Friday, March 13, 2009

Reflections on the Annual CCCC Convention

For those of you disciplinary folk who read my blog, y'all know it's that time of year when rhetoric and composition (and a few education, linguistics, and communication) folk flock to the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention (our field's premier conference) to give academic talks, act like academic/intellectuals, hear ourselves gab just for the heck of it, perpetrate like we gots credentials and a desk job, and stuff. This year the convention was in San Francisco and the weather, while sunny, was a bit chilly. The convention ends tomorrow (I do plan on attending a few final sessions), but I would like to reflect on the highs, lows, and iffys from this years conference:

The Highs:
The food! We had some pretty good Thai food, excellent ice cream from Gelatos, croissant french toast from the Mason Cafe, and the food court in the mall is serious! They even sell wine in the food court (no, I didn't have any!) and really good guacamole and chips. It's not your typical food court with a Subway, Taco Bell and some random pizza place.

The mall! Less than a 5 minute walk from our hotel was a Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and a host of other fabulous stores. Too bad I didn't have much cash, but I did manage to buy a couple of things from Macys and H&M, which I could afford! *smile

An excellent panel! I was the respondent on a Student's Right to Their Own Language (SRTOL) panel with several first-time presenters. Their work was exceptional and each added complexity to the yes/no debate for using home language varieties in classroom spaces. Kudos to Bonnie, Latoya, and Crystal!

The Lows:
The lack of collegiality during our panel. While I understand that critique is a part of academe, some folk overdo it just to hear themselves talk, even when they have nothing meaningful to say. Others do it as a vehicle for self-aggrandizement. I found both to be the case at our panel. Let me remind you that we had first-time presenters, and one particular scholar (a Black one at that!) corrected one of our panelists for conflating some terminology (in his opinion, I'm not quite sure that this was in fact the case). Not that he didn't have the right to make this criticism; however, this issue did not need to be addressed publicly. And, he misinterpreted something I said in my response, thus, prompting me to reread verbatim what I actually said to put him in check. I find especially problematic when men (including men of color) go after women of color (which all of us on the panel were), and especially graduate students. So much for community solidarity.

The Iffys:
I went to the annual CCCC Scholars for the Dream Award Reception (an award I won last year--hee hee) to support new award recipients. For those less familiar, this award recognizes a first time presenter of an historically underrepresented group whose research the committee believes will make significant contributions to the field. At the reception, they did things a bit differently. This year, they had each award winner display a poster of their scholarship in a poster session. I guess the idea behind this, was to get people to walk around like a science fair and engage their work. I see the value of encouraging folk to actually engage recipients' research. After all, not a single person asked me last year when I won about my research and scholarship at the reception. But I'm not sure about using the poster session to engage the dream scholars' work. First of all, the recipients had to stay with their posters and couldn't really mingle themselves. Second, this forced dream recipients to prepare two presentations for one paper: a poster and the conference paper they still had to give; isn't that quite a bit of work? Finally, the idea of putting folk of color on display for public viewing just don't sit right with me. I have mixed feelings about this addition.

There you have it. That's CCCC 2009.


Revvy Rev said...

" I find it especially problematic when men (including men of color) go after women of color (which all of us on the panel were), and especially graduate students"...

Many will bring a negative critique of your aggressive response without considering the equally aggressive sexism which provoked it.

IMO, any attack via racism, sexism, or classism demands that it be firmly checked immediately even if the response is seen as having an adult tantrum by some.

SjP said...

Sounds like a wonderful conference - and congrats on receiving the award last year. Probably should have won it again ::smile::

BTW: how's that dissertation coming?

Prof. PC said...


The dissertation is going well. I've drafted 3 chapters. Just been too exhausted to write about the process/progress. I hope to post some updates on my blog soon!

I LOVE YOU said...
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