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2015 January College English, v77.3

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Level(s): College

ISBN/ISSN: 0010-0994


College English
Volume 77, Number 3, January 2015

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From the Editor
Kelly Ritter

“Between the Eyes”: The Racialized Gaze as Design
Sue Hum
Abstract: Given the ubiquity of images and, implicitly, the habits of looking that influence the production of those images for both representation and communication, English studies requires a theory of Design that better accounts for dominant perceptual habits that function both to constrain acts of choice making and to restrict the repertoire of available resources. This article contributes to that agenda by focusing on one perceptual habit: the racialized gaze, a dominant cultural habit for perceiving race-related visual phenomena. Employing a fascinating take on the political cartoons of the nineteenth-century artist Thomas Nast as “racialized design,” Hum uses this work to complicate the idea of both design and gaze for students and teachers of visual rhetoric today. Specifically, she argues, among other points, that “the racialized gaze as Design provides a valuable theoretical framework for visual rhetoric, exegesis, and cultural analysis by directing our attention to how designers may unwittingly sustain practices of racialization and perpetuate racially based sociocultural exclusions”

Expanding Working-Class Rhetorical Traditions: The Moonlight Schools and Alternative Solidarities among Appalachian Women, 1911 to 1920
Jane Greer
Abstract: This essay urges scholars and teachers interested in the rhetorical agency of economically disenfranchised groups to expand their field of vision beyond the organized labor movement. The author discusses the Moonlight Schools, founded in Kentucky in 1911 by Cora Wilson Stewart, as a site for investigating alternative forms of solidarity. More particularly, she argues that Appalachian women used the literacy skills they developed under Stewart’s tutelage to support their own long-standing practices of neighborliness. By thus looking beyond strikes, walkouts, and other dramatic rhetorical moments from the labor movement, this essay hopes to begin building a more nuanced understanding of how people with limited economic resources gain purchase in the world through words.

(Re)Writing Local Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Histories: Negotiating Shared Meaning in Public Rhetoric Partnerships
Laurie Grobman
Abstract: This article describes a series of community-based research projects, (Re)Writing Local Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Histories, done in partnership with the local African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Jewish communities. The author argues that these projects are one substantive response to the ongoing, growing demand that English studies teacher-scholars and students participate in purposeful, impactful public work. These projects position students as rhetorical citizen historians who produce original historical and rhetorical knowledge and promote democracy through conscious, deliberate rhetorical historical work. But these partnerships also raise complex issues of unequal, fluid, and shifting discourses among community partners, students, and faculty and, consequently, inform ways to enact publicly shared meaning in community literacy partnerships.

Review: Reproductive (In)Capacities: New Perspectives on Pregnancy, Maternity, Sexual Autonomy, and Gender
Heather Brook Adams
Abstract: The four titles that Adams discusses include scholarship from women's and gender studies, communication, and media studies, highlighting how the titles generate productive questions using those fields’ intersections with English studies’ own borders and emerging conversations and also allows that productive reimagining of a topic, both through its relationship with rhetoric and through an analytical melding of the familiar with the new. Adams’s review brings into focus how in representations and theories of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, “power articulates to reproductive capacities through rhetorics of risk, responsibility, fitness, and choice” (pp. 275–276) She argues that these four titles provide “numerous examples of how these terms rhetorically shape understandings of our own biology, perceptions of possibility and impossibility related to sexuality, and the ability to recognize how notions of autonomy might be enmeshed within larger contexts and systems beyond our direct control” (276).

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