistant Professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In her dissertation, Dr. Shanmugaraj builds on work by Aja Martinez, Jay Dolmage, Lisa Flores, Tamika Carey, Ursula Ore, and many others as she analyzes case studies of and interviews with twenty-five second-generation Indian (South Asian) American women to consider their rhetorical strategies for responding to and challenging the “model minority” stereotype.
The award committee praised the project for being “densely rooted in the coalitional and intersectional frameworks of feminist studies” and noted that its “contributions in terms of identity formation and vernacular rhetorical practice are many. And the grounded theory approach to the robust data set is well suited to the coalitional stance the author takes.” Congratulations to Dr. Shanmugaraj!
The second award was earned by Dr. Salma Kalim, Assistant Professor at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. Dr. Kalim researched and composed her dissertation, “Affect and Digital Circulation in Pakistani Feminist Rhetorics,” at Miami University in Ohio. The project draws on the work of Sara Ahmed, Gesa Kirsch, Eric Darnell Pritchard, and Jacqueline Jones Royster, among many others, and employs rhetorical analysis and interviews to explore how Pakistani women create and circulate messages of feminist activism–both digital and offline–to further regional and transnational alliances and to create change in conservative, oppressive contexts. The award committee praised Dr. Kalim’s project, noting that it is “thoroughly and richly situated within transnational feminist rhetorics and circulation studies” and that it effectively opens multiple avenues for future research. Congratulations to Dr. Kalim!
Much gratitude is due to the hard-working committee that read multiple dissertations and selected these deserving recipients: TJ Geiger, Maureen Johnson, Temptaous Mckoy (Chair), Temitope Ojedele, , and Jill Swiencicki. Thank you!