The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America

 

FemRhets: Where the Boys Are!


Submitted by syntaxfactory on October 20, 2011 - 12:52pm


Okay, so I'm guessing that FemRhets is not common parlance to the Blogora community. This makes sense, insofar that I'm guessing 60% of the Blogora readership are communication scholars and the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference is sponsored by the Coalition for Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition. The conference has a different set of roots.

From their website:
"The Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition is a learned society composed of women scholars who are committed to research in the history of rhetoric and composition. The Coalition has been formed to promote and foster collaboration and communication among women whose area of specialization is in these two areas. It has two major aims:
1) the advancements of research in the history of rhetoric and composition and
2) the education of women faculty and graduate students in the politics of the profession."

On the one hand, given the strong presence of women in Communication, it surprises me that a similar organization doesn't exist in Communication. (The OSCLG–the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender is broader in its base.) On the other hand, composition is a larger field, by the numbers, and rhetoric and composition strikes me as a more heavily female than rhetorical studies in communication.

So this conference, unsurprisingly, looked like a lot of rhetoric & composition conferences: some discussions of pedagogy, some recuperation of lost figures, some critique of popular or mass culture, and some discussions of theory.

D. 7—CSU 285 Reconsidering Ann E. Berthoff David Beard, University of Minnesota, Duluth, “Berthoff and Heuristics for Writers” Marguerite Helmers, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, “Berthoff and Critical Hermeneutics for Readers” Jes Hodgson, University of Missouri, “Berthoff and Pedagogies for Writing Teachers” Julie Daniels, Century College, “Berthoff and the Search for Human Nature” Juli Parrrish, University of Denver

Alright, so this panel I put together, and what I love about it is its openness to a range of perspectives, and the fruitfulness of those perspectives in dialogue. We had a decades-veteran of teaching at the community college, a freshly tenured me, a permanent lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Denver, a new doctoral student, and a senior scholar with several books under her belt. We had immediate explorations of Berthoff's pedagogy and highly abstract discussions of disciplinary traditions. We discussed Berthoff as a stylist, as a theorist, and more. (Notably, a similarly structured panel submitted to the 4Cs was rejected.) FemRhets is open to a polyphony of voices.

E. 1—CSU 201 Feminist Ethics, Radical Pragmatism, and Issues of Public Concern: Complicating Judicial Empathy, Free Speech and Coal Country Activism William Duffy, Francis Mason University John Pell, University of North Carolina, Greensboro Mary Beth Pennington, Virginia Military Institute

Mary Beth Pennington offered a provocative analysis of rhetorical work in Coal Country Activism. She made many provocative claims; the one that stuck me is the way she felt that the very body of Mother Jones reiterated and reinforced her rhetorical work.

William Duffy offered a moving argument attempting to parse ethical and free speech issues in the protest/hate speech of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church How, he asked, do we ethically engage Hate Speech? He turned to pragmatism, especially Jane Addams, for guidance. I don't know that it worked. entirely, because Westboro is, fundamentally, theatre, not deliberative discourse, in my view, and Pragmatism has little to say about theatre. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lunch: 12:00PM-12:40PM Keynote: 12:50-1:30PM OSTRANDER AUDITORIUM Mumbi Mwangi and Kyoko Kishimoto

G. 5—CSU 238 Film and TV: Gendered Rhetoric Laura McCarten, Metropolitan State University, “You’re the new girl and you’re not much”: Technologies of Discipline in Mad Men Nels Highberg, University of Hartford, “When Pornography and Documentary Film Collide in Feminist, Lesbian and Gay Pornography” Brandy Grabow, North Carolina State University, “Profiling Gender: Punishing the Professional for the Personal on Criminal Minds”

H. 4—CSU 204 Motherhood, Housework, Widows, and Maids Jamie White-Farnham, University of Rhode Island, “Respect It or Reject It? The Competing Discourses of Housework” Kristin Mock, University of Arizona, “Not a Mother and Not a Maid, Then What?: How Feminist Pedagogy Fits (or Doesn’t) in the 21st Century” Dibakar Pal, Independent Scholar, “Widow, The Second-Class Citizen and Slave of the Patriarchal Society” Julie Whitlow, Salem State University, “Is a Married Woman Always a Wife? Linguistic Ideology and Identity in Married Lesbians” Beth Howells, Armstrong Atlantic State University, “Hidebound Prohibitions

H. 5—CSU 238 Agency in Rural Spaces Rachel Wolford, University of Minnesota Duluth, “Clandestine Agency in the Narratives of Women Farmland Owners in Iowa” Susan Meyers, Oregon State University, “It’s Bad not to Take ‘No’ for an Answer”: Women’s Literacies and Resistance in Rural Mexico

Lunch: 12:00PM-12:40PM Keynote:12:50-1:40PM Coalition Announcements Kate Ronald, Eileen Schell, and Rebecca Dingo OSTRANDER AUDITORIUM

Submitted by Maxwell on October 25, 2011 - 12:06am.

Schell, Dingo, and Ronald set up their panel as a discussion of feminist research methodologies. Schell and Dingo outlined different methodologies for doing Transnational Feminist Rhetorical analysis, and Russel took an old school approach outlining the Pragmatic female philosophers that inspire her research. Dingo uses a network metaphor to show how Transnationalism creates linkages between people, systems, arguments, and texts. I was so taken by this methodology that I decided to try out her 'network' analysis the next day during my talk (just kidding: I was planning on doing it the whole time) on the rhetorical locations of 'The Right to Food'. More on TN + Rhetoric in a later post.

Funny, though, how Syntaxfactory ends his summary with lunch on Friday. It's like he left the conference early or something :P

Submitted by syntaxfactory on October 24, 2011 - 9:51am.

...apologies for sparse posting.

Submitted by syntaxfactory on October 24, 2011 - 9:11am.

Lunch: 12:00PM-12:40PM Keynote: 12:50-1:30PM OSTRANDER AUDITORIUM Mumbi Mwangi and Kyoko Kishimoto

Keynotes are complex things -- hortatory, energizing, entertaining. This one started slow -- a slow tracing of the speakers' academic work. Was this a misreading of the genre? Was this the throat-clearing of two teacher-scholars from a regional (and often seen as intolerant) state university? In any event, their larger claims, advanced at the end of the presentation, about rethinking the idea that the classroom is a "safe space" in favor of conceptions of a space of vulnerability, were awesome.

G. 5—CSU 238 Film and TV: Gendered Rhetoric Laura McCarten, Metropolitan State University, “You’re the new girl and you’re not much”: Technologies of Discipline in Mad Men Nels Highberg, University of Hartford, “When Pornography and Documentary Film Collide in Feminist, Lesbian and Gay Pornography” Brandy Grabow, North Carolina State University, “Profiling Gender: Punishing the Professional for the Personal on Criminal Minds”

The errors of pop culture panels, writ large, are twofold. 1. They must address the problem that they are representations of reality that must be discussed both as representation and as a product of the age of their creation. 2. The critic cannot sustain criticism solely based on their passion for the pop culture artifact. Only one paper on this panel, the last one, by the absent Brandy Grabow, managed to craft an argument that did not succumb to these errors. In fact, it was a very fine piece of media criticism, one that argued well, cultivation-style, that the representations of gender in criminal minds was dangerous.

H. 4—CSU 204 Motherhood, Housework, Widows, and Maids Jamie White-Farnham, University of Rhode Island, “Respect It or Reject It? The Competing Discourses of Housework” Kristin Mock, University of Arizona, “Not a Mother and Not a Maid, Then What?: How Feminist Pedagogy Fits (or Doesn’t) in the 21st Century”

Jamie White-Farnham, a colleague at a nearby school, attempted to map English studies perspectives on housework: both literary/cultural studies looks at representations of housework and rhetorical discussions of the ways that housework structures gender and literacy behaviors. It was a great map, sharply presented, and it shows promise as the core of an argument about the relationship between rhetorical, literary, literacy and cultural studies. But in my mind, the emphasis on Housework was misplaced, and I wasted a good 20 minutes of discussion time trying to argue that having an opinion about housework is irrelevant; having an opinion on housework is simply another way of having an opinion about the system of relationships that relegate one to housework. (Phrased differently, a bachelor has no opinion about housework because he has no system of relationships that relegates him to have to do it. A wife, on the other hand, does have such a system.)

Kristin Mock brought us back to the table to address feminist pedagogy in the 21st century. The older I get, the harder it feels to live by those principles in the classroom. I am becoming accustomed to the power relationships I used to question.

H. 5—CSU 238 Agency in Rural Spaces Rachel Wolford, University of Minnesota Duluth, “Clandestine Agency in the Narratives of Women Farmland Owners in Iowa”

I didn't attend this because I had heard it before. But if you are interested in understanding Agency for the post-post-Human era, this is the woman you want to talk to. She weaves Althusser and Latour and a soup of other figures to richly describe the complex lives of women who, by law are property owners and farmers, but by gender are still engaged in power relationships

Lunch: 12:00PM-12:40PM Keynote:12:50-1:40PM Coalition Announcements Kate Ronald, Eileen Schell, and Rebecca Dingo OSTRANDER AUDITORIUM

This keynote was complex -- it was a reminder of the global nature of feminism and it reminded me of the complex web of human action and its implications. I'll let someone else (Max Philbrook?) talk about this one.

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