Announcements + CFPs

CFP: NCTE/CCCC Cross-Caucus Composition Studies Special Issue: “Diversity is not Equity: BIPOC Scholars Speak to Systemic Racism in the Academy and Field”

Edited by Ersula Ore, Kimberly Wieser, & Christina Cedillo

Posted 11.13.20

In response to the latest surge in US anti-Black violence that has claimed the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others, organizations, corporations, and universities have declared their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, including but not limited to the University of Michigan, the University of Kentucky, Harvard, Amazon and Uber, Congress, the NBA and the NFL. Such gestures can signify a genuine commitment to change or serve as a means of monetizing political cover through trendy, opportunistic, and exploitative public relations campaigning. Without concrete action behind the words, the outcome remains the same. As scholars of rhetoric, composition, and literacy studies, we know that similar moves by our organizations and institutions render the field a site of violence for scholars of color (Wanzer Serrano, 2019; Kynard, 2015; Craig, 2015; King, 2012; Hoang, 2009; Mao and Young, ed., 2008; Villanueva, 2006; Lyons, 2000; Gilyard, 1999; see also Presumed Incompetent, 2012, 2020; Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology, 2016). Some scholars choose to remain in the academy, the profession, or at their institutions, while others are driven to leave either directly or by a lack of support. Scholars committed to the survival and livelihood of BIPOC scholars within the discipline must work to cultivate a “pedagogy of care” and create mechanisms of support for graduate, junior, and mid-career scholars; they must heed our voices when we voice our community-specific experiences and make known our needs, and, they must be our privileged accomplices when we engage in “pushback” (Ore, 2017) to get the discipline to do better.

This special issue will stress that despite rhetorical gestures of solidarity and support, our field continues to enact the systemic oppression of BIPOC through its standard hiring, labor, and tenure practices (Smith, Turner, Osei-Kofi, and Richards, 2004), through its incapacity to secure institutional structures of support to ensure the matriculation and retention of BIPOC graduates and faculty, and through its willingness to tie the value of BIPOC scholars to their capacity to serve the universities, institution, and corporations in which they work. The discussions featured in this special issue will highlight the lived experiences of BIPOC scholars in the academy and the field, and will center the perspectives of scholars of color in rhetoric, composition, and literacy studies to draw attention to the field’s exclusionary practices and to ask how we might create material “conditions of possibility” that thrive alongside cultural, ideological, and embodied differences. These conditions include opportunities to make space for ourselves and others, create critical spaces of knowledge, challenge our field’s whitestream research and teaching practices, and advance culturally-sustaining models of mentoring and publishing (Okawa, 2002). Ultimately, the issue aims to encourage critical reflection among senior scholars, faculty (and) administrators, directors, and coordinators at all levels regarding best practices for facilitating the healthy matriculation and retention of BIPOC graduates and faculty.

In order to honor the multiple ways we tell and engage with these experiences and the ways in which we dialogue with one another, we invite a variety of genres and approaches to this contribution from BIPOC scholars that include individual or collaborative vignettes; testimonials and critical ethnographic pieces examining micro-aggressions specific to BIPOC graduates, instructors, and faculty; testimonials and critical ethnographic pieces examining the struggles of first-generation and BIPOC graduates and faculty; interviews; artwork with description/commentary; letters to the younger self; and video, podcast, or other multimodal-oriented commentary that centers the experiences of BIPOC graduate and faculty in rhetoric, composition, and literacy studies and gives voice to the reasons people stay beyond the awards system the tenure-track offers.

We seek 150-300-word abstracts from BIPOC scholars that address the following:

  • The problematics of BIPOC recruitment and retention and how mentorship and community building can counter these problems
  • How the academy relies on mentors and communities to do vast amounts of unrecognized labor that should be done structurally
  • “Surviving Becky(s)” (Matias, 2020) and the white performative allyship of the university
  • How tropes of civility and professionalism surveille and discipline/“discipline” BIPOC in the academy
  • How notions of respectability and stability curtail our responses to national crises like COVID and the 2020 election
  • What scholars of color do to mentor each other in the absence of faculty mentorship
  • How scholarly communities of color subvert the divide between the academy and the world “outside”
  • Invisible labor and COVID
  • How BIPOC faculty and graduates have experienced time in these “times of COVID” and what this experience reveals about race, labor, time, and the academy

Please email abstracts to Ersula Ore at by November 26, 2020 no later than 11:59MST.