Research in Composition, Literacy, and Culture (Post-1800)

L762 — Fall 2020

Katherine Silvester
Days and Times
4:00 - 5:15p TR (4 CR)
Course Description

AUTHORIZIATION REQUIRED. English department graduate students and outside minors please email All other students please contact the instructor first for permission.


Topic: Decolonial Rhetorics

This graduate seminar explores the decolonial turn in writing and rhetorical studies with emphasis on new and emerging methods for articulating local projects that challenge hegemonic models of thinking while contributing to a more expansive vision of the knowledges and worlds that comprise our field. Taking Romeo García and Damián Baca’s co-edited collection Rhetorics of Elsewhere and Otherwise: Contested Modernities, Decolonial Visions (winner of CCCC 2020 Outstanding Book Award) as a starting point, we will begin the course by considering the historical and theoretical foundations of decolonial scholarship in the field of writing and rhetorical studies and how these foundations are informing current stakes, terms, hopes, and methodological options for engaging in a different kind of rhetorical work, a kind of work that is not merely inclusive of othered, non-Western, subaltern, and borderland rhetorics, but is actively engaged in changing the terms and contents of our work. Building on this foundation, we will pay close attention to recent rhetorical scholarship and research studies that deploy decolonial frameworks and methods to investigate hierarchies of knowledge production, reclaim indigenous epistemologies, propose theories of vernacular rhetoric, and trouble the colonial hegemony of writing scholarship and pedagogy. Together, we will work to develop methodologies of decolonial practice that push our own work in new directions, imagining a “future [that] does not rest with the West as the center, but lies fundamentally anchored in the principles of humanity-for-all” (García and Baca 32).


Assignments include weekly readings, facilitation of class discussions and short response papers. The semester will culminate in a research-based or pedagogical project that articulates emerging decolonial practices or methods. Additional decolonial theorists and rhetorical scholars who are likely to influence our work are Aníbal Quijano, Walter Mignolo, María Lugones, Gloria Anzaldúa, Victor Villanueva, Ellen Cushman, Jacqueline Jones Royster, Bruce Horner, John Trimbur, Andrea Lundsford, Lahoucine Ouzgane, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Lu Ming Mao, Iris Ruiz, Raúl Sánchez, Eve Tuck, K. Wayne Yang, Resa Crane Bizzaro, Scott Lyons, Keith Gilyard, Stacey Sowards, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano, and Malea Powell.

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

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