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Decolonizing Rhetoric for the 21st Century

Workshop Leaders:Aimee Carrillo Rowe, California State University Northridge; Darrel Wanzer-Serrano, University of Iowa

Workshop Leaders:

Aimee Carrillo Rowe, California State University Northridge
Darrel Wanzer-Serrano, University of Iowa

A recent turn to Latinx decolonial theories and methods points to the ways rhetorical studies in the U.S. has been dominated by modern/Western epistemologies and a concomitant zero-point rationality that has excluded non-white, non-Western voices from its theorizing and, largely, from its objects of study. Another turn to Indigenous Studies’ theories and methods exposes how rhetorical studies, like the U.S. itself, has benefitted from a settler colonial epistemology that dispossesses Indigenous peoples within its geopolitical zones of contact—in ways that are similar to and different from its marginalization of people of color. Oftentimes, even the most methodologically progressive critical cultural studies, postcolonial, and critical race rhetoric projects are grounded in assumptions that presume and erase settler/colonial epistemologies, so that even critics’ best attempts to challenge systems of exclusion and privilege unwittingly reify the normatively white Enlightenment subject, and the settler/colonial grounds on which it is formed. Our reproduction of settler/colonial logics are foundational to theories of racial, (post)colonial, and material formations as our knowledge production not only erases the identities and experiences of first nations and colonized peoples, but also perpetuates and remains complicit with settler/colonial projects.

Taking seriously the problem of the settler and the goals of decoloniality and decolonization, this workshop is geared toward forging a path for anti-colonial rhetorical theories and methodologies. Anchored in a core set of readings from informed by Indigenous Studies’ approaches to settler colonialism and Latinx/Hemispheric studies approaches to de/coloniality, the workshop will cultivate lines of affinity between the two while still appreciating points of divergence and disagreement. Participants will submit 1000-word papers in which they apply Indigenous/Latinx Studies theories and methods to an artifact of choice. The papers will be distributed to all participants and provide focus for discussion over the extended weekend.

Questions should be directed to Darrel Wanzer-Serrano at

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