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Author(s): Kimberly FainAbstract: With past projects, such as Lemonade (2016), Beyoncé has embraced her language practices as an African American woman to evoke agency and empowerment both for herself and her community. Here, with Homecoming, Beyoncé communicates similar rhetorical intentions. However, as the first Black woman to headline Coachella, she communicates her role as a culture maker and trailblazer to shift her audience’s thinking, promote activism, and shape social movements. Meaning, Beyoncé’s rhetorical intentions stretch beyond her 200 performers. As perhaps, the most successful woman performer in the world, she aims to influence both the Coachella audience and Netflix audience. During this Homecoming film, Beyoncé performs various songs from past albums to convey various rhetorical messages of Black womanhood and sexuality. When Beyoncé merges African American Women’s Language practices with her Southern Black identity, she represents the complexity of intersectional identity. By featuring positive images of Black women, Beyoncé demonstrates knowledge and resistance to negative stereotypes. In other words, Beyoncé’s Homecoming reflects emotional and personal experiences of Black women that are also inherently political. Beyoncé employs Black feminist themes to transform our cultural appreciation of ourselves with Homecoming, which emphasizes how Black Women’s rhetorical practices are culturally impacting the world.
Author(s): Efe Franca PlangeAbstract: Even as feminist historiographic research gains increasing salience in rhetorical studies, enough work remains to be done in terms of rhetorical practices in non-Western contexts. To this end, this paper focuses on the digital activism of the Ghanaian based feminist group, Pepper Dem Ministries (PDM), to argue for an instance in which African women resort to available, but little-known cultural resources to position activist work concerning feminism, gender representation, and inequality. Specifically, the analysis explores the mako Adinkra symbol’s ancestral wisdom of inequality and uneven resources which informs the group’s work and how the activist group used this knowledge to challenge the problem of manels (all-male panels) in Ghana. The group uses the strategy of flipping scripts and tactics of humour and sarcasm to name oppressive patriarchal practices that exclude women from participating in civic debates. I argue that the effectiveness of this group could be attributed to their recovery of the mako Adinkra symbol as it situates their activism in a cultural context, thereby decolonizing feminist knowledge-making and rhetorical practices, while debunking the perceived notion that feminism is “unAfrican.”
“We Want to Be Intersectional”: Asian American College Students’ Extracurricular Rhetorical Education
Author(s): Allison DziubaAbstract: In this article, I explore how three Asian American student groups work to create spaces of intellectual and social belonging through their longing “to be intersectional.” I argue that their efforts are forms of extracurricular rhetorical education: each group employs “intersectionality” to understand their positions as speaking and writing subjects who are always already embedded within systems of power. “Intersectionality” serves as an epistemological and discursive method that is core to how these students relate to one another and to their experiences in university settings.
Author(s): Stephanie JonesAbstract: This article examines the “sociolinguistically constructed” meaning of Afrofuturism in order to define it as a Black feminist discourse. Using Geneva Smitherman’s concept “““Black sociolinguist reality””,” this article traces the history of Afrofuturism through its use by Black feminist speculative fiction authors as rhetorical praxis that recognizes Black language practices as processes of invention unique to Black linguistics that constructs the multitudinous nature of Blackness in the future. The recognition of a “Black sociolinguist reality” allows for more work that recognizes Black people have always been tastemakers, content creators, scholars, and artists that represent the uniqueness of Black style in ways that can and should always be celebrated, but can never be duplicated. By bringing Afrofuturism to rhetorical and feminist studies this article argues that “Black sociolinguist reality” is a practice of emergent strategy which recognizes the efforts of Black feminist speculative fiction authors to create worlds that disrupt notions of capitalistic chronicles of progress. This article is the winner of the 2021 Geneva Smitherman Award for Research in Black Language, Literacies, Cultures, and Rhetorics.
Author(s): La-Toya Scott, Kimberly Williams, Andrea N. Baldwin, and Laura GonzalesAbstract: This webtext leverages the potential of digital writing to illustrate how the authors define, navigate, and practice rhetorical feminism in the academy. Four different voices layer together experiences, letters to feminist mentors, and examples of teaching in the pandemic to demonstrate how a feminism grounded in Black and Latinx praxis provides space for reflection, joy, and survivance in white supremacist academic institutions.
Author(s): Andrea A. Lunsford
DIY Invitational Rhetoric: Engaging with the Past, Promoting Ongoing Dialogues, and Combating Racism
Author(s): Kristy CrawleyAbstract: In this article, I argue for a more useful type of invitational rhetoric, meaning a peaceful exchange of perspectives with the goal of understanding instead of persuading or changing others. I reconsider Sonja K. Foss and Cindy L. Griffin’s theory of invitational rhetoric through a new application that I refer to as DIY invitational rhetoric and utilize Jasmine Sanders’s New York Times article “A Black Legacy, Wrapped Up in Fur” to illustrate DIY invitational rhetoric’s efficacy. My work highlights DIY invitational rhetoric’s value as a feminist rhetorical strategy for combating racism.
Author(s): Margaret V. Williams
Author(s): Caitlin Burns
Author(s): Ryan Mitchell
Author(s): Britt StarrAbstract: Rasha Diab, Thomas Ferrel and Beth Godbee argue that to make antiracist transformation actionable in the composition classroom, educators need to enter the work with a “willingness to be disturbed.” A willingness to be disturbed, however, is not a disposition easily assumed for rhetoric and composition graduate students who are trained in academic climates that prohibit vulnerability and valorize perfection. This essay argues that perfectionism operates as a pillar of White supremacy culture in higher education that undermines graduate students’ potential engagement with antiracist transformation. Recognizing that transformation at the personal level is just one of many processes required on the path to institutional transformation, in this short essay, I hope to provoke feminist graduate faculty of rhetoric and composition to consider how they might disentangle perfectionism from its complicated, normative place in the graduate student habitus in order to advance the antiracist transformation of our field.
Author(s): Faith KurtykaAbstract: This reflection considers the psychological, physical, and emotional toll of attempting to listen to conservative women in the post-Donald Trump-era. I consider the ways that theorizations of rhetorical listening fall short when scholars are faced with the conservative discourses that resonate prominently in our contemporary culture, and I offer questions for feminist scholars to consider as they move foreward in their attempts to listen to voices with whom they disagree.
Author(s): Christiane BoehrAbstract: This essay reflects on the rewards and challenges in using close, recursive listening as a feminist-relational practice in conducting qualitative research. Drawing on examples from a case study on women writing in community, I argue that rigorous, associative listening practices create a holistic portrayal of participants and sustain a respectful, power-sharing ethos. Specifically, discussing Carol Gilligan’s Listening Guide as a voice-centered analytical tool, I advocate for the praxis of critical and mindful listening as an organizing principle to create knowledge, make meaning, and reveal truths that might otherwise remain hidden.
Author(s): Elizabeth McGhee Williams and Kate PantelidesAbstract: When Holocaust survivor Nessy Marks passed away in 2011, one of her most valued possessions, a collection of thank you letters written to her by the children from the many schools and places of worship she visited during her lifetime, found its home at our university. This report on in-progress work describes our efforts to recover, preserve, and analyze the letters in this archive. We highlight two trends in these letters: that of writers to affiliate with Ms. Marks through a sense of patriotism and duty, or through ancestry as a way of connecting to guilt and pain.
Author(s): Sandra L. TarabochiaAbstract: This article utilizes poetic inquiry as a feminist research methodology to humanize and shed light on faculty writer development. More specifically, found poetry—a radical strategy for qualitative inquiry that blends humanities and social science approaches—is used to examine and represent the experience of resilience (adversity and perseverance) among faculty writers. It is widely acknowledged that faculty writers struggle to produce scholarship in a “publish or perish” climate intensified by the neoliberal agenda of higher education, especially women and scholars from marginalized groups who disproportionately suffer the effects of racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, colonialist institutions. However, despite a few studies revealing best practices of publishing scholars, we know relatively little about the lived experience of faculty writers. In order to surface embodied realties of writers, interview data from an ongoing longitudinal study of faculty writers is presented as a composite found poem. Drawing on feminist critiques, the data poem is analyzed to reveal problems with resilience as a framework for faculty writer support. Critically interrogating writers’ experiences of adversity, the article suggests how mentors (institutionally appointed mentors, chairs, tenure committees, journal editors, and peers) can change the discourse and practice around resilience in our support of faculty writers.
Reading and Writing the Social Swirls of The French Chef: Social Circulation and the Fan Mail of Julia Child
Author(s): Lindy E. BriggetteAbstract: This article uses social circulation to consider fan mail written to Julia Child during her time on public television’s The French Chef. Analyzing a selection of fan letters written between 1963 and 1967, I explore how Child’s performances circulated rhetorical opportunity into the homes of fans, thus motivating their own rhetorical action. By highlighting letters that include commentary on the fan letter genre as well as letters that illustrate writers’ material literacy practices, I argue that fans and fan letters contribute to the complex rhetorical ecology that shapes the social circulation of Julia Child.
Author(s): Compiled by Charlotte Hogg and Meredith Love
Author(s): Rebecca Jones
Author(s): Amy RobillardAbstract: Preliminary findings from a study of misogyny in U.S. English departments reveal that participants’ understanding of the power of story persuaded them to push past their fears of misogynistic punishments to confidentially share their stories with the author. This article identifies the most persuasive aspects of story and the punishments most anticipated by participants when sharing their experiences of breaking patriarchal norms in a space where storytelling is otherwise encouraged.
Author(s): Jennifer KeohaneAbstract: Just Between Office Girls, a bi-monthly pamphlet for the clerical worker, offered advice for women laboring in offices in the early Cold War. Clerical work, as one of the most gender-segregated industries, is an important site to investigate how work is gendered, racialized, compensated, and valued. This essay explores the disciplining of female clerical workers in these pamphlets between the mid-1950s and early 1970s. I identify constitutive rhetoric, a care work frame, and embodiment as rhetorical processes that gendered clerical work in this historical moment. These rhetorics supported the gendered and racialized geopolitics of the Cold War. Through messaging that feminized clerical work, the pamphlets constituted a white, relatively passive labor force disinclined to protest and primed to consume. Such messages served U.S. political interests during the Cold War. I offer this analysis to explore how rhetoric positions labor within social value structures.
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