Beware Becoming the Trojan Horse

I am a brown person of color that grew up in a non-US country where white supremacy manifested primarily in the absence of white people following the country’s independence in the early 80’s. My family’s socio-economic privilege inscribed me into whiteness with peers often calling me a ‘white bway’ even when we shared the same shade of brown. I, in turn, internalized this image of myself, simultaneously hating my brown skin and idolizing the whiteness of the Americans, British, and French I encountered through film. In my academic experience as a graduate student in the United States, I had never been in a position of discussing issues of race in a critical way until my first semester of my doctoral degree in a feminist rhetoric, and a Caribbean tourism and sex trade course.

I struggle with how to link my research interests (comics authorship, graduate student labor, and Caribbean tourism rhetorics) to a vision of the nebulous field of rhetoric and composition. Many of the names that I am told are important to know hit me with a dead thump because their prominence feels significant only within an Americentric context. As a person from a global south country with plans to return there following graduation, it is nauseating to think that if I passively take up the names and ideas of folks who most often circulate and talk to them through my scholarship that I may gain social capital, but likely, no definitely, come out of it primarily having embodied the scholarship of white American able-bodied cis-het folks. I see this possibility as dangerous not only for myself, but for future students I work with, carving myself into a Trojan horse that enters a Belizean institution under the guise of a shared nation-state identity only to then unleash rhetorics mired in the epistemologies of empire, patriarchy, white supremacy, and ableism. Continue reading “Beware Becoming the Trojan Horse”

“Producing the Future: The Book I Need” by Jaquetta Shade

In 2017, SWR initiated a new project, “The Book I Need, designed to sponsor discussion on what type of scholarship the series should be publishing – particularly from the perspective of graduate students.

The first respondent to this prompt was  Jaquetta Shade (PhD candidate in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University and member of the American Indian Caucus) who focused her talk on “Producing the Future: The Book I Need.” In this talk, she reflects on responses gathered from a Google survey and conversations with fellow graduate students and faculty about what kind of book the field most needs right now. Jaquetta shares some of the feedback she received, recognizing the many areas of inquiry still in need of attention. She then calls for a “a book on teaching writing in the time of Trump” that will prompt students and scholars to engage their critical literacies towards change.

Please click here to listen to a recording (mp3 file) of Jaquetta’s presentation. This audio file was recorded by sound engineer Brooke Chambers and includes three sound bites (cited below). Please click here to access a transcript of her presentation.


Sound Bite Citations:

Avantdebris. “Rally.” February 10, 2017 via FreeSound.org, Creative Commons          Attribution.

Miekyj. “Paging Through Book.” October 28, 2015 via FreeSound.org, Creative Commons  Attribution.

MLoveless89. “TrumpProtest_110917.” May 13, 2017 via FreeSound.org, Creative  Commons Attribution.