Creating Epistemic and Community Coalitions


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A Two-Part Webinar Series from the Coalition for Community Writing
w/ Iris D. Ruiz and Brian Hendrickson
August 3 and 5, 2020


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A Two-Part Webinar Series from the Coalition for Community Writing
w/ Iris D. Ruiz and Brian Hendrickson

When studying and supporting campus-community coalition building, our choice of theory and method matters–especially when our work aims to center the learning, languaging, and life-making of BIPOC students and community members. How might we (re)frame our community-engaged work with community-based epistemologies? How might modern Western epistemologies complement or contradict our efforts at interrogating and transforming systemic epistemic injustice? How should our own racial, linguistic, and institutional identities inform our answers to these questions?

This two-part webinar series invites participants to join an ongoing conversation between two scholars in rhetoric and composition who have taken up these questions in their own work and in collaboration with one another, particularly around the potentially separate and combined utilities of decolonial theory, critical race theory, poststructuralism, activity theory, and actor-network theory as they relate to interrogating and transforming modern Western systems of racist colonial oppression as manifested on campus, in the community, and in digital spaces.

The first two-hour session will provide an introduction to this conversation and prompt participants to reflect individually and in groups on developing their own decolonial and antiracist epistemic frameworks for critically examining, overcoming challenges, and cultivating knowledge-making opportunities in campus-community coalition building projects.

The second two-hour session will model how such frameworks can be applied in practice, with a continued exploration of the questions and possibilities that arise, with participants moving beyond reflection to apply particular decolonial and antiracist frameworks in the design of community-engaged research, teaching, and coalition building projects.

The Facilitators

Iris D. Ruiz is a Continuing Lecturer for the UC Merced Merritt Writing Program and a Lecturer with the Sonoma State University Chicano/Latino Studies Program. Her current publications are her monograph, Reclaiming Composition for Chicano/as and other Ethnic Minorities: A Critical History and Pedagogy, and a co-edited collection, Decolonizing Rhetoric and Composition Studies: New Latinx Keywords for Theory and Pedagogy, in which she also contributed a chapter on the keyword “Race.” She’s also written several articles and chapters for edited collections. Her 2017 coauthored article deals with race and WPA history, and was published in the CWPA Journal and received the 2019 Kenneth Bruffee award. This work is also currently contracted with Parlor Press for a forthcoming book.

Her most current work centers upon decolonizing curricula, academic space, public space, and disciplinarity. She is currently writing about decolonizing writing conventions by delving into a Nepantla space. Lastly, she has recently launched a podcast, which is a collaboration between Spark Writing and Working for Change Series and scholars in Rhetoric and Writing in an effort to create resilient strategies.

Brian Hendrickson is Assistant Professor of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. His work explores frameworks for interrogating and transforming racist structures across and beyond the curriculum. Most recently, Brian has been collaborating with a team of students, faculty, administrators, and Indigenous community leaders to launch “Wutche Wame,” a Living Culture Collaborative connecting Roger Williams University to the community through a commitment to centering Rhode Island’s unique Indigenous history and living culture as part of a broader cultural equity agenda.


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