CFP due 10/15: Race, Social Justice, and the Work of Two-Year College English

Call for Proposals: Race, Social Justice, and the Work of Two-Year College English

Building on decades of important scholarship by composition researchers examining the relationships between race, rhetoric, language, literacy, and schooling, recent publications on race and writing assessment (e.g. Inoue and Poe; Inoue “Theorizing”; Inoue Antiracist; Poe et al; Poe and Cogen) have spurred disciplinary conversations about postsecondary writing instruction and persistent structures of social inequality. In the public realm, the Black Lives Matter movement and related activism has made the urgency of these conversations clear. Pushes for change within our professional organizations have forced moments of self-examination and spurred material efforts to address institutional racism. These scholarly, public, and professional conversations have focused on the racial demographics of our departments and organizations; how the field’s pervasive whiteness has shaped scholarship, pedagogies, assessment, and administrative practices; and the consequences of the resulting structural racism for the increasingly diverse students we serve. They have challenged us to critically re-imagine what literacy education for social justice can and should be as we head into the third decade of the twenty-first century.

The need to expand these conversations among two-year college teacher-scholar-activists (see Andelora, 2005; 2013; Sullivan, 2015) was made painfully clear in the May 2016 Teaching English in the Two-Year College article, “The Risky Business of Engaging Racial Equity in Writing Instruction: A Tragedy in Five Acts<>,” by Taiyon J. Coleman, Renee DeLong, Kathleen Sheerin DeVore, Shannon Gibney, and Michael C. Kuhne.

Describing the whiteness of one of our disciplinary conferences, Coleman writes,

The demographics of that conference space, like the spaces of my first-year composition course, our classrooms, our departments, our conference spaces, and our larger institutions, did not just happen. They are a result of the cumulative legacies of violent, historical, cumulative, contemporary, and ongoing institutional exclusion and oppression. We will never get it right in these spaces until we first understand, acknowledge, respect, and synthesize this historical reality into our work, at every level, moving forward collectively. (368)

The effects of such exclusion and oppression may be particularly pronounced at open-admissions two-year colleges. Data from the American Association of Community Colleges<> and Community College Research Center<> show that over half of students at two-year colleges are students of color (51%), and two-year colleges are an especially significant pathway to higher education for these groups: Hispanic students, for example, are nearly twice as likely (50%) to start their education at a two-year college as white students (28%). Faculty of color, however, are just 24%<> of the teaching staff at these institutions–a percentage that may well be lower among English faculty–and are more likely than their white colleagues to be employed part-time.

These data raise important questions about race and racism, social justice, and the work of two-year college English. How has the predominant whiteness of the field and the profession shaped two-year college English instructors’ values, assumptions, and practices at the classroom and program level? How does race intersect in this context with other social identities and categories like gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, social class, religion, Indigeneity, national origin, and language? How do such intersections affect the working lives of faculty of color in two-year college English departments? How might the profession’s predominant whiteness be affecting the learning experiences and academic success of two-year college students? How can assumptions born of white privilege and white fragility be surfaced, addressed, and challenged in order to fulfill the educational access goals of open-door college admissions?  How can we work to build faculties and a profession that reflect the demographics of our students? How can white faculty equip themselves to develop actively anti-racist teaching and administrative practices that respond to the communities they serve? What metaphors are helpful, harmful, or problematic in framing the work of two-year college English, and what assumptions undergird them? How can two-year college faculty move collectively to engage in hard conversations and meaningful social justice work in their communities of practice?

Such questions are the exigence for this CFP. The proposed collection will take up Coleman’s call to “understand, acknowledge, respect, and synthesize” by inviting contributors to further the conversation about how race, in intersection with other relevant social and political categories, shapes English departments at two-year colleges. The co-editors seek proposals for contributions that further our understanding of– and our tools for challenging– structures of racialized power and privilege within these institutions. We particularly encourage proposals from two-year college English faculty of color. We hope the assembled chapters will represent a cross-section of methodologies and dimensions of how two-year colleges contribute to– or, in some cases, work against– our collective ability to move forward on anti-racist social justice projects.

We invite chapter proposals that address issues of race and racism in the following (or other relevant) areas:

 *   the two-year college English/writing pedagogy and curricula (could include various areas of instruction, such as basic/developmental, technical/professional, creative writing, literature/cultural studies, etc.)

 *   the two-year college writing center

 *   two-year college writing program administration

 *   English instruction/writing program administration in two-year “minority-serving institutions” (MSIs) such as historically or predominantly Black colleges, tribally controlled colleges, and Hispanic-serving colleges

 *   writing instruction and dual/concurrent enrollment

 *   writing placement and assessment at two-year colleges

 *   developmental education/dev ed reform

 *   departmental climate/culture

 *   campus climate/leadership

 *   presence/roles/possibilities of Ethnic Studies in two-year colleges

 *   contingent faculty

 *   inter-institutional articulation/transfer student experiences

 *   Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) membership and/or leadership

 *   recruiting/preparing diverse two-year college English faculty in graduate programs

 *   two-year college faculty (and other) unions

 *   relationships between arts/media/community organizations and the two-year institution

 *   relationships and partnerships between K-12 educational institutions and two-year colleges

 *   histories of racial issues in community college English instruction/program administration

 *   analysis of race-related public, institutional, and/or professional rhetorics surrounding two-year colleges (e.g. framing of educational opportunity/student success, colorblind “American Dream” rhetorics)

 *   neoliberalism/corporatization in two-year colleges

 *   anti- or decolonial work in two-year colleges


We welcome submissions that use a variety of methodologies and genres–quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, theoretical, narrative, creative, etc. We also welcome queries at the email addresses below.

Please submit proposals of approximately 500 words as an email attachment (in Word) or google doc to Christie Toth at ( and Holly Hassel ( by October 15, 2016. Full manuscripts will be due by March 1, 2017.  Upon receipt of chapters, the prospectus will be submitted to the NCTE books publishing program for consideration.


Works Cited

Andelora, Jeff. “The Teacher/Scholar: Reconstructing Our Professional Identity in Two-Year Colleges.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 32.3 (2005): 307-322.

Andelora, Jeffrey T. “Teacher/Scholar/Activist: A Response to Keith Kroll’s.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 40.3 (2013): 302-307.

Coleman, Taiyon J., Renee DeLong, Kathleen Sheerin DeVore, Shannon Gibney, and Michael C. Kuhne. “The Risky Business of Engaging Racial Equity in Writing Instruction: A Tragedy in Five Acts<>.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 43.4 (2016): 347-370.

Inoue, Asao B. Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future<>. Fort Collins: WAC Clearinghouse, 2015.

Inoue, Asao B. “Theorizing Failure in US Writing Assessments<>.” Research in the Teaching of English 48.3 (2014): 330-352.

Inoue, Asao B., and Mya Poe. Race and Writing Assessment. Studies in Composition and Rhetoric. New York: Peter Lang, 2012.

Poe, Mya, and John Aloysius Cogan, Jr. “Civil Rights and Writing Assessment: Using the Disparate Impact Approach as a Fairness Methodology to Evaluate Social Impact<>.” Journal of Writing Assessment 9.1 (2016).

Poe, Mya, et al. “The Legal and the Local: Using Disparate Impact Analysis to Understand the Consequences of Writing Assessment.” College Composition and Communication 65.4 (2014): 588-611.

Sullivan, Patrick. “The Two-Year College Teacher-Scholar-Activist.” Teaching English in the Two Year College 42.4 (2015): 327-50.


Editors: Christie Toth<>, University of Utah

Holly Hassel<>, University of Wisconsin-Marathon County


Racial Equity in Writing Instruction

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