Black Lives Matter Statement

As a program, we affirm that Black Lives Matter and that such words are meaningless without actions. We are therefore committed to the following actions for our program:

  1. We will reconsider how our own pedagogies and classroom actions can either promote racism or antiracism at any given moment and discuss ways to actively promote antiracism in our classroom space. This includes having departmental meetings where we discuss how to further implement such pedagogies as a group.

  2. We will host workshops for colleagues teaching writing in other departments/programs across campus in which we discuss equitable assessment strategies and antiracist pedagogies.

  3. Most of our classes already address race and ethnicity explicitly and implicitly, such as WRPR 205 Race, Rhetoric, and Protest, WRPR 208 Cultural Rhetorics, WRPR 288 Writing Race and Class, WRPR 354 Rhetoric of Public Memory, WRPR 210: Social Class and the Environment, WRPR 0212: Issues and Methods in Tutoring Writing, and WRPR/LNGT 110 English Grammar: Concepts and Controversies. We commit to furthering our own learning and teaching about topics of race and racism to make sure that students from all backgrounds have the chance to converse and write about these issues. 

  4. We will also link those issues to questions in our field, including discussions about what forms of language are privileged or marginalized within the academy and questions about how white supremacy shapes discourse (e.g., Inoue, 2018; Poe, Inoue, & Eliot, 2018; Praxis, 2018).

These are just a few action items that the Writing and Rhetoric Program will take over the course of the coming school year to make race a more central part of our courses, our scholarship, and our institutional service and assessment, and to make sure our program and colleagues across the campus employ more equitable, antiracist pedagogies. 

We close by stating that systemic violence has been committed against Black bodies for centuries, and though we are happy to read and produce statements and to see such crimes acknowledged, we believe action is crucial. Though we don’t believe the actions we have stated above will change attitudes and perspectives about race on Middlebury’s campus alone, we believe it is a start. It’s a start we are committed to. 

Genie Giaimo

James Chase Sanchez

Shawna Shapiro

Hector Vila

Catharine Wright

Anti-Racist Pedagogy

Come and See: From Reflection to Affiliation to Anti-Racist Pedagogy

A talk by Frankie Condon for Middlebury College; 6 October, 2020

The title of this talk is taken from the closing lines of Zora Neale Hurston’s magnificent work, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Alone at the end of the novel, Janie’s memory trails her like a shadow into the quiet darkness of her room. There, Hurston writes, “[s]he pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.” In this talk, Condon explores the significance of such moments in the lives of teachers – those moments when, in the still and silent slivers of our lives we might call ourselves to “see” those inherited white and whitely orientations and perspectives that both shadow us as we move through our teaching lives and shape for us the teaching spaces in which we make those lives. This talk is about the significance of critical self-reflection to actionable anti-racist commitments in the design and development of anti-racist pedagogies across a variety of disciplines. Participants should expect both an exploration of critical race theory as it pertains to teaching and examples of what that theory might look like in action in the university classroom.

About the Speaker

Frankie Condon is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. Her books include I Hope I Join the Band: Narrative, Affiliation, and Antiracist Rhetoric; Performing Anti-Racist Pedagogy in Rhetoric, Writing and Communication, co-edited with Vershawn Ashanti Young; and The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice, co-authored with Michele Eodice, Elizabeth Boquet, Anne Ellen Geller and Margaret Carroll. Frankie’s forthcoming book Counterstories from the Writing Center was co-edited with Wonderful Faison. In addition to her writing and teaching through the University of Waterloo, Frankie is a member of the APTLY OUTSPOKEN! Collective, a group of academics and activists committed to speaking and writing against anti-Black racism, settler colonialism, and, indeed, all forms of racism in the USA and Canada. Frankie has been the recipient of the Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award (Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance) and the Outstanding Performance Award (for excellence in teaching and scholarship) from the University of Waterloo.

Additional Resources

For more on anti-racist and inclusive pedagogy in our field, including links to some of our own scholarly work, please visit the links below and our individual webpages.