My home discipline is cultural rhetorics, which is both a discipline and an orientation. Rhetoric asks us to critically question and engage with all human interaction and meaning-making. Cultural rhetorics asks us to notice who is left out and then to constellate our whole selves to the whole of others to make a web of relations. It asks us to consistently engage in the uncomfortable work of self-reflection, self-assessment, and asks us to consistently be open to revising and expanding our thinking, allowing for multiple perspectives, truths, and meaning-making systems. This requires us to learn to engage meaningfully and thoughtfully in conflict, to lean-in to messy, complicated community work, and to always interrogate the multidirectional and situational nature of power so we can work for equity, inclusion, and access.
These publications center a writing center perspective on leadership, communities and community-making, emotional labor, relations of power and professional titles, and embodiment and community experience in a digital space. These are not concerns specific to a writing center, however, and so the ideas and lessons contained in them are applicable to all humans.
“Emotional and Embodied Relationality in Writing Center Administration: Attending to Institutional Status, In-Betweeness, and the (Re)Making of Community”
EMOTIONS AND AFFECT IN WRITING CENTERS explores how emotions and affect are lived, embodied, and experienced in writing centers. Fifteen chapters provide perspectives on emotions and affect from both tutor and writing center director perspectives. Collaboratively written and single-authored chapters focus on topics such as listening, burnout, tutor training, and emotional labor. Using several methodological approaches, including narratives, reflections, conversation analysis, and quantitative and qualitative studies, contributors identify how multiple identities, experiences, and histories can be mobilized through attention to emotions and affect. Contributors offer readers particular recommendations throughout the collection, including suggestions for training and future conversations between writing center stakeholders. Contributors also argue for adaptability, as they reflect on the impact of political and cultural events on the emotive qualities of writing center work.
“Listening Across: A Cultural Rhetorics Approach to Understanding Power Dynamics within a University Writing Center”
In this multivocal piece, we take a cultural rhetorics approach foregrounding story and lived experience as we investigate the internal power structures of our writing center. We share positionality stories from our different institutional and social identities to practice there-ness and constellate our stories to create what we call a listening across framework. Through listening across our stories, we sometimes find common ground and sometimes find ruptures that we cannot mend. We see listening across as a decolonial practice that interrogates and disrupts practices that reinforce colonial structures and ways of knowing.
“Making Community through the Utilization of Discord in a (Suddenly) Online Writing Center”
Amidst the jarring backdrop of spring 2020, we asked ourselves how, after years of attention to the making of our writing center community, would we not only embark upon the labor of a suddenly online writing center, but continue to make one another matter (Gellar et al., 2007, p. 8)? Writing centers are messy because they are a confluence of overlapping boundaries, identities, and relationships (Brooks-Gillies, 2018, Gellar et al., 2007, Dixon, 2017), as well as sites of persistent and necessary emotion work that create place alongside the space (Boquet, 2002, p. 4). Therefore, our relationships between one another make and shape reality (Wilson, 2008, p. 7). This makes writing center communities central to writing center labor, but also underscores the excessive (Boquet, 1999, p. 478) complexity and nuanced nature of our communities. Using Jackson and McKinney as inspiration to consider how Discord allows us to “view the writing center from a different angle,” (2011) we consider how digital communities are constructed and intervene in writing center practice, especially during times of upheaval. This article focuses on five main concepts that emerged for us as we shared our experiences with Discord with one another: Space and Place, Embodiment and Relationships, Power and Power Dynamics, Signs and Symbols, and Stories and Archives. We will use these concepts to illustrate how having a writing center Discord server enabled us to negotiate both rosy and messy interactions during the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, when our university was still predominantly online and our writing center was fully online. We will highlight the ways these interactions worked to (re)make community, offer some experiences that foreground the drawbacks of the server, and share insights into starting a Discord server.
“Reimagining Normal: Counterstories of Mental Health within an Institution.” East Central Writing Centers Association · Apr 2, 2022
“Making Community through the Utilization of Discord in a (Suddenly) Online Writing Center.” International Writing Centers Association · Oct 22, 2021
“Emotions and Affect in Writing Center Administration: A Roundtable on the Emotional Dimensions of Administrative Work.” Southeastern Writing Center Association Conference · Feb 12, 2021
“Messy, Uncomfortable, and Essential Emotion Work: Stories of Collaboration and Equity in Writing Center Administration.” East Central Writing Centers Association · Mar 5, 2020
“Weaving Waywardness: A Rhetoric of Community for Writing Centers.” International Writing Centers Assocation Conference · Nov 4, 2019
“Listening Across Experiences: A Cultural Rhetorics Approach to Understanding Power Dynamics within a Writing Center.” East Central Writing Centers Association Conference · Mar 22, 2019
“Embracing Waywardness: Counter-Narratives of Progress and Community.” East Central Writing Centers Association Conference · Mar 20, 2019
“The Story of Kindness Week: How Connection Changed our Community.” East Central Writing Center Association Conference · Mar 24, 2018
“Stories of Kindness Week: Why Connection Matters.” International Writing Center Association Annual Conference · Nov 11, 2017
“Finding Strength in Weakness: Exploring Emotional Labor in Writing Center Practice.” East Central Writing Center Association Annual Conference · Mar 24, 2017