The optimal way for me to begin this new (2018-2020) term is with the following six gratitudes and platitudes, calling attention to a collaborative leadership structure in which the Coalition has made an important and long-term investment.
First, I thank the Coalition Presidents who have come before -- now numbering 13, and now reflecting 30 years of scholarship, teaching, and mentoring toward building a sustainable community through which to carry out our work: Kathleen Ethel Welch, Andrea A. Lunsford, Cheryl Glenn, Shirley Wilson Logan, Kris Ratcliffe, Joyce Irene Middleton, Kate Adams, Lynée Lewis Gaillet, Barb L’Eplattenier, Nancy Myers, Liz Tasker Davis, Jenn Fishman, and Lisa Mastrangelo.
Several of us also owe a special thanks to Coalition member Erin Andersen and her department chair at Centenary University for helping us to arrange a parting gift and surprise small tribute to Lisa, our immediate past-president, at an April meeting of Lisa's own department. (Photographic evidence of that occasion is forthcoming!)
Second, I gratefully acknowledge the dedication and attentiveness of several Executive and Advisory Board members who have stepped down, rolled off, or moved into retirement:
- Roxanne Aftanas (AB member since 2010) – rolled off for the next term
- Lindal Buchanan (Peitho journal editorial board chair) – rolled off active Advisory Board into Ex-Officio position
- Kirsti Cole (FemRhet 2011 conference chair) – rolled off active Advisory Board into ex-officio position
- Jenn Fishman (former Immediate Past-President) – returned to active Advisory Board position
- Patti Hanlon-Baker (FemRhet 2013 conference co-chair) – rolled off for the next term
- Andrea Lunsford (Founding Member, Past President and FemRhet 2013 conference co-chair) – retired from ex-officio position
- Arabella Lyon (longtime AB member) – retired from ex-officio position
- Liz Mackay (FemRhet 2017 conference co-chair) – ex-officio term ended
- Patrick Thomas (FemRhet 2017 conference co-chair) – ex-officio term ended
- Hyoejin Yoon (AB member since 2016) – stepped down in 2017
Third, it is my pleasure to welcome 5 new members to our active Advisory Board, as a result of this year's elections: Cristy Beemer; Abby Dubisar; David Gold; Mudiwa Pettus; and Cheri Lemieux Spiegel. We are also pleased to welcome Jen Almjeld, FemRhet 2019 conference chair, to the Advisory Board in an ex-officio role.
Fourth, I gratefully acknowledge the quick and impressive work of the committee that blind-reviewed and blind-ranked proposals for the Coalition's 4C19 evening event on "Building Out From 'The Margins': New Directions in Intersectionality." Mariana Grohowski, Charlotte Hogg, Becca Richards, Lisa Shaver, Rebekah Sims, and one anonymous reviewer had their work cut out for them negotiating their own and each other's feedback on 13 competitive proposals. Ultimately, they arrived at a roundtable panel that will feature 4 seasoned and emerging scholars offering angular takes on what it means to interrogate or dwell within "intersections" today.
Fifth, following a record year of activity and responsivity for our small organization (as evidenced by this blog), we show no signs of waning. Coming soon are announcements about the following:
- release of Peitho 20.2 (Spring/Summer 2018), featuring a special section on "Changing the Landscape: Feminist Rhetorical Practices: New Horizons for Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies Five Years Later";
- social-media networking at RSA 2018 in Minneapolis, as well as a crowd-sourced curation effort to promote sessions on feminist topics;
- announcement of the Missouri student small scholarship program winner.
Last year, our activism on- and offline garnered some attention from the editors of Four Days in Kansas City: The 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication. We look forward to reading more about how the missions of various groups in the field (including our own) are productively complicated and historicized through this timely collection of textual and ephemeral responses to the passage of SB 43 in Missouri in 2017, and to the decision of the CCCC Executive Committee to ultimately hold the conference as scheduled.
And finally, you might remain "on the lookout" for announcements about ongoing and upcoming conversations, discussions, and initiatives, in the next year-and-a-half:
- early program announcement and planning in advance of the Coalition's 4C19 evening event, including a program preview and call for mentoring table leaders;
- advanced preparations for FemRhet 2019, led by Dr. Almjeld and her conference planning team at James Madison University;
- discussions toward forming a graduate student collective;
- discussions toward offering webinars and/or other in-situ collaborations to support individual and collaborative scholarship;
- conversations about a possible AAUP affiliation;
- initiatives to establish more formal collaborative partnerships with other conferences and caucuses in the field;
- efforts to update and solicit donations for our growing list of awards;
- efforts to extend our mentoring mission to other sites and events beyond Feminisms and Rhetorics;
and more. Many of you have expressed interests in volunteering on our annual survey, and if we have not already reached out to invite you to work, we will do that soon as we begin forming task forces for the 2018-2019 year.
I close by drawing attention to the many other individuals unnamed in this post who have served this organization or its various task forces and Boards, some of whom we are fortunate enough to have working with us still, many of whom may feel they have been forgotten or left, but all of whom have made indelible marks somewhere on this organization. If you are new to the Coalition, I invite you to look into its histories and to note, especially, that none of our activities has ever reflected the efforts or rewards of only one person.
I hope you will join us and find what you need here in the upcoming term,
Tarez Samra Graban