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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Syracuse University conference to explore community-based activism

Composition and Cultural Rhetoric graduate students are hosting the conference

April 16, 2012, by Judy Holmes

CARR conference logo
CARR conference logo
Syracuse University will present: “Reading, Writing, and Speaking for Change: Conference on Activism, Rhetoric, and Research (CARR),” 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 in the Hall of Languages. Keynote speakers are Seth Kahn of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, who is active in labor and counterculture movements; and Minnie Bruce Pratt, longtime community activist and professor of women and gender studies and writing and rhetoric in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The conference is open to members of the University community and the general public.  Registration information and a conference schedule are available on the CARR web site. Parking is available in SU’s paid lots.

Kahn’s keynote address will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Pratt will speak from 4 to 5 p.m.  Graduate students in the Writing Program’s Composition and Cultural Rhetoric Program in The College of Arts and Sciences are organizing and hosting the conference.

Activism is a special kind of social and intellectual work that invites a range of participants to act for social justice—community residents, workers, students, teachers, researchers, or neighboring allies. The goal of the conference is to share information about how community-based activists study and engage in their endeavors—how they read, write, and speak for change. Community-based activists as well as SU faculty and students are invited to submit papers, posters, and other presentations for consideration. Information about submissions is available on the CARR web site.

About the Keynote Speakers
Seth Kahn is an associate professor of English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He teaches courses in writing, activist rhetoric, and propaganda, and is heavily involved in the statewide faculty union. Recent publications include the co-edited collection, Activism and Rhetoric: Theories and Contexts for Political Engagement (with Jong Hwa Lee, Hawaii Pacific University), and a forthcoming issue of the journal Open Words on contingent labor and educational access. Kahn is guest co-editor of the journal with Amy Lynch-Biniek (Kutztown University) and Sharon Henry (Clemson University). Kahn continues to serve as the unofficial spokesperson for the CCCC Labor Caucus.  

Minnie Bruce Pratt is dually appointed in the departments of Women and Gender Studies and the Writing Program in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. She is a lesbian writer and white anti-racist, anti-imperialist activist, from Selma, Alabama. She holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  A lifelong activist, her essay, "Identity: Skin Blood Heart," considered a feminist classic, chronicles her work in a grassroots effort to organize women in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Pratt’s poetry collection, Crime Against Nature, received the 1989 Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets, the 1991 American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Book Award for Literature, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Lillian Hellman-Dashiell Hammett Award from the Fund for Free Expression. Her most recent collection of poetry, Inside the Money Machine (Carolina Press, 2011), is a passionate look at people who survive and resist inside the money machine of capitalism.

Conference sponsors
The conference is made possible by support from SU’s Office of the Chancellor; the Writing Program and the departments of Women and Gender Studies and African American studies in The College of Arts and Sciences; SU’s LGBT Resource Center; the School of Social Work in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics; the Renée Crown University Honors Program; Hendricks Chapel; the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts; the departments of anthropology, geography, and political science in the Maxwell School; and the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at Colgate University.