"Enough With the Theory, Already?"

By Rita Malenczyk, Eastern Connecticut State University

In their call for blog posts, Joe and Tim offered a number of suggestions for writing, one of which was to write about what struck us in Craig’s and Perryman-Clark’s article. Two things, then, in response to that “prompt,” both of which have to do with bodies. I was struck by how often we as WPAs encounter each other through texts, and how problematic those encounters can be simply because they elide the presence of the body—which is so extremely present in both Craig’s and Perryman-Clark’s narratives. (I haven’t been able to get the image of Craig sitting alone in his hotel room out of my mind.) This encountering-through-texts makes some sense, given that we’re scholars. We read, we write, that’s what we do.

But then there’s this, at the beginning of the essay, on pages 37-38:

As first time attendees of one of the CWPA conferences, we noticed the limited representation of people of color, and were left to wonder why. When and where do we enter this conversation and how might we be more visibly represented in CWPA?

This essay forefronts how looking at WPA work from both a gendered and racial perspective extends the implicative roles of identity politics in navigating administrative work within the context of university writing programs.

Wait a second. What happened between those two paragraphs? What I want to know is: Why do we see so few bodies of color at the conference? Why are faculty of color so underrepresented, and how might CWPA change that? We’ve been tiptoeing around this issue for a long time. Now I’m chairing a task force on diversity that I hope will address it head-on. At this summer’s CWPA conference in Albuquerque, there will be a number of relevant panels and presentations (e.g., one about writing programs in tribal colleges, another on HBCUs, another on faculty of color) and I plan to be there and ask a lot of questions, one of which might be: can we (assuming you are a WPA or faculty member of color or you work with a lot of students of color and I am, well, me, the white CWPA Vice President) have a face-to-face, body-to-body conversation about this? I’m sick of hiding behind texts. Let’s dance.