Notes: Renee Moreno, “The Politics of Location”

Moreno, Renee M. “”The politics of location”: Text as opposition.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 54, 2002.23574889382_0ae23acd76_o

Keywords: Composition, Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Race Theory, Minority Rhetorics, Writing Studies


“In a university, is the project of literacy (reading and writing) a tool for control and colonization, considering here that literacy in institutional settings is also used to socialize students to the uses of language and discourses in educational institutions? By reclaiming native language” (223).

“By telling history as stories, I assert that Galeano reimagines how identities are linked. This point is important in educational institutions—to rewrite the histories of linkage and connection and to describe how these play out in schools, despite efforts to keep people separated. I am especially interested in how, as bicultural subjects, students might begin to use textual locations to define and shape resistance, to define themselves collectively, and to unmask power when it is operating in the classroom and in pedagogy” (225).

“I wonder, is it so hard to imagine (and perhaps even to permit) “basic” writers to write, to read, and to imagine themselves through their texts? This is my starting point, to examine the context of writing within an academic setting, to examine how writers respond, and to contextualize my argument with histories” (225).

“I was interested in providing them with a safe space (however institutionalized) in which to explore the topics of race and ethnicity and to experiment with language, and I wanted to create an “oppositional” space within this traditional institution” (226).

“I have always told students that we all have stories to tell, something to say, that the classroom is a place where we listen to these stories, where we begin to co-construct knowledge and meaning” (228).

“Today, however, educational institutions are less and less interested in the needs of underrepresented students and the places from which these students come. As the institution is getting less attentive to the needs of the most vulnerable students (one effect of whittling away at the gains of affirmative action) and as services are being downsized, there is still a need to direct classroom practice to attend to the needs of these students” (235).

“For me, the most important call to action is to think about those students who are occupying our classrooms and to see classrooms as a hopeful space of transformation, as a location that might get us closer to developing those new intellectual frameworks to which Hayes-Bautista calls attention” (237).

Notes: Jill Eichhorn et al., “A Symposium on Feminist Experiences in the Composition Classroom”

Eichhorn, Jill, et al. “A Symposium on Feminist Experiences in the Composition Classroom.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 43, National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, Ill, 1992.


Keywords: Feminism, Feminist Rhetorics, Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy, Safe


“As we explore the ways we have been named, inscribed, objectified, exoticized, silenced, and coopted by male-dominated discourses, we simaltaneously engage in the articulation, negotiation, and collective re-vision of our gendered, ravial and class locations” (298).

“One difference we explore, among a multiplicity of differences, is that feminist graduate students and faculty who teach composition we do not experience the same level of authority in the classroom as white male, middle-to-upper-class graduate students and faculty” (298).

“Taking up a feminist politics of location in the classroom, as Adrienne Rich observed, means taking differences seriously. It also means taking the responsibility to construct critical classroom spaces ‘where [we and our] students can come to see ambivalence and differences not as obstacles, but as the very richness of meaning-making and the hope of whatever justice we might work toward” (299).

“As feminist teachers of writing we want to question those pedagogical models which privilege only an atmosphere of safety or a completely maternal climate” (299).

“How can we teach for radical change if we don’t challenge our students’ androcentric readings of literary texts or their classist, sexist, racist, and homophobic discourses as they arise in journals, essays and class discussion?” (300).

“Can there truly be ‘safe space,’ in or out of the classroom? Should there be? Is there in our desire for a safe space also a refusal to recognize that our different locations—as men or women, as Anglos or people of color, as faculty or graduate students—are and have always been unequal?” (300).

Notes: Catherine Fox, “Toward a Queerly Classed Analysis of Shame: Attunement to Bodies in English Studies”

Fox, Catherine Olive-Marie. “Toward a Queerly Classed Analysis of Shame: Attunement to Bodies in English Studies.” College English 76.4 (2014): 337-56.



Fox extends the conversation offered by Yoon, analyzing the discourse of critical pedagogy through a queer/class conscious frame.

Keywords: Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy, 


Monson, Connie, and Jacqueline Rhodes. “Risking Queer: Pedagogy, Performativity, and Desire in Writing Classrooms.” JAC 24 (2004): 79-91.

Yoon, Hyoejin. “Affecting the Transformative Intellectual: Questioning ‘Noble’ Sentiments in Critical Pedagogy and Composition.” JAC 25 (2005): 711-47.


“I would like to suggest the seductive force of affective dimensions of critical pedagogy discourse comes about partly through their hidden nature and partly the heteronormative frame through which they are deployed-a frame that centers on reproduction and generational transmission” (245).

“Within a heteronormative desiring framework, our work as critical pedagogues is made meaningful through “a narrative of generational succession,” of passing on our identities, values, and morality to the next generation, thereby reproducing the transformative intellectual” (245).

“Far from undermining the violence of normalization, critical pedagogy discourse deploys pleasurable possibilities of reproducing the terror of a whitely, masculinist ethos framed around “hard” inflexible emotions and arrogant righteousness” (246).

“Nonnormative subjects who “trouble” these ideals at the heart of critical pedagogy discourse are often perceived as threats that must be silenced and shamed. I would like to suggest, in concert with Yoon, however, that such conflicts can be “inhabited, written into, written about” differently” (248).

“Disidentification problematizes identity/identification and requires a contradictory stance toward critical pedagogy-leading to neither easy “consumption” nor rejection but instead to a field of force that is productive. Such a stance requires that we interrogate how citizenship, democracy, and nation-building have been encoded around cultural norms of race, sexuality, and gender” (249).

“As we assume collective responsibility for nonviolent modes of discourse, she insists that we remain desirous of change even as we surrender ourselves to the unknowable. It is our task to respond, imaginatively and compassionately” (252).

Notes: Allison Carr, “In Support of Failure”

Carr, Allison. “In Support of Failure.” Composition Forum 27 (2013).

failure is cool


Carr (re)situates failure from an assessment-oriented opposite-of-success to offer a queer-affective reclamation of failure in writing pedagogy.

Keywords: Failure, Affect, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Composition, Teaching of Writing, Pedagogy


Bartholomae, David. Inventing the University. Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Ellen Cushman et. al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. 511-24.

Burger, Edward. Teaching to Fail. Inside Higher Ed. 21 August, 2012.


“[F]ailure is difficult, maybe impossible, to define. When we talk about failure as a profession, we most often talk about assessment-based failure, which we’ve come to understand as an expected consequence of learning… I want to think about failure, then, as an affect-bearing concept… I want to highlight the inherent affectivity of the judgment and insist that when considered in the context of affect/emotion, failure reveals itself to be a deeply complex phenomenon that bears upon one’s private self-concept as well as one’s sense of oneself as a social being”

“[W]hen we think about re-conceptualizing failure, we have to think not only about the personal realm but also about the sociocultural context in which failure is embedded and throughout which it circulates”

“As an outcome of assessment, failure makes us profoundly aware of our place in social and academic strata. It makes the borders of our physical and emotional selves known to us, and it emphasizes the distance between ourselves and others”

  • I want to know what happens when failure isn’t the silent antithesis of success or the final and unspeakable consequence of struggle or deviance against social and/or pedagogical norms;
  • I want to know if it’s possible to fail without being erased, cast out;
  • I want to know what becomes possible when we stop thinking about education as a forward-moving, product-oriented march toward some mark of achievement, and instead we start thinking of it as something bent more toward chaos.

“A pedagogy of failure, then, would have to account for relationality as well as isolation—how all of the parts work on their own as well as how all of the parts work together, how these expectations are formed as well as how they are stretched or upset by the demands of particular contexts”

Notes: Sarah Barradell, “The Identification of Threshold Concepts: A Review of Theoretical Complexities and Methodological Challenges”

Barradell, S. (2013). The identification of threshold concepts: a review of theoretical complexities and methodological challenges. Higher Education, 65(2): 265-276.



Barradell overviews the ways that threshold concepts are decided and researched, proposing that a consensus methodology used with other methods may allow for threshold concepts to be appropriately identified within their disciplines.

Keywords: Threshold Concepts, Disciplinarity, Pedagogy, Higher Education, Curriculum Design, Interdisciplinarity


Tanner, B. (2011). Threshold concepts in practice education: Perspectives of practice education. Journal of Occupational Therapy 74.9: 427-434.

Taylor, C.E. (2008). Threshold Concepts, Troublesome Knowledge and ways of thinking and practising – can we tell the difference in Biology? In: Threshold Concepts in the Disciplines. R Land, JHF Meyer and J Smith (eds), pp. 185-197. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.


“Threshold concepts grew from a conceptual framework exploring ‘crucial topics or concepts that affect how the teaching is carried out and how understanding develops within that subject area'” (266).

“Threshold concepts may never be a ‘one-size-fits-all’; disciplinary differences regarding ways of thinking and practising professionally, academically, and pedagogically make sameness impossible and probably unnecessary” (267).

“[A] common interpretation of what a threshold is—and what makes it a threshold concept and for whom—needs to be established” (267).

“Representatives of the profession or similar wider community might have useful insights to offer given that disciplines are decided as much by professional issues, as they are academic ones…. These external concerns will influence the validity of the identified threshold concepts” (273).

Notes: William P. Banks, “Written Through the Body: Disruptions and ‘Personal’ Writing.”

Banks, William P. “Written Through the Body: Disruptions and ‘Personal’ Writing.”The Personal in Academic Writing. Spec. issue of College English 66.1 (2003): 21-40.



Banks explores an embodied writing and its challenges to the assumptions compositionists often make about making texts through his attentiveness to texts and composing bodies, and using non-fiction essay styles and fragmentation.

Keywords: Composition, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Pedagogy, Teaching of Writing, Embodiment


Fleckenstein, Kristie S. “Bodysigns: A Biorhetoric for Change.”JAC 21 (2001): 761-90.

hooks, bell. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994.


“I’ve begun to think that “personal” writing (which may or may not be explicitly narrative) is more complicated than “the narrative.” It requires more confidence than I had assumed, and it requires a greater knowledge of “self,” regardless of whether that “self” is unified or fragmented, Cartesian or postmodern” (22).

“[T]he clamoring to get away from an epistemology identified as “expressivist,” the term critical-meaning variously “distant,” “epistemic,” “socially responsible”-has be- come so commonplace as to rival process as the controlling god-term in composition studies. A discussion of “critical thinking” blazes, again, across the WPA-L discussion list even as I sit here editing this text for the last time before I surrender it to the editors of CE. The assumption, I suppose, is that the “personal” isn’t critical, isn’t socially responsible because it encourages a solipsistic narcissism of knowledge production” (22).

“First, violence is always already embodied. The violence, once inscribed on the body, is difficult to erase and, as such, may control the readings we do of ourselves, our experiences, and others. Second, and more important to this essay, embodied writing hedges because the body hedges, moves in fits and starts, pushes toward puberty and holds back, has days without knee pain and days with. Writing through the body lets writing make the same (often) tentative steps the body does, and as readers, we recognize those movements as metaphors of our own lived experience (Turner; Lakoff and Johnson; Fleckenstein, “Bodysigns”)” (25).

“It’s funny how bodies behave … or don’t. When I presented an early draft of this paper, I wanted to look at my audience, but I got nervous. I could feel my ears getting red, especially while reading about Steve and Michael. My body began to take over; it reasserted itself, even though I had thought that, in such a professional context, I could control it. Ah, Kristeva, how right you have been: no matter how we abject our bodies, particularly in the academy, they come back to haunt us. They make their claims on us/for us/in us/outside us. I can’t tell the story above and not know my body and mind are connected, intimately” (28).

“I realize that in sharing my stories, which also make possible the stories of those like me, I could offer these new colleagues and friends lenses through which to revise their own thinking, possibly even the embodied “arguments” they write. My em- bodied writing may require reflection and theorizing in others, the same way theirs makes me constantly reevaluate my understanding of the stereotypes I create for their positions. But the price seems so incredibly high that I often choose not to pay it” (30).

“The value of embodied rhetorics, as opposed to “personal writing,” rests on this distinction: it is, quite simply, impossible (and irresponsible) to separate the producer of the text from the text itself. Our belief that we could make such a separation has allowed masculinist rhetorics to become “universal” in modernist discourses because the bodies producing the discourse have been effectively erased, allowing them to become metonymies of experience and knowledge” (33).

“Embodied writing, which I’ve tried to manifest here, doesn’t follow the form of academic argument necessarily, may even stand starkly against it, or may incorporate it. It’s more like an amalgam of creative nonfiction and critical autobiography, where pieces of the puzzle stick out and the reader must pull them together with careful attention, feeling over the body of the text for symmetries, unities, coherences-which may exist in the most tenuous of ways, or not at all. It speaks to disciplined audiences and goes through a strenuous process of critique and revision. Likewise, the embodiment of my experiences in writing requires different metaphors, different (dis)organizing methods” (38).

William P.Notes: Banks, “The Values of Queer Jackering: What Happens When Student Writers Go Gay?”

Banks, William P. “The Values of Queer Jacketing: What Happens When Student Writers Go Gay?” MEAT Journal 1.2 (Winter 2005–06).



Banks discusses a method of queer(ing) his pedagogy through an assignment in which he had his students write coming-out narratives.

Keywords: Writing Studies, Composition, Pedagogy, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Cultural Rhetorics, Minority Rhetorics


Holland, Suzanne. “Levinas and Otherwise-than-Being (Tolerant): Homosexuality and the Discourse of Tolerance.” JAC: Journal of Composition Theory 23.1 (2003): 165-89.

Pollock, Della. “Performing Writing.” The Ends of Performance. Eds. Peggy Phelan and Jill Lane. New York: New York UP, 1998. 73-103.


“Honestly, I’m not concerned with a Platonic classroom or pedagogy, one in which the “ideal” assignment will create an “ideal” classroom or student. If nothing else, queer theories have pointed out why such simplistic worlds and teaching situations simply do not exist. In any classroom, there are students and teachers whose lived experiences are far more complex and disruptive than we may realize, but tapping into those experiences can create productive spaces for helping both teachers and students rethink their self-performances, all by way of disrupting the sort of heterosexist narratives that students have been exposed to and mimicked for so many years in school” (1).

“[W]riters do not rely on a definitive, essential self that they always project in their writings. Rather, writers have many options at their fingertips, methods for shifting “self” through changing style, voice, diction, position on a topic, etc. As the Internet has shown us repeatedly, the selves we perform in texts might be utterly unrecognizable to our friends, families, co-workers. Yet for all the postmodern theories of the anti-Cartesian self that we’ve read and studied, well-meaning writing teachers often continue to assume that students’ “transgressions” in texts demonstrate a relatively stable self” (2).

“One thing we must realize, particularly at this moment in history–as many of our students believe that the United States might once have been bad/prejudiced/unfair but now everything is O.K.–is that our students have probably “encountered” an Other, and in this case, an individual who doesn’t identify as LGBT. Part of encounter must involve reflection and processing, at least when that encounter is circumscribed by classroom spaces” (5).

“[A]s a teacher, I also know that moments of learning and experience are intensely rich and complicated. They eschew easy formulations, and often, the complexity of the intellectual work remains “hidden” from the assessment practices we develop” (14).

“Ultimately, our students deserve spaces to interrogate their unexamined positions and to interrogate ours as teachers. I’m talking here about kairotic time, a time that involves both chrono-logics and spatial logics” (16).