Notes: Matthew B. Cox and Michael J. Faris, “An Annotated Bibliography of LGBTQ Rhetorics”

Cox, Matthew B. & Michael J. Faris. (2015) An annotated bibliography of LGBTQ rhetorics. Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society 4(2).


Cox and Faris, building on previous bibliographical works within queer rhetorics and LGBTQ studies ( such as “Corey, Smith, and Nakayama’s; Rebecca Moore Howard’s; and Jonathan Alexander and Michael J. Faris’s.”), compile an annotated bibliography of queer rhetorics, with a topical guide for different sections. The authors constructed this bibliography not to rigidly define the field or compile the entirety of it, but they collected and annotated sources to create a tool for scholars and graduate students to navigate the ways that queer rhetorics has been taken up into different journals, in different disciplines within rhetoric and communication, and the ways queer rhetorics has been enacted thus far.

Keywords: bibliography, communication, composition, disciplinarity, disciplinary history, LGBTQ, queer, queer rhetorics, queer theory, rhetoric, writing studies

Sources and a Founding Reading List:

Alexander, Jonathan, and William P. Banks. “Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Overview.” Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing. Spec. issue of Computers and Composition 21.3 (2004): 273-293. Print.

Alexander, Jonathan, Janell Haynes, and Jacqueline Rhodes, eds. Public/Sex: Connecting Sexuality and Service Learning. Spec. issue of Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service-Learning 9.2 (2010). Print.

Alexander, Jonathan, and Elizabeth Losh. “‘A YouTube of One’s Own?’: ‘Coming Out’ Videos as Rhetorical Action.” LGBT Identity and New Online Media. Eds. Christopher Pullen and Margaret Cooper. New York: Routledge, 2010. 37-50. Print.

Banks, William P. “Written Through the Body: Disruptions and ‘Personal’ Writing.”The Personal in Academic Writing. Spec. issue of College English 66.1 (2003): 21-40. Print.

Banks, William P., and Jonathan Alexander. “Queer Eye for the Comp Program: Toward a Queer Critique of WPA Work.” The Writing Program Interrupted: Making Space for Critical Discourse. Eds. Donna Strickland and Jeanne Gunner. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2009. 86-98. Print.

Bennett, Jeffrey. “‘Born This Way’: Queer Vernacular and the Politics of Origins.”Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 11.3 (2014): 211-230. Print.

Carr, Allison. “In Support of Failure.” Composition Forum 27 (2013). Web.

Dean, Tim. “Bodies that Mutter: Rhetoric and Sexuality.” Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 15.1-2 (1994): 80-117. Print.

Fox, Catherine. “Reprosexuality, Queer Desire, and Critical Pedagogy: A Response to Hyoejin Yoon.” JAC 26.1-2 (2006): 244-53. Print.

Fox, Catherine Olive-Marie. “Toward a Queerly Classed Analysis of Shame: Attunement to Bodies in English Studies.” College English 76.4 (2014): 337-56. Print.

Gray, Mary L. “‘Queer Nation is Dead/Long Live Queer Nation’: The Politics and Poetics of Social Movement and Media Representation.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 26.3 (2009): 212-236. Print.

Goltz, Dustin Bradley. “It Gets Better: Queer Futures, Critical Frustrations, and Radical Potentials.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 30.2 (2013): 135-151. Print.

Hall, Donald E. “Cluelessness and the Queer Classroom.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 7.2 (2007): 182-91. Print.

Highberg, Nels P. “‘Because We Were Just Too Scared’: Rhetorical Constructions of Patient Zero.” Medical Humanities Review 18.1-2 (2004): 9-26. Print.

Kopelson, Karen. “Queering the Writing Program: Why Now? How? And Other Contentious Questions.” Writing Program Administration 37.1 (2013): 199-213.

Landau, Jamie. “Reproducing and Transgressing Masculinity: A Rhetorical Analysis of Women Interacting with Digital Photographs of Thomas Beatie.” Women’s Studies in Communication 35.2 (2012): 178-203. Print.

Libretti, Tim. “Sexual Outlaws and Class Struggle: Rethinking History and Class Consciousness from a Queer Perspective.” College English 67.2 (2004): 154-171. Print.

Mitchell, Danielle. “I Thought Composition Was about Commas and Quotes, Not Queers: Diversity and Campus Change at a Rural Two-Year College.” Composition Studies 36.2 (2008): 23-50. Print.

Monson, Connie, and Jacqueline Rhodes. “Risking Queer: Pedagogy, Performativity, and Desire in Writing Classrooms.” JAC 24.1 (2004): 79-91. Print.

Morris, Charles E., III, and K. J. Rawson. “Queer Archives/Archival Queers.”Theorizing Histories of Rhetoric. Ed. Michelle Ballif. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2013. 74-89. Print.

Morrison, Margaret. “Laughing with Queers in My Eyes: Proposing ‘Queer Rhetoric(s)’ and Introducing a Queer Issue.” Queer Rhetoric. Spec. issue of Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory 13.3-4 (1992): 11-36. Print.

Ouellette, Marc. “Come Out Playing: Computer Games and the Discursive Practices of Gender, Sex, and Sexuality.” Computer Games and Technical Communication: Critical Methods and Applications at the Intersection. Eds. Jennifer deWinter and Ryan M. Moeller. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014. 35-51. Print.

Rand, Erin J. “Queer Critical Rhetoric Bites Back.” Spec. issue of Western Journal of Communication 77.5 (2013): 533-7. Print.

Ramsby, Fiona Harris. “The Drama as Rhetorical Critique: Language, Bodies, and Power in Angels in America.” Rhetoric Review 33.4 (2014): 403-420. Print.

Rawson, K. J. “Accessing Transgender // Desiring Queer(er?) Archival Logics.”Archivaria 68 (2009): 123-140. Print.

Rawson, K. J. “Rhetorical History 2.0: Toward a Digital Transgender Archive.”Enculturation 16 (2013). Web.

Rawson, K. J. “Transgender Worldmaking in Cyberspace: Historical Activism on the Internet.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking 1.2 (2014): 38-60. Print.

Rhodes, Jacqueline, and Jonathan Alexander. “Experience, Embodiment, Excess: Multimedia [E]visceration and Installation Rhetoric.” The New Work of Composing. Eds. Deborah Journet, Cheryl Ball, and Ryan Trauman. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital P / Utah State UP. 2012. Web.

Sewell, John Ike. “‘Becoming Rather Than Being’: Queer’s Double-Edged Discourse as Deconstructive Practice.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 38.4 (2014): 291-307. Print.

Sloop, John M. Disciplining Gender: Rhetorics of Sex Identity in Contemporary US Culture. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2004. Print.

Spade, Dean, and Craig Wilse. “Sex, Gender, and War in an Age of Multicultural Imperialism.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Wordmaking 1.1 (2014): 5-29. Print.

Wallace, David L. Compelled to Write: Alternative Rhetoric in Theory and Practice. Logan: Utah State UP, 2011. Print.

Wallace, David L., and Jonathan Alexander. “Queer Rhetorical Agency: Questioning Narratives of Heteronormativity.” JAC 29.4 (2009): 793-819. Print.

West, Isaac. “Queer Generosities.” Spec. issue of Western Journal of Communication 77.5 (2013): 538-41. Print.

West, Isaac, Michaela Frischherz, Allison Panther, and Richard Brophy. “Queer Worldmaking in the ‘It Gets Better’ Campaign.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. 0.1 (2013): 49-86. Print.

Yep, Gust A., Karen E. Lovaas, and John P. Elia, eds. Queer Theory and Communication: From Disciplining Queers to Queering the Discipline(s). Binghamton, NY: Haworth, 2003. Print.

Young, Anna M., Andria Battaglia, and Dana L. Cloud. “(UN)Disciplining the Scholar Activist: Policing the Boundaries of Political Engagement.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 96.4 (2010): 427-35. Print.

Wight, Jules. “Saving Private Manning? On Erasure and the Queer in I Am Bradley Manning Campaign.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking 1.1 (2014): 118-129. Print.


“This bibliography, then, is motivated by a series of exigencies. First and foremost is visibility and accessibility of research and scholarship in LGBTQ rhetorics. As Charles E. Morris III and K. J. Rawson note, while queer scholarship in rhetorical studies has been quite visible over the last decade and queer theory has been quite influential across the humanities and social sciences, “rhetorical scholars have been much slower in responding to the ‘queer turn’” (74). This bibliography, we hope, can lend visibility to this body of work.”

“It should assist graduate students new to the field and researchers already far into their careers in understanding the rich history of sexuality studies and rhetorical studies, finding relevant scholarship, and developing exigencies in research that they can exploit for their own scholarship pursuits.”

“Graduate students are often encouraged to study heteronormative theory and, we might say, are trained to identify with it.”

“This bibliography might also be useful to scholars looking to publish in queer rhetorics to identify journals that have been particularly open or hospitable to certain queer approaches.”

“This investment in world-making has meant that many queer theorists embrace anti-normativity. It is important to note that anti-normativity here is not embraced simply for the sake of anti-normativity itself but because, as Lauren Berlant and Warner explain, normativity continues to value statistical mass (and thus heterosexuality) and cramps spaces of sexual culture (557).”

“Bibliographic work is in many ways disciplinary work, attending to and demarcating the boundaries of “what counts” as rhetorical, as related to sexuality, and as queer.”

“It is important to us to note that we see this bibliographic work as a kairotic space—a first for rhetoric studies in its comprehensive nature, but by no means a canonical text. We hope this bibliography is productive for scholars who hope to continue to challenge the field in terms of methods, methodologies, epistemologies, and modes of publishing—digital and print.”

Questions and Reflection:

In queer rhetorics, which often resists definition and the all too often conservative notions of disciplinarity that are focused on the reproduction of the field, are there ways in which we can sponsor engagement with queer rhetorics, mentorship, and ways of accessing or publishing queer rhetorics that would consciously and explicitly make visible the practices within queer rhetorics of demarcation as a field, especially for newcomers?

Notes: Don Unger, Fernando Sánchez “Locating Queer Rhetorics: Mapping as an Inventional Method.”

Unger, Don & Fernando Sánchez. (2015). Locating queer rhetorics: Mapping as an inventional method. Computers and Composition, 38, 96-112.


Unger and Sánchez present a mapping of queer rhetorics by looking at where, when, and by whom the work of queer rhetorics is being done. They map this cartography onto previous bibliographic work in queer rhetorics and previous attempts at this kind of mapping done in rhetoric and composition.

Keywords: composition, disciplinarity, geography, graphing, invention, mapping, methodology, queer, queer rhetorics, rhetoric, visual rhetoric, writing studies


Alexander, Jonathan & Faris, Michael J. (2010). Issue brief: Sexuality studies. 

Andrews, John. (2001). Meaning, knowledge, and power in the map philosophy of JB Harley. In Paul Laxton (Ed.), The new nature of maps: Essays in the history of cartography. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 1-32.


“[W]e deal with three factors that might help us understand why certain features carry over from one publication to the other. They are (1) where this work happens, (2) what it deals with, and (3) whose work gets recognized as queer rhetorics” (p. 98).

“In other words, queer rhetorics fosters an unquenchable thirst for social and self critique about the manifestations and exertions of power and (we would add) methods of resistance. On the other hand, queer rhetorics “disrupt[s] and reroute[s] the flows of power, particularly discursive power” (para. 3 of “Introduction”). Queer rhetorics moves beyond reading and seeks to do something, to disrupt, reroute, and even locate. However, we see one important difference between our ideas and Alexander and Rhodes’ definition. The authors distinguish between the rhetorical work aimed at fighting for “the same rights accorded to straights (such as marriage and open military service)” and the rhetorical work questioning “the regimes of normalization through which straights have certain rights and privileges in the first place” (para. 2 of “Introduction”). We do not believe that either work is mutually exclusive, and in fact, the two are inexorably bound by their rhetoricity, that is to say the fight for rights is implicitly a fight for broadening “even to the breaking point, what counts or passes as ‘normal”’ (para. 2 of “Introduction”). For us, approaching queer rhetorics as rhetorical practice means imagining our project as both a struggle for legitimation within the broader discipline of Rhetoric and Composition and a critique of how legitimation happens and whose voices and what places are deemed legitimate” (p. 100).

“This attention to place prompts us to characterize our approach as one of locating queer rhetorics. Our maps represent something decidedly different from a literature review because they start to reveal (but do not represent) the relationships undergirding this work. Visualizing the people and the work involved in publications and dissertations helps us begin to ask questions about the relationships that make such work possible and allows us to think of them as some of the infrastructural mechanisms that shape queer rhetorics as an area of inquiry. In reframing our approach in this way, our attempt to locate queer rhetorics is revealed as being too big. It’s too much for any map or combination of maps to address. One map, or even a series of maps, can’t possibly represent all the influences involved in all the publications and dissertations we include. However, only after making and reading these maps did we realize the enormity of the task we’d set out to accomplish. For us then, the act of locating relies on a recursive combination of these two tasks, making and reading maps. To address how these tasks overlap, we look at how some Rhetoric and Composition scholars employ mapping, and we begin this discussion by trying to limit what we mean by locating” (p. 102).

“In one sense, maps occupy the space between the representational and the real. In another sense, they challenge both concepts as ways of approaching locations. This in-betweenness speaks to the rhetoricity of maps and the spatial metaphors that emerge from them. Not only do they provide means for describing spaces, but they allow map makers, users, and discussions related to maps to do something in the world. Still, they do so by imposing limits on what gets represented. It falls on the map makers, then, to communicate the process of creating maps. Discussing mapping as a method for invention allows audiences to become active participants in the process of location” (p. 103-104).

Questions and Reflection:

What does this mean for queer rhetorics as a sort of emerging disciplinary identity, especially as a field that resists some of the conservative ideas that often go into the creation of, reproducibility of, and perhaps iterability of such an identity as identifiable? What does this mean for the types of mentorship available for such a field? How can we trace this onto who we let into the field? Where are the boundaries for the work of queer rhetorics and how might these boundaries push against existing notions of disciplinarity within rhetoric and composition, but, also, how might the boundaries of queer rhetorics specifically get taken up into other fields of rhetoric and composition, like TPC?

Notes: Jonathan Alexander and Jacqueline Rhodes, “Flattening Effects: Composition’s Multicultural Imperative and the Problem of Narrative Coherence”

Alexander, Jonathan & Jacqueline Rhodes. (2014). Flattening effects: Composition’s multicultural imperative and the problem of narrative coherence. College Composition and Communication, 65(3), 430-454.


Alexander and Rhodes trouble, indeed, queer the problematic ways in which multiculturalism has often been taken up in composition studies and analyzing trope prompts used to address multiculturalism. To avoid what they call a “flattening effect”, they offer insights into assignments and a writing classroom that keeps identity separate from the identifiable and that does not rely on narrative cohesion, but celebrates the unknown.

Keywords: composition, critical pedagogy, cultural rhetorics, multiculturalism, pedagogy, queer, queer rhetorics, queer theory, writing studies


Alexander, Jonathan, & Jacqueline Rhodes. (2011). Queer: An impossible subject for composition. JAC, 31(1–2), 177–206.

Banks, William P. (2005). The values of queer jacketing: What happens when student writers go gay? MEAT Journal, 1(2).


“Inclusive narratives of queerness used in many composition courses engage simultaneously in a flattening effect and a flattening of affect—that is, they elide engagement with material differences in the queer experience of the world, both socially and somatically. The queer body, narratively composed, becomes critically flattened in the process…Ultimately, we want to move beyond, perhaps even leave behind, the multicultural imperative to “include” queerness as another “difference” in the composition curriculum (as well as in the profession) and explore instead how queerness in its excessive modes—the ways queerness can exceed normalizing categories of identity, even lesbian and gay identity—poses a unique and significant challenge to literacy” (p. 431-432).

“We argue that this flattening effect arises out of the unexamined assumption that “understanding” and then “tolerance” or even “respect” are predicated on “identity.” By identity, we mean not just the acknowledgment that other identities exist, but that those identities are, in essence, somehow identical to (or identifiable with) your own” (p. 438).

“A simple way to begin might be by having students not write about what they believe they “know” about one another, but what they suspect they do not know” (p. 445).

“Writing classrooms that encourage irresolution in the face of difficult texts, that celebrate the ongoing questioning that should be at the heart of critical pedagogy—such classrooms challenge what Anzaldúa calls the ‘killing’ ignorance of dominant white culture” (p. 448-449).


How can troubling the flattening effects create embodied realities for writers? Is there a way to develop through this a lens by which writers come up against not only the limitations of their systems of knowing but the consequences of their experience of it?