Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing

Guest editors: Frankie Condon (University of Nebraska, Lincoln) and Vershawn Ashanti Young (University of Kentucky)

Despite widely circulated pronouncements of the death of racism in the U.S. following the election of President Barack Obama, politicians continue to appeal to race as a means of galvanizing their (predominantly white) bases, legislation across the States taps into deeply held racist beliefs and connects those beliefs with notions of citizenship and national identity, and efforts are underway nationwide to limit the ability of teachers and students to study the history of race and racism in the U.S. as well as the cultural and scholarly production of artists and intellectuals of color. Teachers of color, particularly those most expert and experienced in teaching English as a Second Language, and who speak and write World Englishes are being castigated in public and exiled from their classrooms. Indeed, racist logics and rhetorics are morphing rapidly such that explicit racism in public discourse is not only frequently overlooked but also rationalized and legitimated, and implicit (coded) racism continues unabated as what clinical psychologist Derald Sue Wing et al. term "racial microaggressions of everyday life" (largely unintentional racial insults and exclusions) or as what Tim Wise has termed "racism 2.0 or enlightened exceptionalism." (Young, Present Tense, v1 Issue 1, 2010)

The editors of this special issue of ATD perceive a pressing need to continue and deepen a critical dialogue about race matters, particularly as they pertain to the teaching of rhetoric and writing. To this end, we invite artists and teachers, intellectuals and scholars from two broad sites—disciplinary (e.g., critical pedagogy, English studies, gender studies, performance studies, writing center studies, writing in the disciplines, and teacher development, etc.) and public (writing groups, performance troupes, after school programs, literacy centers, etc)—where writing takes place to join us in keeping the dialogue alive.

We are particularly interested in essays that are richly informed by activist epistemologies, critical autoethnography, performance ethnography, models of anti-bias organizing, critical race theory, and theories of intersectionality (race, class, gender, sexuality). Subjects for articles submitted for consideration might include (but need not be limited to):


  • anti-racist, anti-phobic praxis in writing intensive multidisciplinary classrooms (particularly articles that explore the junctions and disjunctions of performance/enactment of theory/practice)
  • rich or thick descriptions of writing performances and course design, including teaching principles or teaching philosophies, learning goals, syllabi and assignments, student and/or participant engagement, writing, and feedback
  • rich or thick description of program design or revision including shifting explicit and implicit program missions, curricula design
  • cultivation or organizing of faculty engagement across disciplines and communities, and/or teacher or facilitator development
  • rich or thick description and critical analyses of multi-racial, multi-gender, cross-class, multigenerational collaborations, teaching partnerships, or organizing of writing events
  • rich or thick description of community action research informed by anti-racist, anti-phobic organizing models, leadership theories, activism and/or performance
  • critical or theoretically grounded narratives of teaching, learning, performing, researching and writing as raced, gendered, classed, sexualized subjects

We are also interested in co-authored essays that explore connections between the academy and community, across disciplines, and among those who occupy different institutional roles or positions (i.e. faculty and community agencies partnerships, faculty and graduate student writing partnerships, partnerships between colleagues across disciplines, multi-racial writing partnerships, and/or partnerships between engaged administrators and faculty or graduate students).

Since ATD is an online journal, authors are not limited to traditional essay formats, but may engage writing that includes images, video, and footage, or that otherwise performs the argument. Our hope is that this issue will principally inform and enrich anti-racist education through the teaching of rhetoric and writing.

Deadline for Submission of Manuscripts: September 1, 2011

Notification of Acceptance and Requests for Revision: by November 1, 2011

Final Manuscripts Due: December 15, 2011

Publication: Spring/Fall 2012

Proposal Format: Emailed queries regarding topics, research and theoretical bases, and the structure of proposed articles are welcome. Manuscript drafts submitted for consideration should follow APA documentation style, which is the standard for Across the Disciplines. Send your manuscript electronically (in MS Word format) to guest editors Frankie Condon and Vershawn Ashanti Young ( and the editor of ATD, Michael Pemberton ( Please be sure to include your full contact information. Submissions will be peer reviewed.