(CTRL-)Shifting Practices: Advancing Internet Research Ethics through Feminist Rhetorics

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Peitho Cluster Conversation Edited by Melissa Ames & Kristi McDuffie
contact email: 

(CTRL-)Shifting Practices: Advancing Internet Research Ethics through Feminist Rhetorics

This cluster conversation in Peitho will provide an intersectional, humanist approach to Internet research ethics by interrogating ethical guidelines from a feminist rhetorical lens. Feminist rhetorics has attended to whose stories get told and how they are told, whose voices are silenced and how such silence is broken (Royster, 1995; Royster & Kirsch, 2012). Research has increasingly focused on these concerns as they are amplified when such stories and voices are situated in digital spaces (Guglielmo, 2013). For example, studies have demonstrated how marginalized populations write and advocate online, from hashtivists protesting police violence against black women (Brown et. al, 2017) to trans youth leveraging the Internet for collective action (Erlick, 2018) to Chinese youth expressing sexuality online (Liao, 2019). There are also movements to “engage in the work of recovering hidden rhetorics, and grapple with the ethical challenges raised by this recovery work” (Dayton & Vaughn, 2021). Such concerns are driving scholars studying digital activism and hashtag feminism to reexamine the assumptions and normative practices undergirding Internet research (McKee & Porter, 2010; Blair & Nickoson, 2018). 

The Association of Internet Researchers has published interdisciplinary guidance for scholars doing research online for many years (Ess & AoIR, 2002; franzke et al., 2020; Markham & Buchanan, 2012), and some of this guidance has been taken up in rhetoric and composition (Trice & Potts, 2019; Buck & Ralston, 2021). However, many researchers still struggle with ethical decision-making processes when working with online data and texts. For example, some scholars remain unaware of ethical guidelines when they begin scraping Twitter posts and saving exchanges from their own Facebook groups for academic examination. Furthermore, AoIR guidance is influenced by a range of disciplines and can be overshadowed by social science and big data concerns despite the number of humanists doing this work. Perhaps most importantly, not all scholarship addressing Internet research ethics contemplates the additional risks involved for already marginalized populations when they enter online spaces.  

In order to interrogate the intersections of feminist rhetorics and Internet research ethics, contributors are invited to submit 500-word proposals articulating how their piece will contribute to this conversation. The published pieces should be between 2,000 and 5,000 words and might: 

  • Conceptualize feminist rhetorical research methods within institutional training and/or editorial practices

  • Narrate one’s research ethics experience and training

  • Apply a feminist rhetorical method to teaching Internet research methods

  • Complicate Internet research for how it impacts intersectional participant identities

  • Consider feminist rhetorical research methods within digital public writing

  • Theorize new approaches to feminist rhetorical online research ethics

  • Present an original study of digital writing incorporating feminist research methods

  • Reveal complications of feminist approachs to Internet research ethics 

  • Evaluate the benefits of a humanistic approach to ethically using networked data

  • Situate contemporary debates concerning Internet research practices within historical frameworks

Please send 500-word proposals, plus a bibliography and a 150-word biography, to mames@eiu.edu and kmcduff@illinois.edu by Sept. 30, 2022. Queries welcome. 


Sept 30 2022: 500-word Proposals Due

Oct 15 2022: Decisions to Authors

Jan 5 2023: Cluster Conversation Piece Due 

Jan 31 2023: Feedback & Request for Revision to Authors

Mar 15 2023: Revisions Due

Mar 31 2023: Any Additional Requests for Revision to Authors

Apr 30 2023: Final Revisions Due

June 2023: Publication in Spring 2023 Issue