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:email@example.com) 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:
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is coordinating this task force.
- 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 (email@example.com) 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