Notes: Renee Moreno, “The Politics of Location”

Moreno, Renee M. “”The politics of location”: Text as opposition.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 54, 2002.23574889382_0ae23acd76_o

Keywords: Composition, Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Race Theory, Minority Rhetorics, Writing Studies


“In a university, is the project of literacy (reading and writing) a tool for control and colonization, considering here that literacy in institutional settings is also used to socialize students to the uses of language and discourses in educational institutions? By reclaiming native language” (223).

“By telling history as stories, I assert that Galeano reimagines how identities are linked. This point is important in educational institutions—to rewrite the histories of linkage and connection and to describe how these play out in schools, despite efforts to keep people separated. I am especially interested in how, as bicultural subjects, students might begin to use textual locations to define and shape resistance, to define themselves collectively, and to unmask power when it is operating in the classroom and in pedagogy” (225).

“I wonder, is it so hard to imagine (and perhaps even to permit) “basic” writers to write, to read, and to imagine themselves through their texts? This is my starting point, to examine the context of writing within an academic setting, to examine how writers respond, and to contextualize my argument with histories” (225).

“I was interested in providing them with a safe space (however institutionalized) in which to explore the topics of race and ethnicity and to experiment with language, and I wanted to create an “oppositional” space within this traditional institution” (226).

“I have always told students that we all have stories to tell, something to say, that the classroom is a place where we listen to these stories, where we begin to co-construct knowledge and meaning” (228).

“Today, however, educational institutions are less and less interested in the needs of underrepresented students and the places from which these students come. As the institution is getting less attentive to the needs of the most vulnerable students (one effect of whittling away at the gains of affirmative action) and as services are being downsized, there is still a need to direct classroom practice to attend to the needs of these students” (235).

“For me, the most important call to action is to think about those students who are occupying our classrooms and to see classrooms as a hopeful space of transformation, as a location that might get us closer to developing those new intellectual frameworks to which Hayes-Bautista calls attention” (237).

Notes: Jill Eichhorn et al., “A Symposium on Feminist Experiences in the Composition Classroom”

Eichhorn, Jill, et al. “A Symposium on Feminist Experiences in the Composition Classroom.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 43, National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, Ill, 1992.


Keywords: Feminism, Feminist Rhetorics, Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy, Safe


“As we explore the ways we have been named, inscribed, objectified, exoticized, silenced, and coopted by male-dominated discourses, we simaltaneously engage in the articulation, negotiation, and collective re-vision of our gendered, ravial and class locations” (298).

“One difference we explore, among a multiplicity of differences, is that feminist graduate students and faculty who teach composition we do not experience the same level of authority in the classroom as white male, middle-to-upper-class graduate students and faculty” (298).

“Taking up a feminist politics of location in the classroom, as Adrienne Rich observed, means taking differences seriously. It also means taking the responsibility to construct critical classroom spaces ‘where [we and our] students can come to see ambivalence and differences not as obstacles, but as the very richness of meaning-making and the hope of whatever justice we might work toward” (299).

“As feminist teachers of writing we want to question those pedagogical models which privilege only an atmosphere of safety or a completely maternal climate” (299).

“How can we teach for radical change if we don’t challenge our students’ androcentric readings of literary texts or their classist, sexist, racist, and homophobic discourses as they arise in journals, essays and class discussion?” (300).

“Can there truly be ‘safe space,’ in or out of the classroom? Should there be? Is there in our desire for a safe space also a refusal to recognize that our different locations—as men or women, as Anglos or people of color, as faculty or graduate students—are and have always been unequal?” (300).

Notes: Catherine Fox, “Toward a Queerly Classed Analysis of Shame: Attunement to Bodies in English Studies”

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



Fox extends the conversation offered by Yoon, analyzing the discourse of critical pedagogy through a queer/class conscious frame.

Keywords: Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy, 


Monson, Connie, and Jacqueline Rhodes. “Risking Queer: Pedagogy, Performativity, and Desire in Writing Classrooms.” JAC 24 (2004): 79-91.

Yoon, Hyoejin. “Affecting the Transformative Intellectual: Questioning ‘Noble’ Sentiments in Critical Pedagogy and Composition.” JAC 25 (2005): 711-47.


“I would like to suggest the seductive force of affective dimensions of critical pedagogy discourse comes about partly through their hidden nature and partly the heteronormative frame through which they are deployed-a frame that centers on reproduction and generational transmission” (245).

“Within a heteronormative desiring framework, our work as critical pedagogues is made meaningful through “a narrative of generational succession,” of passing on our identities, values, and morality to the next generation, thereby reproducing the transformative intellectual” (245).

“Far from undermining the violence of normalization, critical pedagogy discourse deploys pleasurable possibilities of reproducing the terror of a whitely, masculinist ethos framed around “hard” inflexible emotions and arrogant righteousness” (246).

“Nonnormative subjects who “trouble” these ideals at the heart of critical pedagogy discourse are often perceived as threats that must be silenced and shamed. I would like to suggest, in concert with Yoon, however, that such conflicts can be “inhabited, written into, written about” differently” (248).

“Disidentification problematizes identity/identification and requires a contradictory stance toward critical pedagogy-leading to neither easy “consumption” nor rejection but instead to a field of force that is productive. Such a stance requires that we interrogate how citizenship, democracy, and nation-building have been encoded around cultural norms of race, sexuality, and gender” (249).

“As we assume collective responsibility for nonviolent modes of discourse, she insists that we remain desirous of change even as we surrender ourselves to the unknowable. It is our task to respond, imaginatively and compassionately” (252).

Critical Role!

Clbg8w8WIAAfdZC (1)

I’m hunkering down for the night to prepare to watch Critical Role. It’s by far my favorite show: it’s an incredible show, with rich stories, fascinating characters, and a thriving community of fans—we are the Critters.

The cast of Critical Role (In the image above, Top Row: Matthew Mercer, Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Ashley Johnson, and Travis Willingham. Bottom Row: Sam Riegel, Taliesin Jaffe, and Marisha Ray) has maintained an active commitment to activism and encouraged their fandom to participate by spotlighting charities as a whole show and as individuals.

They began last week’s show with a message about the deadly shooting in Orlando in the early hours of June 12th. Mercer’s words and the gesture the rest of the cast made before the start of the show were moving and was a reminder as to why I’m so proud to be a Critter.

As I’m sitting here waiting—well it’s more like pacing after the cliffhanger they left us with last week—I’ve been thinking about why this was so touching a gesture to me. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ways that media platforms impact the way that queer narratives are told—and to keep that short, that the end result is often Queerbaiting, a practice which creates homoerotic tensions between two characters without ever intending to realize a relationship between them (Brennan, 2016). Queerness is often silenced and relegated to the subtext of narratives.

When Liam O’Brien “outed” Vax as bisexual (who is a badass, and good luck tonight ❤ ), when Grog and Scanlan had a playful moment that was made canon, and every moment when Vax and everyone’s favorite character Gilmore (please, please, please don’t be dead…) meet, the cast has brought characters’ sexualities forward both thoughtfully and playfully in the creation of well-rounded characters.

In the beginning moments of last week’s episode, Matthew Mercer and the rest of the cast of Critical Role made a thoughtful gesture acknowledging that they felt the pain of the tragedy in Orlando, but that they stood with the families affected and the community the attack was targeted against. It was another moment where this show refused to allow queer voices, LGBTQ people to be silenced or left behind.

So, as a queer critter, thank you.

Now… let’s see what happens!!!!!!!!!

But seriously, please don’t let Gilmore be dead



Brennan, Joseph (2016). Queerbaiting: The ‘playful’ possibilities of homoeroticism. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 1-18

Notes: Jacqueline Rhodes and Jonathan Alexander, “Mobilities” in Techne: Queer Meditations on

Rhodes, Jacqueline, and Jonathan Alexander. “Genealogies.” In Techne: Queer Meditations on Writing the Self. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2015. Web.



Rhodes and Alexander discuss techne in terms of an queer embodied self and the rhetorical canons of memory and delivery.

Keywords: Queer, Queer Rhetorics, Multimodality, Technology, New Media, Ecology, Embodiment


Brooke, Collin Gifford. Lingua Fracta: Toward a Rhetoric of New Media. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton, 2009. Print.

McCorkle, Ben. Rhetorical Delivery as Technological Discourse: A Cross-Historical Study. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2012. Print.

Porter, James E. “Recovering Delivery for Digital Rhetoric.” Computers and Composition 26.4 (2009): 207–24. Print.


“Porter’s theoretical framework for digital delivery consists of five components: body/identity, distribution/circulation, access/accessibility, interaction, and economics… Such synergistic tension opens up spaces to act, write, and perform embodied rhetorical action” (mob2).

“[H]e notes that our modern, commonsense understanding of “delivery” sees it as a transitive process, something that always happens with a delivered, discrete object (“delivering a pizza,” for example); he argues that “we need to think in terms of an intransitive, constitutive performance, rather than transitive or transactional delivery, when it comes to new media” (170–71)” (mob3).

“In this chapter, we juxtapose—mash up and remix—delivery and memory with orientation in the service of productive play. Such play lets us develop and explore a critical consciousness that becomes aware of the orientations that shape memory and subjectivity as well as the potentiality to reorient them, even if through disorientation. As a techne, our call for such dis/orientation emerges from and extends a long line of queer aesthetic practice” (mob4a).

“What draws us queerly to such work is its often embodied delivery (and memory), its working through the body—wandering, following instincts, tracing desires, reacting in the flesh, coupling strangely and unexpectedly and even grotesquely—as well as its questioning of normative modes of production (wander!) and its orientation to potentialities as opposed to (heteronormative) reproduction” (mob4a).

“What we have been proposing through this work is a reorientation of memory and delivery that serves as a multimodal techne of self. Such a technerelies on the constant re/negotiation of memory and ecologies of delivery, of allowing for but also stumbling upon embodied encounters with what we think we know and what’s coming at us” (mob5b).

“Graffiti is often itself an act of dis/orientation. Some of it just tags the environment, designed to mark a space as owned in a subterranean geography. But much of it disrupts the nearly seamless flow of corporate colonization of public spaces. We think, for instance, of Banksy or Keith Haring, whose work posed material interruptions of spatial narratives that otherwise kept us moving along—nothing to see here, get back to work, go shopping. “Live Here, Work Here, Play Here.” Graffiti can dis/orient the spatial spectacles of our everyday lives, tactically turning attention to cracks in the narrative, contradictions and incommensurabilities in the paved-over stories we otherwise tell ourselves to get through the day” (mob6).

“Graffiti offers an ephemerality of consequence. It is a public techne of reorientation. It is the trace of others’ engagement with the world, with an attempt to leave a mark, to make an impression, to divert, to disrupt, to affect, to make our collective landscapes affective, to tell another story. It reminds us that someone or some people were here. It is memory and delivery. And, in its often unknown authorship, it performs a rhizomatic scattering of the self, an ecology of subjectivity that narrates otherwise, that draws attention to its difference from everything else around it” (mob6a).

Notes: Jacqueline Rhodes & Jonathan Alexander, “Genealogies.” In Techne: Queer Meditations on Writing the Self

Rhodes, Jacqueline, and Jonathan Alexander. “Genealogies.” In Techne: Queer Meditations on Writing the Self. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2015. Web.



Alexander traces a queer-self-genealogy, exploring his own relationships with his family (particularly his uncle) to discuss how his queerness became thinkable to him.

Keywords: Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Genealogy, Archive, Expirimental Writing, Multimodality, Composition, Writing Studies


Eribon, Didier. Returning to Reims. Trans. Michael Lucey. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), and Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 2013.

Love, Heather. Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2007.


“It was such a thoughtful recognition of my past relationship with my uncle. Another part of me, though, felt that this handing off to me of his deathbook and photos was a simultaneous acknowledgment and disavowal of our shared queerness. The identity was recognized, but the gift also seemed to say, “This is your thing. It really belongs to you, not us.” Perhaps the fact that only one—only one—of my cousins asked me about Mack, my husband and partner of seventeen years, prompted me to feel that my queerness, along with Glen’s, was being both evoked and dismissed at the same time” (gene1).

“For while I may have strayed from both my immediate and extended families in many ways, the gifting of Glen’s memorabilia to me makes visible, if fleetingly, alternative genealogies, different trajectories of affiliation, divergent paths of relational contact and influence—paths that even my family, so clearly ill at ease with queerness, could acknowledge” (gene2).

“A history might record events, but a genealogy asks that we consider why those events, recorded in that order, as opposed to other events, other orders” (gene6a).

“[S]uch leaving is never a complete rejection of our origins, the fixed genealogies that we might want to leave behind. We might try to suppress them, but they can never be fully forgotten” (gene6e).

“I would always live in tension with the contradictions of this inheritance: my queerness taking me out of my family, but my periodic return to blood relations to enjoy their company; my delight in classical music and literature and my appreciation of rough-trade tough boys; my choice to live and work in urban areas and my love of down-home, deep-fried, slow-cooked country food. I’ve called these contradictions. But they are only so in this timeline, not out of historical necessity. If anything, I’m living these contradictions. And my return “home,” while also carrying my “home” with me, is the delicious, vexed, incommensurable meeting of contradictions: the handing to me of photographs that might want to disavow a queer genealogy but nonetheless cannot help but acknowledge it” (gene6e).

“For me, creative and experimental writing has been a way to trace the genealogical contours that, as Foucault points out, do not constitute the “gradual curve” of an evolution but rather the “different scenes” and “instances” through which we can not only critique the dominant view but also open up possibilities for orienting ourselves in other directions” (gene7).

“The contradictions are valuable. They speak to deliberateness, to chosen relations, not just to historical ones. They speak to craft in designing a life and loves” (gene7g).

“To be clear, though, my approach here is not to find a home for that queerness as much as it is a recognition that queerness is always already in the making” (gene8).

Questions, Reflection, Response:


I think about the orienting force of the fixed genealogies I carry quite a bit. These genealogies that direct me personally and professionally, they work in/through/with the identities I am situated in bringing me out of different “homes” and back to them. There is a between-ness and an already-ness to them.

I am fortunate to have queer mentors in my academic life who will call attention to the contours and contradictions we inhabit in academic spaces. These mentors as well as others have also helped me be cognizant of the academic genealogy that I am situated in, that I can be aware of how this influences their thinking and my own. I think of disciplinary “home”-ness and how scholars carry that with them even when they wish to move away, even thinking (or especially) about methodologies.

I think about the way that we construct archives and genealogies. The ephemera, the excesses, the ordering. An intentional design.

I think of the queer senses of family I’ve encountered. The mentors I’ve known and the intentional tending to those relationships that became familial: Will, Matt, John, Rich, to name a few. I think of the way that those became something more than associative relationships and the deliberate, cultivated meaning ascribed to them in familial terms. The way I used to call John my “gay dad.”

I think about my departures from a “blood” family. I remember growing up in Delaware, I remember our move to North Carolina when I was 12. I remember being so afraid. My impressions of the South from my previous education had been reducible to a statement: “conservative racists.” I was already very much aware of my queerness. I swore I’d move northward as soon as I was able. Sure enough, I ended up in grad school in Michigan (Yay?). But I remember growing up with the narratives that Alexander touched on of young queers running to cities for security, better lives, safer spaces, etc. These impact me. Yet, inasmuch as I have departed from this “home” I can still feel those periodic returns and those contradictions in which my various spaces and identities I inhabit are at once acknowledged and disavowed.

Notes: Allison Carr, “In Support of Failure”

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

failure is cool


Carr (re)situates failure from an assessment-oriented opposite-of-success to offer a queer-affective reclamation of failure in writing pedagogy.

Keywords: Failure, Affect, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Composition, Teaching of Writing, Pedagogy


Bartholomae, David. Inventing the University. Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Ellen Cushman et. al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. 511-24.

Burger, Edward. Teaching to Fail. Inside Higher Ed. 21 August, 2012.


“[F]ailure is difficult, maybe impossible, to define. When we talk about failure as a profession, we most often talk about assessment-based failure, which we’ve come to understand as an expected consequence of learning… I want to think about failure, then, as an affect-bearing concept… I want to highlight the inherent affectivity of the judgment and insist that when considered in the context of affect/emotion, failure reveals itself to be a deeply complex phenomenon that bears upon one’s private self-concept as well as one’s sense of oneself as a social being”

“[W]hen we think about re-conceptualizing failure, we have to think not only about the personal realm but also about the sociocultural context in which failure is embedded and throughout which it circulates”

“As an outcome of assessment, failure makes us profoundly aware of our place in social and academic strata. It makes the borders of our physical and emotional selves known to us, and it emphasizes the distance between ourselves and others”

  • I want to know what happens when failure isn’t the silent antithesis of success or the final and unspeakable consequence of struggle or deviance against social and/or pedagogical norms;
  • I want to know if it’s possible to fail without being erased, cast out;
  • I want to know what becomes possible when we stop thinking about education as a forward-moving, product-oriented march toward some mark of achievement, and instead we start thinking of it as something bent more toward chaos.

“A pedagogy of failure, then, would have to account for relationality as well as isolation—how all of the parts work on their own as well as how all of the parts work together, how these expectations are formed as well as how they are stretched or upset by the demands of particular contexts”