Transgender Rhetorics

Please consider submitting work to this fabulous special issue of Peitho on Transgender Rhetorics edited by GPat Patterson and K.J. Rawson.


On May 15th, 2016, the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric & Composition became the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric & Composition (“Welcome to the Coalition of FEMINIST Scholars…”). This shift from “women” to “feminist” signals two significant changes. First, it centralizes feminist praxis as it reaffirms, through the name and mission statement, the Coalition’s commitment to “intersectional” feminist inquiry (Crenshaw, 1989). Such a commitment had already begun strengthening since CFSHRC transformed Peitho into a journal in 2012. Peitho’s contributors have helped readers consider how women’s experiences of gender-­based oppression are always-­already bound up in questions of race (August, 2014; Royster, 2012; Licona & Chávez, 2015; Martinez, 2018), region (Khoury, 2015; Miron, 2018; Nish, 2018; Thompson, 2017), class (Dubisar, 2016; Guglielmo, 2013; Hallenbeck & Smith, 2015), orientation (Bentley & Lee, 2018; Malinowitz, 2013; Osrorio, 2015), disability (Gay, 2017; Phillips & Leahy, 2017), and embodiment (Johnson, Levy, Manthey & Novotny, 2015).

The second impact of the Coalition’s name change concerns inclusivity—membership is now openly welcoming for all people as the scope of the organization has broadened. This reframing emphasizes that feminist concerns in Rhetoric & Composition are everyone’s concerns, which follows an implicit understanding that women are not the only people who experience gender­-based oppression. Indeed, for the last twenty years Transgender Studies has worked alongside feminist, queer, disability, and critical race studies to offer a more expansive view of gender-­based oppression and empowerment.

The subfield of Transgender Rhetorics, while still emerging, has begun to open up gender-­expansive lenses for thinking about activism (Hundley and Rodriguez, 2009), pedagogy (Alexander, 2005; Driskill, 2014; Patterson, 2016; Sathiyaseelan, 2014), literacy (Alexander, 2008; Driskill, 2004; Kimball, Houle & McKee, 2004; Pritchard, 2009), methodology (Driskill, 2009; Patterson, 2018, 2019; Rawson, 2010), archives and memory (Rawson, 2014, 2018; Woods, Ewalt & Baker, 2013), popular culture and media (Cooper, 2002; Landau, 2012; Patterson & Spencer, 2017; Squires and Brouwer 2002), institutional and legal critique (Spencer & Patterson, 2017; West, 2011, 2014), sexual harassment (Hsu, 2018), and resistance to racist and colonial violence (Driskill, 2016; Hsu, 2018; Pritchard, 2018).

Putting this emerging tradition of trans-­specific inquiry in Rhetorical Studies into conversation with the Coalition’s gender­-expansive focus on feminist inquiry, we invite contributions to a special issue of Peitho focused on Transgender Rhetorics. We can imagine many topics contributors might pursue, such as:

  • What is the relationship between Feminist and Transgender Rhetorics? What are their points of convergence and departure and how might each inform the other?
  • Who might be considered a trans or gender non­-conforming rhetor and what might they contribute to our understanding of rhetoric?
  • What rhetorical concepts might be usefully engaged, expanded, or revised for understanding transgender rhetorical practices?
  • In what ways do trans rhetors call attention to unique vectors of gender-­based oppression?
  • What has been done in the field of Rhetoric & Composition thus far concerning transgender topics? (Such a review might take the form of an annotated bibliography, for example)
  • What might a critical trans pedagogy look like? How might our pedagogies amplify the rhetorical agency of our trans students?
  • In what ways might our Rhetoric & Composition pedagogies be complicit in enacting gender-­based violence against trans students?
  • These and other topics can be taken up by contributors in a variety of formats including full­-length academic articles (6,000–8,000 words), shorter exploratory essays (1,000–2,000 words), as well as through digital and multimodal formats.

This issue will also include a special section titled “Recovering Transgender Rhetoric,” which will consist of short essays (1,000–2,000 words) or brief digital pieces that closely consider items available in the Digital Transgender Archive ( This section of the special issue invites scholars to (re)turn to the archive to excavate primary source materials that offer a point of entry for recovering Transgender Rhetoric. Contributions to this section might focus on one or more items in the Digital Transgender Archive that help us to begin thinking through transgender rhetorical practices. This format is designed to be welcoming for a wide range of scholars who might not otherwise explore the topic of Transgender Rhetoric or those who may not have a full­-length manuscript to contribute.

Submission Details & Timeline

All submissions should be emailed to both editors—GPat Patterson ( and K.J. Rawson (—by September 30th, 2019. Peer review will occur during the fall of 2019, revisions will be due in spring 2020, and the anticipated publication date will be summer 2020. If you are considering a digital or multimodal format, please reach out to the editors in advance of your submission to confirm that the format could be supported.

Feel free to contact the editors at any point to pitch an idea or pose any questions you might have!