2010 CCCC Feminist Workshop--Feminist Intersectionality: Confronting Identity(ies), Censorship, and Action

full name / name of organization: 
CCCC Feminist Workshop/ Kirsti Cole

2010 CCCC Feminist Workshop

Feminist Intersectionality: Confronting Identity(ies), Censorship, and Action

Taking up the 2010 conference theme -- to rethink, revisit, revise, and renew -- this workshop explores how feminists and feminist discourse might reinvigorate their work through the lens of intersectionality. Feminist scholars and activists such as Kimberlé Crenshaw, bell hooks, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, and Gloria Anzaldua have challenged the feminist movement to confront its own silencing when it comes to power as it relates to multiple, interlocking systems of oppression. In order for feminists in rhetoric and composition studies to keep issues of multiple and intersecting identities at the forefront of our conversations, we must actively interrogate how, where, and with what effects have racism, classism, homophobia, sexism, and ableism, both within and surrounding the women's movement silenced issues of difference and hybridity. Although there has long been consistent scholarship calling out these multiple oppressions, we suggest that there has simultaneously been a great deal of censorship when trying to engage in such a critique.

This workshop seeks to build an open space to talk about the ways in which feminism, especially as it has been theorized within composition studies, might engage in conversations of "danger talk", a term used by Harris, Hassinger, Debbink, and Martin at the 2009 Feminist Workshop. "Danger talk," as developed by Harris et al., highlights moments within an activist discourse where those wanting to be considered members/insiders are censored by the same arguments and tropes that seek to support and empower that same member. Such "danger talk" can not only stymie a movement, but can erase (potentially powerful and productive) voices of dissent. In borrowing this term, we also acknowledge the danger in opening up space within the Feminist Workshop itself for conversations that can be uncomfortable and may be otherwise discouraged—discourses that may contain or open space for a critique of basic feminist ideologies. Even though scholars have called for such discourse before (see for example, Krista Ratcliffe's "rhetorical listening" answer to Jacqueline Jones Royster's call for better rhetorical tactics for turning difference into productive dialogue), we argue that silencing and elisions continue, and we also suggest that feminists work more to translate analysis and pedagogy into action.

With this in mind, we invite proposals that address how the particular impacts and intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, age, disability, and gender can both challenge and forward reified (and thus censoring) discourses within composition's feminist movement. In facilitating this type of space, we hope to engage in a critical understanding of difference in feminism and explore implications thereof for such practices as theory building, civic engagement, classroom pedagogy, and professional alliance building or professionalization. It is becoming commonplace to discuss feminism as split between activism and the academy, between the community and the tower, between the public and scholars but we posit that this is a false dichotomy that in fact adds to the effect of silence prevalent in confronting the germinal and difficult issues of diversity.

In order to facilitate thinking through the concerns described, we provide the following questions:
--What has been the history and role of "diversity" within compositions' feminist movement?
--Have conversations about feminism been exclusionary of other forms of difference? In what ways and to what affect?
--How have these conversations or silences impacted our scholarship, our classrooms, and ourselves?
--What is the role of feminist ideology and intersectionality in the political space of the classroom?
--How do issues of self, self and community, and self and the classroom impact feminist constructions of identity and difference?
--What is the role of feminist discourse in hybrid, multimedia, and global spaces?
--How can "danger talk" produce a generative dissonance rather than a censoring one? in the spaces of our scholarship, our classrooms, and our communities?

There will be an opportunity to participate in a publication resulting from the work done at the 2010 Feminist Workshop, either as a presenter/participant or as a member of one of the Action Groups.

Requirements and Submission Guidelines:
Unless otherwise solicited, please submit abstracts for roundtable presentations (5-8 minutes), to be included in Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 described above. Presentations outside of the traditional paper format (multimedia, performative reading, interactive, etc.) and from a larger interdisciplinary audience are especially welcome. Please submit abstracts of no more than one double-spaced page to 4CFeministWorkshop@gmail.com April 30, 2009.