This was my fifth CCCC conference, but it was a unique year. Even before the conference was held, the site of the meeting was highly contested due to the Travel Advisory for the State of Missouri put out by the NAACP-- the first ever of its kind. Despite the travel risks and concerns for many who would be traveling to the conference, the decision was made for the conference to be held in KC. With that foregrounding, there were a lot of conversations and expectations for this conference even before arriving. While the Program Chair, Asao Inoue, and the local arrangements committee did seem to put forth an effort to acknowledge these realities by having local activists come to speak and organizing a "cultural event" in the Marriott ballroom, the entire conference felt like it missed the mark on the kind of acknowledgement of social realities and activist work that it claims to do.
One effort that I was a part of was the NCTE CCCC Social Justice Task Force donation table for local organizations, spearheaded by my friend Casie Moreland. There were four of us on this particular extension of the task force, and we spent many days meeting over Skype and planning for the table prior to Cs, and then we helped staff the donation table throughout three of the four days at the conference. We were set up in the Action Hub of the conference, and we met and interacted with a lot of people walking by and at the tables around us. We raised money on laptops at the table for these six organizations:
- AdHoc Group Against Crime
- Black Archives of Mid-America
- Black Lives Matter Nat'l Organization
- Center for American Indian Community Health
- Literacy KC
- One Struggle KC
I enjoyed working on this task force, and one of the highlights of the conference was hearing some of the activists from these organizations speak. On Thursday afternoon there was an All-Convention Event held in the Kansas City Convention Center, where three community leaders spoke to the attendees. We heard from Gillian Helm, the Executive Director of Literacy KC, Alvin Brooks, the founder of the AdHoc Group Against Crime, and Glenn North, the Director of Education and Community at the Black Archives of Mid-America. Mr. North recited his poem "Lynch Family Blues." It was poignant, heartbreaking, and beautiful. Tears rolled down my cheeks. This was the kind of thing we needed to be hearing and discussing.
I did enjoy my time at other parts of the conference as well. I stayed in the conference hotel this time, which allowed for easy access to panels and other events. I got to see a lot of wonderful friends from Arizona State and other schools, and I attended some really engaging panels. I attended a panel on Friday morning called "Feminist Rhetorics and Digital Humanities: Challenges and Opportunities." At this panel, I heard both Jaqueline Jones Royster and Gesa Kirsch, the authors of the book Feminist Rhetorical Practices, speak about their current projects and research. I based the majority of theoretical discussion in my dissertation on this book, so it is always really neat to see them in person and hear their ideas. I also attended panels on food literacies and food justice.
I presented my own work based on my dissertation. This presentation was called "Student Language and Identity Pathways: Genre Choice in a Feminist Writing Classroom." I presented this as a poster presentation on Thursday, March 15th. I had several people stop by and ask me about my poster and dissertation work, and I got to chat with other women who were presenting posters near me. I presented a poster once before at Cs, and I enjoyed presenting my dissertation data visually in this format again. Here are some photos from my poster presentation:
|Friends "reading" my poster
|My session in the program
|My poster board setup
I attended Cs over my spring break, but now I am back home and back in the classroom. I've enjoyed getting to know my students this semester, both in Technical Reporting and English 2. I think my students are enjoying their semester as well, as even my 7:00AM class voted to meet when I told them they could have the day off! My in-person Writing Center tutoring has also been going very well. I met with a student yesterday who pushed back on some language I was suggesting in a personal narrative, and I loved our discussion that followed about how we represent ourselves in written work and how our writing needs to feel true to our experience.
International Women's Day was on the 8th of this month, and I celebrated by expressing gratitude and appreciation to the women in my life, as well as by getting a cupcake at a local bakery co-owned by a woman. But, let's be real, I'll take any excuse to eat a cupcake! I posted this quote on my Instagram that day, as it is one of my very favorite quotes. Time with my wonderful academic community of women at the conference also reminded me how essential the support of women is in my life!