Monday, December 19, 2016

Decolonizing Rhetoric and Composition: New Latinx Key Words for Theory and Pedagogy

My Chapter on the Decolonial Potential of Blogs for Latinx Academics

On Dec 16th, the new edited collection Decolonizing Rhetoric and Composition Studies: New Latinx Keywords for Theory and Pedagogywas just released. The contributors and editors to this collection are a remarkable group of scholars that address a really fascinating range of topics and issues through a variety of decolonial lenses. As I note above, my chapter examines the discussion of the trope Poch@/a/o/x by Latinx scholars in rhetoric and composition who use the blog platform, which provides decolonial potential in the ability to produce knowledge outside of dominant mechanism of publishing and knowledge authorization/distribution.

The preview on Google Books below is limited, but at least the Table of Contents is available to check out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bread Loaf Teachers Network Article

Santa Fe Spotlight: Multimodal Writing in a Digital Age

In the recent issue of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network Journal, there's a spotlight on the course I taught this past summer in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Bread Loaf School of English. The article includes my introduction to the course along with a couple great mulitmodal pieces by Cyrus Dudgeon and Claire Abisalih. 

Below is the video created by Cyrus Dudgeon. It is a remediation of his teaching philosophy that focuses on bringing imagination and creativity into the classroom to engage students in underresourced schools. I found this video to be extremely personal and inspirational. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Interview with Ana Castillo

This Rhetorical Life Podcast

This past summer, I had the privilege of teaching with Chicana writer Ana Castillo for the Bread Loaf School of English in Santa Fe, NM. While we were in Santa Fe, I had the opportunity to sit down with Ana and interview her for the This Rhetorical Life podcast out of Syracuse University. We had a chance to discuss different aspects of writing, her recent memoir Black Dove: Mamá, Mi'jo, and Meand how Chicana feminism can help us to think about this current historical moment.

Listen here:

Or at the This Rhetorical Life podcast website 

Find it here on iTunes: 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bread Loaf Teacher Network Twitter Chat

This evening I was invited to take part in the Bread Loaf Teacher Network Twitter Chat on Language Difference. Here is the Storify that I put together from the engaging discussion.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

#BLTN Twitter Chat

Bread Loaf Teachers Network Twitter Chat

This evening at 5pm Pacific on Twitter, I'll be taking part in the Bread Loaf Teachers Network chat on Linguistic Diversity. Using the hashtag #BLTN, we'll be discussing how K-12 English teachers seek to incorporate different heritage languages in the classroom. Below is the flyer that Lorena German was nice enough to put together for the Twitter chat.

Visit the Bread Loaf Teacher Network on Facebook:

Bread Loaf School of English:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Watch What is at Stake for Racial Justice in 2016

Video from Bannan Institute Panel

On October 5, I had the opportunity to speak with a Bannan Institute faculty collaborative on a roundtable panel, addressing the question of 'what is at stake for racial justice in 2016?' With the presidential election next month, the question particularly resonated in terms of the political rhetoric that has included xenophobia, among other demonstrative abuses of power through language. Faculty fellow Brett Solomon opened and facilitated the discussion, and Anthony Hazard and William O'Neil S.J. provided excellent insights into the nuances and complexities of the issue at this historical moment. 

What Is at Stake for Racial and Ethnic Justice in 2016? Stronger Together, Making America Great Again
Brett Johnson Solomon, 
Anthony Hazard, 
Cruz Medina, 

& William O'Neill S.J.

Learn more about this Faculty Collaborative: 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Faculty Collaborative for the Bannan Institute

Racial and Ethnic Justice and the Common Good

This fall I will be taking part in an interdisciplinary faculty seminar on racial and ethnic justice and the common good, contributing to the Jesuit, Catholic vocation at Santa Clara University as a transformative social force. In addition to contributing to the seminar with my own talk on January 23, 2017, I will also be taking part in a Bannan Institute podcast--Integral--which launches in Winter 2017. 

Below is a snapshot from the SCU website, which can be seen here.

Our first event will be the panel discussion "What is at Stake for Racial and Ethnic Justice in 2016? Stronger Together, Making America Great Again," where Brett Solomon, Anthony Hazard, William O'Neil, and I will discuss the implications of the coming election with regard to the topic of racial justice, within the context of our academic disciplines.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Guest Blogger Sonia Arellano

Cruz's Note: It's my pleasure to have Sonia Arellano, PhD Candidate at the University of Arizona, contribute a guest post in which she discusses her research on migrants who have disappeared along the border. Arellano's work is innovative--and extremely necessary--paying respect through the memorial of lives that would otherwise be forgotten.

Heart, Mind, and Body in Quilting Research

By Sonia Arellano, University of Arizona

My mom, Christine Moreno, is a self taught seamstress. She learned to sew in her teens to make clothes for herself, her sisters, and even for my grandma. The sound of a sewing machine at medium pace is the peaceful sound that filled my childhood. I always had the best costumes at Halloween, and my pants were always just the right length despite my short height. I learned to sew the way I learned to cook, from just watching my mom, but I couldn’t tell you exactly how to thread a bobbin or what basting was. As I entered the dissertation stage of my Ph.D., I sought a tactile action to give me a break from reading and writing, so my mom gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and sewing lessons later that summer. What an incredible teacher she is, although an accountant by profession. She taught me with ease and reassured me that if I mess up, I can just rip the seam and try again. She made sewing a fun and low stakes activity.

I never thought I would start quilting in my 30s, and I surely never thought I would ever be a quilter. My stepmom, Kathryn Arellano, was not a quilter, but she came from a family of feminist quilters from northeastern Oklahoma. When Kathy passed three years ago, I inherited a beautiful shadow box dedicated to my great grandmother and a double wedding ring quilt that my grandmother made for my stepmom and dad when they married.

Because these material objects have what Nora Ruth Roberts calls “heirloom-value,” inheriting them has made me deeply contemplate our relationships to things, especially in death. Both of these women, my mom and my stepmom, made their ways in the world as single moms and feminists, and they passed along sewing and quilting which brings my heart to my current research, quilts.

My research focuses on textile projects that address social justice issues. My current work focuses on the Migrant Quilt Project, a project based out of Tucson, Arizona, and facilitated by the volunteer group Los Desconocidos. This group makes quilts that memorialize migrant deaths by naming each migrant found in the Tucson Border Patrol Sector in a particular year. When the migrant is not identified, they are listed as "Desconocido/a," meaning unknown in Spanish. When I tell people about this project, they are intrigued, but they often are most interested to learn that the quilts are made from clothing left behind at migrant lay-up sites. The clothing presumable belonged to migrants who were crossing the Sonoran Desert to enter the US. I decided to focus on this group for my dissertation work, completing interviews and analyzing the quilts. However, I quickly got folded into the group as I agreed to complete a quilt.

To facilitate the making and showing of my quilt, I received a grant and fellowship. The Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute (SBSRI) Dissertation Research Grant, covered interview and quilt materials, including a quilt class which helped me turn my experience of making clothing, into beginner knowledge of quilting. The Confluencenter Graduate Fellowship, will aid an upcoming symposium “Activist Quilters & The Migrant Quilt Project” at the University of Arizona, an opportunity for the local community to experience the evocative power of the quilts in person. This fellowship will also facilitate my travel to the 9th Annual Expo Patchwork & Quilt in Mexico City, to show my completed quilt. I am thankful that the University of Arizona recognizes the potential for my interdisciplinary work to engage not only the local community but also the international community.

Starting the quilt for the year 2002-2003 which has 205 names, took me a while. The pressure I felt, especially as a rhetorician, was overwhelming because I wanted to accurately, thoughtfully, and effectively memorialize the migrant lives lost in this year. As I cataloged the clothes, I realized their details told stories. For example, one pair of jeans had been worn down at the hem of both pant legs, and the owner had hand sewn the pants themselves. Another pair of light jeans had rust colored blood stains splattered on them. How the blood got there is left up to our imaginations.

These are the material manifestations of the stories that writers such as Luis Alberto Urrea (The Devil’s Highway) and Jason De León (The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail) chronicle of the crossing journey. I decided to craft the state of Arizona by piecing denim and then map the deaths onto the desert using the Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants. I’m still working through how and where to include the 205 names. Some days I cry as I sew. Other days I cry as I cut. My sewing machine has a thin layer of desert dirt on it from piecing the jeans together. I am acutely aware of my privilege in completing this quilt as it is starkly juxtaposed with the migrant stories conveyed through the clothing.

As I quilt, the pressure to respectfully and thoughtfully represent migrant deaths weighs on me more than writing my dissertation. The stakes feel different. Quilting has proven to be an incredibly rigorous and emotional research process. My research and heart is necessarily connected to the migrants memorialized in the quilt and the women in my family who have a legacy of producing textiles. My heart, my mind, and my body are all involved in this research process, which is an incredibly exhausting, critical, and productive space to work in.

Sonia C. Arellano is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation tentatively titled “Quilting the Migrant Trail: Crafted Rhetorical Text(iles) and (Counter) Narratives” explores what lives are deemed grievable through the rhetorical contributions of quilt projects that memorialize migrant lives.

Sonia Arellano's University of Arizona page:

Read more from Sonia Arellano here: