Drawing on a workshop from the inaugural Conference on Community Writing on the rhetoric of the corporate university, my co-authors and I challenged the underlying rhetorics of the corporate university that exist in contemporary community literacy frameworks, including missionary zeal, whiteness, and privatization. We interrogate the foundations of community literacy in the hope of opening new possibilities.
This chapter, forthcoming in Unruly Rhetorics by University of Pittsburgh Press, situates THE General Body’s 18-day sit-in at Syracuse within its immediate context, as the tactics, attitudes, and issues reflect the particular national moment.
We argue for the importance, and at times necessity, of unruliness (in word and through bodies) to expose the very real divisions and inequalities in our society. We also specifically address the responsibilities of students, graduate students, faculty, and staff to upend the logic that “others” and criminalizes so-called unruly acts/bodies and to support social justice movements within the university. As fellow participants and organizers of the sit-in and campus movement, we sought to demonstrate how proximity, rather than distance, allows for both clarity and a needed sense of urgency.
Throughout the article my co-author and I uphold a narrative-based theoretical frame while resisting turning fellow organizers and participants into objects of academic study.
We emphasized the kind of education that through collective action makes demands on those in power and strategizes to recover rights and resources.
As a long-time volunteer of the Workers’ Center of Central New York, I aided in a study of the working conditions of migrant dairy farmworkers in New York State. For this study I conducted hour long interviews and two-hour long surveys of 15 farmworkers in the Central New York Region. I also worked on translation. The report documents working conditions and workplace abuses such as aggressive treatment, long hours for low pay, dangerous work environments that have resulted in fatalities, and the lack of mobility and access to resources. The members use the report as an organizing tool to educate consumers and companies who rely on their labor. Currently members of the Workers’ Center are suing the State of New York for farmworkers’ rights to organize in the workplace. Click on image to read the report and click here to donate to the center and support this important work.
A Few Conference Presentations:
“The Courage to Teach in These Times: On Classroom Narratives and the Policing of Pedagogies in the Composition Classroom.” Conference on Community Writing. Boulder, CO. October 2017.
“Community Writing against the Rhetoric of the Corporate University.” Conference on Community Writing. Boulder, CO. October 2015.
“Histories and Lived Experiences of Dairy Farm Workers of Central New York.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Tampa, FL. March 2015.