(28/03/2022) CfP – Book chapter: Feminist Design Rhetorics

Call for Proposals

Editors: Kristin Ravel, Rachael Sullivan, and Kristin Prins

Submission details

Key dates:

  • Proposals due: March 28, 2022
  • Invitations to submit full chapter drafts: April 28, 2022
  • Chapter drafts due: August 1, 2022
  • Feedback given to chapter authors: September/October 2022

What are the roles of design, technologies, and rhetoric in furthering intersectional feminist activism? What impacts do intersectional approaches to design bring to our rhetorical theory, practice, and pedagogy? And how might we use a feminist design lens to make rhetorical choices that center accountability, equity, and social justice? For an edited collection tentatively titled Feminist Design Rhetorics: Theories, Practices, and Pedagogies for Building Equity and Collective Justice, we invite proposals for chapters that address such questions by developing feminist rhetorical approaches to design.

In brief, we see feminist design rhetoric as a rhetorical stance that centers collective liberation and justice, acknowledges intersections of privilege and discrimination, and emphasizes the mediated and multimodal conditions of every composing act.

Our vision for this collection is largely inspired by the work of Black feminists who have, in striving toward equality and social justice, articulated the interlocking dynamics of oppression and resistance. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s (1989) concept of intersectionality highlights the intersections of discrimination for those multiply burdened under white supremacist heteropatriarchy. We are particularly interested in rhetorical scholarship and writing pedagogies that address bias and injustices based on intersecting social and political identities.

Additionally, we aim to continue the work of feminist rhetoricians in challenging the re-inscription of dominant ideologies and power structures, especially those located within rhetorical history and theory. Wilson Logan (1999), Pough (2004), Ronald & Ritchie (2006), Royster & Kirsch (2012), Flynn, Sotirin & Brady (2012), Glenn (2018) and others have provided the field with new means to examine and question rhetorical concepts and practices while advocating for the rights and responsibilities of those historically excluded from rhetorical scholarship.

In assembling a collection focused on design, we ask how analyzing and composing from a writer/designer position shapes our ability to advocate for social justice and build feminist futures. Design-oriented rhetoricians have taught us to acknowledge embodied, material dimensions of our visual, aural, gestural, spatial, linguistic, and tactile world (e.g. Selfe & Selfe 1994, Wysocki et al. 2004, Kynard 2007, Blackmon 2011, Shikpa 2011, Arola & Wysocki 2012, Sano-Franchini 2017, Fancher 2019, Beck 2020, Hitt 2021). And technofeminist scholars have shaped our understanding of design (as a practice, an industry, a political act) and its potential to further both oppression and liberation (Balsamo 1996, Wacjman 2004, Benjamin 2019, Costanza-Chock 2020). A feminist emphasis on design recognizes that design is always active in that it is a means of thinking, learning, and engaging with the world—or what we would like that world to be. Feminist communication scholar Sasha Costanza-Chock (2020) reminds us that design as a mode of knowledge production is primarily speculative: designers “propose, predict, and advocate for (or, in certain kinds of design, warn against) visions of the future” (p. 15). Thus, approaches to design in this collection should examine, unpack, challenge, and ultimately move toward building more equitable social futures.

We invite work that will help to answer one of three major questions through a feminist rhetorical lens, which we envision might structure the major sections of the collection:

  • How do we theorize design?
  • How do we practice and apply design?
  • How do we teach design?

Some possibilities include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Intersections of feminist design and critical race, decolonial, queer, and disability theories, or other social justice-related theories, in rhetoric and composition
  • Analyzing, understanding, historicizing, complicating, and/or producing feminist, accessible, queer, antiracist, indegenous, and/or non-western design
  • Feminist analysis of how digital design may obstruct or distract attention from inequality, embodiment, labor, and the materiality of technologies
  • Possible roles of design in the global climate crisis (e.g., how feminist designers and rhetoricians might help to care for the planet or environmental refugees)
  • How design facilitates or shapes social justice movements (e.g., hashtag activism, multimodal rhetorics of protest, activist art)
  • The design of digital hate and online aggression (e.g., online harassment and misogyny, extremist rhetorics and digital circulation, the spread of racism, antisemitism, and other forms of hate speech online)
  • How digital design might shape, support, or undermine algorithmic tracking, content moderation, platform surveillance (particularly in the context of teaching or within communities facing inequality and oppression)

We particularly encourage projects that reflect pedagogical engagement (for example, sharing pedagogical applications, course designs, assignments, activities, assessment technologies, etc.). While we expect that some chapters in this collection will focus on digital technologies, we also acknowledge that no social relation or practice is ever purely digital. Chapters may consider both digital and/or analog spaces, treating the online and offline as a spectrum rather than a strict binary. We also welcome collaborative pieces written with students—both undergraduate and graduate—as well as with other community members.