Just got back from 4Cs, the annual flagship conference in my field (Conference on College Composition and Communication). Always nice to spend a few days reconnecting with friends from graduate school and from my first job. I mean, Facebook is great and everything, but you can't beat dinner in the big city (St. Louis this year) and the obligatory can't-believe-I-graduated-from-Arizona-a-decade-ago conversations. Panels and presentations always differ in quality and always will, but I consistently walk away from sessions with ideas and/or energy.
Malea Powell gave the chair's address and did a fabulous job of provoking thought. She discussed her own subfield--Native-American Rhetorics--and questioned whether it's time we move beyond relegating such pursuits to "alternative" status, challenging *everyone* to get involved in de-colonizing work. This blurb doesn't do her talk justice. Also noteworthy: Powell's inclusion of multiple voices during "her" talk--various members of the field went to the mic and told brief stories of their own about their inclusion (or lack thereof) and/or entree into Comp Studies. "This is my story, make of it what you will," they intoned. Which was interesting, but also left me asking: what if we choose to ignore your story?
Why not end each person's story with something like, "This is my story, please think about it and adjust your practices accordingly"?