Everyone Has a Voice!: Listening, Empowerment, Compassionate Confrontation, and Healing
Every One Has a Voice!:
Listening, Empowerment, Compassionate Confrontation, and Healing
The 25th annual summer conference of The Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning
of the National Council of Teachers of English (www.aepl.org)
June 20-23, 2019, YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park, CO
If we really want to change things…, it’s going to start at the grassroots level,
and with our [youth]. –Barack Obama, 1995
Democracy will come into its own
[--}for democracy is a name for a life of free and enriching communion[--]…
when free social inquiry is indissolubly wedded to the art of full and moving communication.
--John Dewey, 1927
Perhaps the times we are now living through will at some point come to be known as The Age of Donald Trump and #MeToo! With the former comfortably in the past. And the latter the permanent democratic norm. Historically exemplified by the plethora of voices—prominent among them students and teachers—now speaking out, in these very times, for the healing of the plethora of abuses brought about by our longstanding submission to unjust, dehumanizing, and unnatural hierarchies of many kinds. Through whose voices the motto “We are the one ones we’ve been waiting for” will have become not just a one-time inducement to vote, but an everlasting call for all to live in truth.
This is the vision inspiring the 25th Annual Summer Conference of the NCTE Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning—a vision that will be greatly, and directly, amplified by the presence there with us of the voices of you and your students!
(We are also seeking funding to bring students and teachers from Parkland, Florida)
Carol Gilligan, of Harvard and NYU, has been a powerful public voice for the power of democratic voice since the 1980s, with the publication of her landmark In a Different Voice. And it was her comment that “a democracy is not just a place where everyone has a vote, but where everyone has a voice”—at our 2003 conference “Building a Culture of Listening in Our Institutions of Learning”—that inspired this year’s theme. Her brand new book (with David A.J. Richards, a prospective conference speaker once we have sufficient enrollment/donations) Darkness Now Visible: Patriarchy’s Resurgence and Feminist Resistanceis of breathtaking timeliness and importance. Its message has been summed up by Gloria Steinem: “It is the sleight-of-hand of every unjust system to become the rule, and to make everyone else the exception. [This book] end[s] the idea that patriarchy represents everybody, and show[s] that feminism turns patriarchy into democracy. [It is] a prescription for tearing down Trumpian walls…[by] seeing each other as unique and equal.”
Hepzibah Roskelly and Kate Ronald are perhaps the most prominent feminist voices in NCTE, our sponsoring organization.
Hephzibah Roskelly retired in 2016 from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she taught rhetoric and writing and directed the Women’s and Gender Studies program. She has collaborated with Kate Ronald in lots of enterprises, including their book Reason to Believe: Romanticism, Pragmatism and the Teaching of Writing (1998). The second edition of her textbook with David Jolliffe, Writing America (spring 2020) is designed to engage high school and early college students in confronting current civic issues using American history and literature. She lives in Louisville, Ky., teaches distance courses, and mentors area high school English teachers.
Kate Ronald retired from Miami University in 2016, where she served as the Roger and Joyce L. Howe Professor of English and Director of the Howe Center for Writing excellence and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in composition and rhetoric. She directed more dissertations than she remembers. Her two favorite publications remain Reason to Believe: Romanticism, Pragmatism, and the Teaching of Writing, co-authored with Hephzibah Roskelly (SUNY, 1998), and Available Means: An Anthology of Women’s Rhetoric(s), co-edited with Joy Ritchie (Pittsburgh, 2001
Veronica House is the founding Executive Director of the Coalition for Community Writing and founding chair of the Conference on Community Writing. She is a faculty member in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she has served as Associate Faculty Director for Service-Learning and Outreach for eight years. As founder of the University’s award-winning Writing Initiative for Service and Engagement, she coordinated the Program for Writing and Rhetoric’s transformation into one of the first writing programs in the country to have integrated community-engaged pedagogies throughout its lower- and upper-division courses. She has enjoyed working with faculty at colleges and universities across the country to design community-engaged courses and programs. Veronica serves as Co-Editor of the Community Literacy Journal. Her recent teaching, community work, and scholarship focus on food localization, food literacy, environmental communication, and institutionalization of community-engaged pedagogy. She is proud to serve on the board of The Shed: Boulder County Foodshed, which promotes community education about local food.
Ruth Rootberg trained with Kristin Linklater and was Associate Professor in voice at the Yale School of Drama from 1995–2000. Other faculty positions include Northern Illinois University, the Theatre School of DePaul, and Mt. Holyoke College. She is a certified Laban Movement Analyst (2000) and an AmSAT-certified Alexander Technique teacher (2003). Ruth has presented integrated voice and movement workshops at the Voice Foundation, Alexander Technique conferences, the Association for Theatre in Higher Eduction (ATHE), SAPVAME (South Africa), and has given workshops at music, theatre, and dance programs around the country. Ruth resides in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Questions and Topic Areas for Proposals (though let your own voice be your main guide)
What are the ideas and practices in your classroom that, in the words of Mary Rose O’Reilley “listen [people] into existence”? That help them know that their voices and stories are meaningful and resonantly empowering to others, and need to be heard in both intimate and public spaces?
How have they learned to use those voices to speak personally storied truth to power in both small and large ways? And how have new possibilities for healing and transformative change in our collective stories, writ large or small, been brought about through their—and your—speaking out? (We use the word “possibilities” here because we know that many of the stories you will share will likely involve the witnessing of the many tragedies and martyrdoms that are so often required to impel us to compassionate change.)
What are the various ways that prevailing educational practices make the hidden claim “I am your voice” that has been blatantly asserted by our current president? And how can we broadly institute educational practices that will educe the great chorus of voices that constitutes authentic democracy?
Proposal topic suggestions:
Making marginalized lives and voices matter
Making humanity and the humanities matter
Making nature and biodiversity matter
Feminisms and new understandings of manhood
Diverse community building
Empathy and compassion, including “speaking truth to power with love” (Cornel West),
and for the concealed inner pain of oppressors
Speaking and public speechmaking through embodied voice
Public discourse in the writing classroom and elsewhere
Truth and reconciliation: Confession and forgiveness
Practices of nonviolence
Understandings of the psychology of violence and its prevention
Specific readings: works of literature and theory
Important thinkers and role models
Activism—online and in person
Personally encountering meaningful history
To propose: Send an abstract of up to 250 words for a 75-minute interactive workshop (preferred format), making sure to include descriptions of the activities in which you will involve participants; or a 20-30 minute talk or short teaching demo, to EveryOneHasaVoiceAEPL2019@gmail.com. Proposals will be reviewed through early June. Lodging at the conference site may not be available after mid-April, but you may commute from Estes Park (10 min) or Boulder (45 min).
Registration: $270 January 7-May 1, 2019; $350 after May 1; discounts for students, adjuncts, and retirees and for multiple attendees from the same organization. Registration at www.aepl.org. Refund policy, and lodging and membership info on website.