The Coalition (first known as the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition) was founded in 1989, in response to a perceived need from scholars in the field for mentorship and scholarly support for those doing feminist historical work in the field. In March of 1990, in Chicago, the Constitution (written by Kathleen Welch) was signed by Kathleen Welch (President), Marjorie Currie Woods (Vice President), Winifred “Win” Horner (Secretary), C. Jan Swearingen, and Nan Johnson. Since then, the group has focused on mentoring as a key goal for the organization.
The group first began to present at its Wednesday night meeting at the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication in 1994, and has presented annually ever since. Following an hour of talks on recent developments in the field, members move in the second hour to mentoring tables, initially designed to foster political action and assist women faculty in navigating the often difficult political landscapes of English departments and tenure. Conversations have since broadened into areas such as collaboration, feminist WPA work, work-life balance, and publication.
In addition, in 1997 the organization began co-hosting the biennial Feminisms and Rhetorics conference, offering a space for feminist scholars in rhetoric and composition to present their intellectual work.
In 2016, the organization officially changed its name to The Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition.
The Coalition’s history is ongoing, but at two moments — in 2008 and in 2014 — that history has been captured in film.
- “In Their Own Words: The History and Influences of the Coalition,” by Wendy Sharer and Michelle Eble; remastered by Alexandra Hidalgo, with transcript by Don Gamill, Jr. Please visit our blog for more about the remastering of this project.
- “Lifting As We Climb,” by Alexandra Hidalgo (published in Peitho 18.1)