roundtable: #SayHerName #BlackGirlMagic

#SayHerName #BlackGirlMagic: 21st Century Black Women’s Rhetorical Practices
Friday, October 6, 9:00-10:45am
Marriott Ballroom

Roundtable Leaders:
Tamika Carey, University at Albany, SUNY
Gwendolyn D. Pough, Syracuse University
Elaine Richardson, The Ohio State University
LaToya Sawyer, St. John’s University

Use this LINK to sign up by September 15th.

In her essay, “Out Here on Our Own,” Pearl Cleage makes a powerful case for why Black women need to be outspoken and vocal about the systems of oppression that inhibit their lives. Although she wrote the essay decades ago, it is still powerful and relevant to contemporary Black women’s rhetorical practices. Responding to the hypothetical question, “You don’t want the six o’clock news showing everybody a whole bunch of disagreeable Black women, do you?” that politicians used to silence protest from Black women. She responds,

“Yes. I do. I want everyone to see a bunch of extremely disagreeable, screaming, hollering, protesting, angry Black women everywhere they look until some changes are made. I’m tired of being invisible except when the crimes against us or our children are so heinous they make the front page…. As a tactic being well-behaved just isn’t working, so let’s try another approach.”

This roundtable will explore contemporary Black women’s rhetorical practices in this current political moment in the United States. The speakers will take nuanced looks at the Black feminist rhetorician and Black women’s rhetorical practices and question if our recovery efforts have done anything to enrich a critical understanding of race, class, gender, nation and sexuality as it pertains to Black women speakers, thinkers and writers around the world. Understanding that history is dynamic, this roundtable will begin to trace the path of Black women’s rhetorical practice for similarities and differences, making clear distinctions between Black feminist theory and Black feminist rhetoric. 

The roundtable panelists will explore how Black women navigate and manipulate language and discourses to empower themselves, participate in civic society, and transform oppressive conditions. Because literacy and rhetorical practice are inextricably bound to the forms of knowledge making they draw upon in these endeavors, this roundtable explores spaces and sources of Black women’s social justice work within public culture. The speakers will engage challenging and necessary questions such as:

  • What good is rhetoric in this time of increased violence and assault on Black lives?
  • How have our ties with fields like African American Studies, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Digital Humanities, and changed and evolved?
  • How do Cultural Studies and Popular Culture continue to influence and shape new areas of interest?

To begin and contextualize this discussion, we will have opening comments from our moderator. We will then have four panelists deliver short opening remarks (10 minutes each). Traversing the boundaries of Black women’s rhetorical practices through oratory, public discourse and Black vernacular discourses, this roundtable discussion will continue the work of bringing intersectional frameworks and the lives of Black women to Feminist Rhetorical scholarship as a scholarly enterprise:

1) the challenges in establishing a scholarly presence for the study of Black women’s rhetorical practices in the fields of Rhetoric and Composition and Communication Studies,

2) interrogate matters of race and digital rhetorics in the era of Black twitter and #hashtag activism,

3) explore the place of rhetoric and representation in the analysis of Black feminist and Black queer rhetorics in public culture.

We will close with a moderator facilitated open discussion amongst panelists, a question and answer session, and a concluding conversation on what the call to action is for the future of rhetorical studies.

Use this LINK to sign up by September 15th.