As a scholar whose writings have had a profound impact on the studies of both rhetoric and queer theory, Gloria Anzaldúa’s work continues to encourage us to forge connections across difference and oppression in order to dismantle systems of privilege, whether that be heterosexism, heteronormativity, racism, sexism, or ableism (as a non-exhaustive list). In Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Anzaldúa shows us that the act of composition cannot be divorced from our identities:
Looking inside myself and my experience, looking at my conflicts, engenders anxiety in me. Being a writer feels very much like being a Chicana, or being queer – a lot of squirming, coming up against all sorts of walls..... That’s what writing is for me, an endless cycle of making it worse, making it better, but always making meaning out of the experience, whatever it may be. (94-95)
In the legacy of her work as a writer, Anzaldúa reminds us that we have a duty to strike out oppression, build alliances, and fundamentally transform cultures. She underscores that we may achieve these goals through the act of writing.
In this spirit, the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) sponsors the Gloria Anzaldúa Rhetorician Award to support scholars whose work participates in the making of meaning out of sexual and gender minority experiences. Applicants must be accepted to the CCCC Annual Convention program and should currently be enrolled in graduate school or be first time presenters at the Convention. All candidates should show potential as scholars of rhetoric and composition. We encourage sexual and gender minority applicants, who may (or may not) identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, or pansexual (LGBTQ2QIAAP), though applicants who do not see themselves reflected in these categories are also encouraged to apply.
The work of a successful candidate should fulfill some of the following criteria:
- Interrogate the intersections between composition/rhetoric research and queer theory.
- Contribute to the discourses between sexuality/gender identification and writing research, pedagogy, and/or theory.
- Address issues of social justice, writing, and sexual/gender identification.
- Forge new conversations in composition/rhetoric and queer meaning-making.
Recipients of the Gloria Anzaldúa Graduate Rhetorician Travel Award, up to three, will receive $750 for travel-related expenses to present their work at the CCCC Convention and a one-year membership in CCCC/NCTE. To honor the recipients, CCCC will also host a reception during the CCCC Annual Convention. The Awards Selection Committee will choose up to three winners based on the following criteria: originality of research; critical engagement with and contribution to current scholarship in queer studies and rhetoric/composition; and potential for lasting projects. Application packets must be submitted by October 10, 2014, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be notified in December.
To apply, interested graduate scholars or first time presenters accepted to the CCCC Annual Convention program must submit:
- A copy of their accepted proposal (NOT the acceptance letter).
- An expanded 3-5 page abstract.
- A brief one-page statement of interest identifying the applicant's research interests, articulating plans for a career in rhetoric and composition, and including a statement of eligibility for the award.
Gloria Anzaldúa Rhetorician Award Winners
Kendall Gerdes, The University of Texas at Austin
Jessica Mason McFadden, Western Illinois University, Macomb
Neil Simpkins, University of Wisconsin-Madison