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College English, Vol. 80, No. 3, January 2018

Cover Art for College English, Vol. 80, No. 3, January 2018

Table of Contents

  • Mothers Against Gun Violence and the Activist Buffer [FREE ACCESS]

    Abby M. Dubisar

    Abstract: This article uses a case study of Mothers Against Gun Violence(MAGV) in Syracuse, New York, to analyze “buffer rhetorics"— embodied positions committed to responding to violence and adapted to audiences. Use of these rhetorics is a networked activist tactic that enables individuals to be spokespeople, yet also unifies communities to express love and support for one another, often facilitating public mourning and grief, a stance that ranges from presence to direct action, mediated online as well as in person. Studying MAGV, through visual and textual discourses, works toward preventing African American mothers' perspectives from becoming unnoticed and unrecognized, showcasing how these mother-activists strategically craft and adapt buffer rhetorics.

    Keywords: American women's rhetoric, antiviolence, maternal activism

  • Composing Crisis: Hardship Letters and the Political Economies of Genre

    Crystal Broch Colombini

    Abstract: Juxtaposing two conversations in writing studies—that which studies how genres mediate public activities and that which theorizes composition’s relation to political economy—this article develops the notion of a political economy of genre. Amid a widespread crisis, the need for financially struggling citizens to produce effective hardship discourse triggered significant public participation: citizens both composed within the genre and published what has been called meta-genre to compose the genre itself. Yet while hardship letters embodied practices that promote rhetorical possibility and create agency, they were also used to maintain institutional power dynamics and enforce negative subjectivities. Tracing the political economies of the hardship letter, this study fosters new understandings of writing and rhetorical agency at this neoliberal moment.

    Keywords: genre, hardship writing, Political economy

  • In Lak’ech, The Chicano Clap, and Fear: A Partial Rhetorical Autopsy of Tucson’s Now-Illegal Ethnic Studies Classes

    Kim Hensley Owens

    Abstract: This article investigates the rhetorical effects of pedagogical choices in the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program in Tucson, Arizona. MAS embraced cultural and linguistic border spaces to invent new rhetorical traditions, which led both to successful outcomes for Latin@ students and also to the program’s demise. The article draws on interviews with former MAS teachers and students to describe MAS and its subsequent removal; to trace the rhetorical effects and evolution of various opening rituals many MAS classes used, such as reciting In Lak’ech and doing the Chicano clap; and to elucidate the consequences of this work for schools and communities.

    Keywords: Cultural Studies, Curriculum Reform, identity, Latin@/Latinx studies, Mexican American studies

  • Ecologies of Cancer Rhetoric: The Shifting Terrain of US Cancer Wars, 1920–1980

    Lois Agnew

    Abstract: The ubiquity of the war metaphor in public discussions of cancer merits careful attention. Metaphors constitute perceptions, attitudes, and decisions pertaining to health, and they are also materially imbricated in a diverse network of human and nonhuman actors. This article draws from a range of archival materials in order to understand the complex ecological interactions that affect the use of war metaphors in discussions of cancer across decades of the twentieth century in the United States. A rhetorical analysis of these materials reveals that war metaphors consistently reflect cultural anxieties and a desire to order and control the disease, even as they respond to changing scientific developments and material conditions.

    Keywords: cancer, metaphor, rhetoric of health and medicine

  • REVIEW: In Defense of Unruliness: Five Books on Reading [FREE ACCESS]

    Kelly Blewett

    Abstract: One of the themes that emerges from the recently published collection of essays Deep Reading (NCTE 2017) is that it is important to acknowledge the complexity of reading—the social, emotional, cognitive, material, personal, and public aspects of reading. In the second part of the review, the author briefly introduces four books published outside of composition studies that explore these dimensions of reading. 

    Keywords: book review, Professional Development, Reading, Reading Instruction

  • Announcements and Calls for Papers [FREE ACCESS]

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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