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A Virtual Conference on Antiracist Pedagogy, Practices, and Assessment in Writing Courses

Full call: 2021 Southern Regional Composition Conference

In our current social and cultural contexts, finding the right words can be a struggle for students who want to explore their home languages or hope to advocate for social justice. The stakes are high, and our words matter. But what if there are no “right” words to be found? If we take a step back, however, and problem-pose what it means to choose the right words at the right time in our current moment of reckoning—to fully contend with the power dynamics of speaking up and out—then we might begin to build a rhetorical framework for antiracism in and beyond the writing classroom.

Students come into our classrooms with a host of language experiences and skills. Lovejoy, Fox, and Wills (2009) note, “In today’s classrooms, we encounter students with widely varying literacy backgrounds and skills, students who are linguistically and culturally diverse, most often defined in terms of racial and ethnic (nonwhite) background but also including white students whose home language is a non mainstream variety of English” (261). Moreover, Inoue (2019) asks us to question the ways in which normalized white language habits enter our evaluation and assessment of student writing (374). Baker-Bell (2020), in her recent NCTE publication, Linguistic Justice, argues that her book “is an antiracist approach to language and literacy education. It is about dismantling Anti-Black Linguistic Racism and white linguistic hegemony and supremacy in classrooms and in the world” (7). These shifts in composition and rhetorical studies toward a more just and democratic pedagogy are changing the landscape of what we do as teachers of writing—and why we do it. Let’s use this opportunity to listen and learn from and with each other.

How do we demonstrate to our students that we value the language differences within our classrooms and teach them to communicate ethically? We also need to consider the writing students complete beyond the classroom. For example, in Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change, Rowan and Greenfield ask us to think about the teaching/tutoring of writing in spaces other than the classroom and its impact. Given the culturally and linguistically diverse nature of our students, how do we support the teaching of good writing that is not grounded in problematic standards? Ultimately, what does it mean to be a “good” writer in the 21st century? This conference asks participants to think about the intentional ways we can help our students write rhetorically while examining the language choices they make for the audiences they hope to engage. Registration for the conference is free. If you have questions, please email

Read the full call here:

2021 Southern Regional Composition Conference

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