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ERIC Number: EJ1120720
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1534-9322
Shifting the Talk: Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Feminism at HBCUs
Spencer-Maor, Faye; Randolph, Robert E., Jr.
Composition Studies, v44 n2 p179-182 Fall 2016
This article begins by asking readers to make a modest supposition: HBCUs are, perhaps, one of the last frontiers for sustained feminist praxis-administratively and pedagogically. The authors write that they struggle with the situation, and find it both lamentable and paradoxical, since many HBCUs were originally founded and/or administered by feminist fore mothers (Spencer-Maor, "Lifting"; Spencer-Maor, "Reclaiming"). In "Feminist Rhetorical Practices: New Horizons for Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies", Jacqueline Jones Royster and Gesa E. Kirsch argue that the field of feminism and rhetoric needs to expand beyond traditional places of feminist work and concerns. Royster and Kirsch suggest it is time for "tectonic shifts" in the discipline that will broaden and explain the scope and influence of work in feminist rhetoric. As practitioners in rhetoric and composition and English studies who have chosen careers in the context and culture of HBCUs, Spencer-Maor, and Randolph argue here that they indeed recognize that the links between faculty, theories, practices, and research are often disjointed or even nonexistent at these institutions. They also agree with popular opinions that historic racial, social, and economic conditions from which these institutions emerged have led to hegemonic ideas, pedagogies, and research, and that HBCU English departments, generally remain places where the same old things are taught the same old ways by the same old people. Spencer-Maor, and Randolph explain that while it is generally true that HBCUs do more literacy work than many of their peer institutions, their faculty often have little expertise in writing theories or pedagogies and often rely on the old composition adage of "drill and kill," which focuses too heavily on grammatical errors and mechanics at the expense of coherence and content. They go on to point out that there are many reasons why HBCU faculty seem to equate "good writing" with "correct writing" and examine two of them here in detail.
University of Cincinnati. Department of English, P.O. Box 210069, Cincinnati, OH 45221. Tel: 513-556-6519; Fax: 513-556-5960; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A