Someday, I hope to write a lost poem of conversations overheard at the CCCC. Such intriguing snatches of conversation have ranged from mundane questions about session rooms ("Where is Ballroom 3?") and explanations of research ("I'm analyzing the transfer of skills.") to joyful reunions ("How long has it been?") and administrative concerns ("We're fighting to get tenure track lines, but we've been told it just isn't in the budget.").
Indeed, each year members of rhetoric and composition gather to consider answers to many of the same questions: What have we done? What are we doing? How are we doing it? Why are we doing it? Where are we going? Where do we need to be? And, there's the most difficult question: How do we get there? Our answers may have changed, but our purpose has remained constant: How do we guide our students towards a literacy that is not merely functional, but flourishing?
This year in Indianapolis, scholars, educators, and administrators were called to consider our (and our students') work and aspirations through the lens of "Open | Source(s), Access, Futures." The reviews provided here offer a glimpse of the multiple ways that members of rhetoric and composition have responded to this call, not just for a few days at a convention, but in the work we pursue daily as instructors, scholars, and administrators.
I want to thank all of our contributors and fellow editors for the good work that they've done. As I've read through each review, I'm amazed at how active, concerned, and vibrant our discipline is. I'm also thankful that we have this archive available to return to, reflect, consider, and act upon once the hectic days of the convention are past. I'd also like to give a special, heartfelt thanks to Christopher Dean, who stepped down this year as the master coordinator of the reviews. He's done fantastic work helping the reviews grow in size and depth, while maintaining standards of excellence.
As I'm writing this, friends, colleagues, parents, and citizens are mourning the violent and senseless loss of life which stemmed from the shootings at UCSB and Seattle Pacific University. I have no words to alleviate the suffering caused by these acts. I ask what can and should we do, as individuals and instructors, friends and mentors, colleagues and citizens. There is no doubt that the UCSB shooter was influenced and motivated by a rhetoric of perceived disempowerment and entitlement that in his mind justified his actions. As terrifying as it may be to admit, such rhetorics are causing harm in many facets of all of our lives, not only with issues of sex and gender, but also concerning race, sexual and gender orientation, social class, ethnicity, religion—too many to list. It is easy to feel discouraged, even powerless. But we can counter such destructive rhetorics by providing spaces where we and our students can critically analyze the 'source(s), access, and futures' of this language and intent, and we can help build rhetorical frameworks of affirmation and self-empowerment.
Ultimately, we can ask and act on the questions that matter to us, like:
- What have we done?
- Where are we going?
- Where do we need to be?
- How do we get there?
—Andrea L. Beaudin