Through social media platforms, CCCC participants will be able to document their individual, panel, and plenary session participation, as well as their experiences in the hallways, restaurants, and bars through which the conference manifests itself. Short pieces in response to the conference can be submitted for consideration by completing the form here.
Being There Responses:
My awareness of the problems in Missouri and the NAACP travel warning tempered my usual excitement about Cs and conferencing in general. However, I started a new job in August and thought it was important to attend the conference and show I was engaged, so I decided to find ways to make my Cs experience entirely about activism and social justice. I volunteered to facilitate a pre-conference workshop with Michael Pemberton and Romeo Garcia on Social Justice work in our home institutions. The workshop brought together many passionate people who inspired one another to put their values around social justice and progressive politics into action in meaningful ways, in our classrooms and beyond. To continue reading, click here.
In a letter to Asao Inoue, the Program Chair for CCCC 2018, the CCCC Disability Standing Group challenged our organization to reflect on how we were responding to the issues of social justice and diversity related to the Jim Crow-like laws of Missouri. We’re we engaged in enacting long-term structural changes or simply retrofitting our actions to mitigate the impact of these unjust laws on our annual convention? Similarly, in her Chair’s Address, Calhoon-Dillahunt reminds us, “moments of crisis” offer kairotic opportunities, moments not to react but to react and reflect, what Freire describe as being praxis-oriented, and it from this point that I would like to reflect on my decision to attend #4C18. To continue reading, click here.
“As an intersectional feminist rhetorician, I watched the debates about the 4C18 conference closely to try to hear the spectrum of voices and concerns about the conference location. CCCC has shown its political, cultural, and social awareness through numerous position statements, but this conference sparked internal conversations about safety and community of specific conference-goers in response to the Missouri travel advisory. I thought about my own positionality in relation to the conference, recognizing that privilege and oppression work hand in hand for me as a white woman. This led me to two conclusions: first, I had to respect my colleagues’ needs and decisions not to attend the conference and encourage others to do so; second, I realized that if I did participate, my presence would need to bring visibility to the oppressions and marginalizations at the focus of this conference and the surrounding debates.” To continue reading, click here.
CCCC 2018 meant a four hour drive from Hays, the town of 20,000 where I teach. A flat drive, until it’s not: the Flint Hills, the Fort Riley military base, the hypnotic windmills, the vestiges and scars of tornadoes and fire. On I-70, especially through Missouri, there are juxtapositions in dizzying proximity: ridiculous uses of the American flag, Jesus and abortion and gun and porn stuff. More races and ethnicities on this preachy, nationalistic road than coastal measures account for. To continue readings, click here.
“As a feminisms and rhetorics scholar, I do social justice work around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Intersectionality is at the forefront of this field, but even though it has become a buzzword of sorts, it continues to be difficult to hold multiple identities with attention and intention. Consider the controversy over the location at CCCCs Kansas City; as a feminist and anti-racist advocate, my first reaction was to support the groups I supported in their boycott and so I did.
When I was asked, however, by Asao B. Inoue, CCCC Program Chair, to participate in the newly formed Social Justice workshops to create dialogue in response to the controversy, my second reaction was to say “yes.” What I realized in the decision making process was that, while I advocate for justice and the right to protest, I also value dialogue. Walking away without talking makes a strong statement, but dialoguing brings folks back to the table to really work through issues.” To continue reading, click here .
“I still remember my first time at C’s—St. Louis. There were a lot of things I did not know and was not sure of before C’s. I did not know what C’s or NCTE was. I was not sure how much more I could take in and from gringodemia. I did not know if I would fit into a field that had expressed many times over that I just did not have what it took to write well. I was not sure if the field was for me. Yet, then and now, I have found that over the course of my trajectory in composition and rhetoric, there have been opportunities. ” To continue reading, click here.
“Despite the travel warning issued by the NAACP in August of 2017 advising African Americans to exercise extreme caution when traveling through the state of Missouri, I never considered not attending the 2018 annual convention of the Conference on Composition and Communication in Kansas City. One of the assumptions that undergirds my work in racial literacy research and pedagogy is that explicit discussion about race and racism is necessary both in the classroom and in our professional discipline. My desire not to contribute monetarily to the city was overridden by my interest in having difficult conversations, even in difficult places. ” To continue reading, click here.
Kansas City was the first meeting I attended as a member of the CCCC Executive Committee. Along with the other new members, I had been briefly oriented to the work, responsibilities, and scope of the Committee, and I had arrived in our designated meeting room at the Marriott Downtown for last-minute face-to-face introductions. While I hadn’t officially begun work on the Committee until after the many difficult conversations about the annual conference, Kansas City, the state of Missouri, and the NAACP’s travel advisory, I was well aware that many debates had occurred within the Committee and between Committee members and other CCCC colleagues. I knew at least some members were choosing not to attend. To continue reading, click here.
My experience at the 2018 Conference on College Composition & Communication in Kansas City made me reflect on how power operates in and through dominant genres. Members of the ‘Task Force on Social Justice and Activism at the Convention’ among others obviously worked hard to create, organize, and execute the various conference events on social justice. I acknowledge and commend them for this difficult, important work. But if disruption is a necessary condition for social change and therefore a necessary component to activism for social justice, then I fear activism didn’t occur at the level that I hoped it would when deciding to attend. Because disruption didn’t occur. The genre of conferencing remained unchallenged, allowing attendees who consciously or unconsciously exercise the privilege of being indifferent to social (in)justice to remain unchallenged and comfortable with that indifference. To continue reading, click here.
On August 15, 2017 I read and signed the “Joint Statement on the NAACP Missouri Travel Advisory” on behalf of the CCCC Feminist Caucus. That was easy. But trying to reconcile the various discourse surrounding the convention afterward consumed my scholarship, teaching, service, and personal advocacy efforts throughout the year. To continue reading, click here.
Let me start with a confession. I did not agree with the calls to relocate the Conference on College Composition and Communication (4C’s) to a city other than Kansas City or to boycott the conference. I listened to the concerns and heard that prospective attendees of color did not feel safe. I asked colleagues for evidence of danger but did not receive any replies. I searched the Internet for any statistics showing an uptick in police harassment or violence in or around Kansas City. I looked for signs of a surge in hate crimes or police selectively enforcing laws. I came up empty. I reviewed the controversial law that had been cited, SB43, and while I objected to it, the law did not concern the primary issue of safety. As a matter of ethics, I believe NCTE should agree to not hold conferences in the state of Missouri in the future as a protest against the law, as the organization has done elsewhere because of objectionable legislation, but the financial commitments to Kansas City had already been made for 2018. To continue reading, click here.