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Calling Cards

Theory and Practice in the Study of Race, Gender, and Culture

Jacqueline Jones Royster, Ann Marie Mann Simpkins

Publication Year: 2005

In recent decades, the concepts of race, gender, and culture have come to function as “calling cards,” the terms by which we announce ourselves as professionals and negotiate acceptance and/or rejection in the academic marketplace. In this volume, contributors from composition, literature, rhetoric, literacy, and cultural studies share their experiences and insights as researchers, scholars, and teachers who centralize these concepts in their work. Reflecting deliberately on their own research and classroom practices, the contributors share theoretical frameworks, processes, and methodologies; consider the quality of the knowledge and the understanding that their theoretical approaches generate; and address various challenges related to what it actually means to perform this type of work both professionally and personally, especially in light of the ways in which we are all raced, gendered, and acculturated.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page / Copyright Page

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pp. v-vii


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pp. viii

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pp. ix-xiii

In the nineteenth century in both Europe and the United States, there was a firmly established and highly developed social ritual of presenting oneself to others within elite social circles by means of a small, often elegantly decorated, card. Calling cards, as they came to be called, became a primary instrument by which social...

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Introduction: Marking Trails in Studies of Race, Gender, and Culture

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pp. 1-14

In 1892 Anna Julia Cooper issued a bold challenge when she invited her audience to imagine African American women as trailblazers for their race, as intellectual scouts audaciously dedicated to carving out pathways to full participation in American society. Moreover, she invited all to consider that, as those held in lowest...

Part I: Rethinking Race, Whiteness, Gender, and Class

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Chapter 1: The More Things Change . . . Or, Why I Teach Whiteness

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pp. 17-31

For most of my scholarly life I have considered myself an Americanist and dedicated much of my research to the study of race, gender, and culture, precisely because so much of what is embodied in the term American arises from contestations between these categories and their representations. Who has the right to call himself...

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Chapter 2: Bombs and Bullshit: Interventions in a Very Dangerous Time

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pp. 33-45

A question at the heart of Calling Cards deals with why race, gender, and culture, as compounding factors, are central to research agendas and how those agendas can be used to understand and challenge dominant power structures. In the poem that opens this essay, Sekou Sundiata’s prophetic voice invites reflection in a similar...

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Chapter 3: Transforming Images: The Scholarship of American Indian Women

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pp. 47-59

What is the image of American Indian women that students in our classrooms have? Very likely they have no image of Native women— there are only 2.8 million Indian people total in the United States—less than one percent of the total U.S. population. Our students have likely never had an Indian woman as a teacher...

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Chapter 4: Men as Cautious Feminists: Reading, Responding, Role-Modeling as a Man

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pp. 61-74

In his provocative essay “Teaching and Learning as a Man,” Robert Connors notes what many men in the academy have seen for themselves: male students often reach out to their male teachers as mentors (138). Connors wants to “assert [his] own hierarchical place, construct [his] own manhood” in an effort...

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Chapter 5: Guns, Language, and Beer: Hunting for a Working-Class Language in the Academy

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pp. 75-89

I’m team teaching feminist theory with a colleague from psychology. We have ten students, all white, eight women and two men. We’re sitting outside discussing readings on environmental feminism. We’ve been arguing for about twenty minutes about vegetarianism and environmentalism. My colleague says, “And what...

Part II: Refiguring Culture, History, and Methodology

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Chapter 6: Smarts: A Cautionary Tale

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pp. 93-105

As an African American scholar in the academy, I have been negotiating traffic at a busy intersection for the last twenty-five years. For me, race, gender, class, disability, sexuality, and a range of categories of social difference have not been faddish, fast-moving sports cars on an academic highway. Rather, they have been the permanent routes, however fluid and contested, that I have chosen...

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Chapter 7: Naming and Proclaiming the Self: Black Feminist Literary History Making

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pp. 107-120

To prepare for an upcoming research excursion, I read Under Its Generous Dome: The Collections and Programs of the American Antiquarian Society and A Quarter Century of Visiting Fellowships at the American Antiquarian Society, 1972–97, publications the AAS has sent to all of next year’s designated scholars. I will be in residence there in April 2003, so this spring I want to take advantage of my proximity...

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Chapter 8: Speaking With and To Me: Discursive Positioning and the Unstable Categories of Race, Class, and Gender

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pp. 121-132

The recent emergence of studies centering on the literacy and activism of antebellum African American women signifies a turn in rhetorical scholarship that warrants further analysis. African American feminist rhetoricians, including Gertrude Mossell, Shirley Wilson Logan, Carla Peterson, and Jacqueline Jones Royster, among...

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Chapter 9: Questioning Our Methodological Metaphors

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pp. 133-145

Of all the artifacts I saw in the Vassar archives, the calling cards enchanted me the most. Stiffened pieces of paper three-fourths of an inch by two inches, they were embossed or printed with the names of the women I was researching. When I held them in my hands, they seemed to embody tradition and refinement, elegance and grace, a gentler...

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Chapter 10: Pretenders on the Throne: Gender, Race, and Authority in the Composition Classroom

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pp. 147-157

During the last two decades, a growing number of scholars in rhetoric and composition have focused their research on examining the influence of race, gender, and culture on English studies and teaching. Several others (e.g., Bruffee 1984; Murray 1969; Elbow 1973), have addressed such issues by promoting collaborative learning and shared classroom authority as methods for opening new space...

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Chapter 11: Veiled Wor(l)ds: The Postcolonial Feminist and the Question of Where

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pp. 159-170

A 1989 interview of Gayatri Spivak in The Postcolonial Critic, conducted by Lola Chatterjee, Rashmi Bhatnagar, and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan in New Delhi, India, foregrounded indigenous and diasporic identity politics, the hot topic in postcolonial studies during the 1990s. The interview took place when Spivak was a visiting professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Its main focus was...

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Chapter 12: The Paradigm of Margaret Cavendish: Reading Women’s Alternative Rhetorics in a Global Context

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pp. 171-185

I have encountered many problems in reading the rhetorical works of Margaret Cavendish and Chinese post-Mao literary women: methodological difficulties in evaluating their works using available feminist theoretical frameworks. The problems grew out of two theoretical assumptions about rhetoric, though probably they both stem from the hierarchical patriarchy that feminism claims to...

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Chapter 13: “Making this Country Great”: Native American Educational Sovereignty in North Carolina

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pp. 187-200

Over the past ten years, many scholars have called for new examinations of the history of composition and rhetoric and the inclusion of the stories of others to give a more balanced view of the field (see, for instance, Gilyard, Villanueva, and Royster and Williams). As a result, the discipline has broadened to include a number of “new” voices. Inclusion of the stories of Native Americans...

Part III: (Re)Forming Analytical Paradigms

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Chapter 14: Say What?: Rediscovering Hugh Blair and the Racialization of Language, Culture, and Pedagogy in Eighteenth-Century Rhetoric

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pp. 203-213

All of my interests in the field of rhetoric and composition—black preaching, the cultural literacy debate, and civil rights movement rhetoric— converge at the places where the evolution of race ideology and the development of meaningful pedagogy meet. I have also remained intrigued with Hugh Blair, who in...

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Chapter 15: “By the Way, Where Did You Learn to Speak?”: Black Sites of Rhetorical Education

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pp. 215-227

For centuries, curious observers have asked black speakers and writers, “How did you learn to use the English language so effectively?” Determined to answer this question, eighteen of Boston’s leading citizens put Phillis Wheatley through an extensive oral examination and pronounced her, even though “brought an uncultivated Barbarian from Africa,” sufficiently “qualified to write” her 1773...

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Chapter 16: Rhetorical Tradition(s) and the Reform Writing of Mary Ann Shadd Cary

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pp. 229-241

In recent discussions of the history of rhetoric and composition, Shirley Wilson Logan’s We Are Coming (1999) and Jacqueline Jones Royster’s Traces of a Stream (1999) have theorized the writing practices of black women who were previously omitted from the rhetorical canon. Logan’s compelling argument regarding the significance of traditions...

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Chapter 17: Toni Morrison and “Race Matters” Rhetoric: Reading Race and Whiteness in Visual Culture

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pp. 243-253

In Seeing a Colour-Blind Future: the Paradox of Race, a series of lectures given for the prestigious Reith Lectures for the BBC, legal scholar Patricia J. Williams carefully examines the narratives of contradiction associated with arguments about race and white identity. Williams admits that, like the desire of many people she encounters, it would be nice to live in the “milk and honey” land of colour...

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Last Words

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pp. 255-264

We, the contributors to this collection, imagine ourselves in a well-lighted space, open, airy, pleasing to the eye. We are surrounded by others who have set the conversation in ways that are neither accommodating to our insights and interests nor invitational to our voices. They speak to each other as if we are not there...

Works Cited

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pp. 265-285


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pp. 287-291


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pp. 293-303

E-ISBN-13: 9780791483664
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791463758
Print-ISBN-10: 0791463753

Page Count: 318
Illustrations: 4 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2005