University of Minnesota
literacy & rhetorical studies
center for writing

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Research Series

The LRS Minor Research Series promotes awareness of current scholarship about literacy and rhetoric by providing an opportunity for faculty and students affiliated with the LRS Minor to present their research.

See the past Research Series page for information about past Research Series events.

This spring 2021, we will feature the following virtual events:

Listening to Voices of Protest and Critique

Friday, March 5, 2021
12:00–1:00 pm

Register via this form to have the Zoom link sent to you.

Reading the Protest Signs: Blaming Justice System as "Rapist”   

Asmita Ghimire (MA, English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies, UMN–Duluth, 2020 LRS Travel Award winner; PhD candidate, University of Texas - El Paso)

Feminists in the Global South differentiate themselves from feminists in the Global North via intersectionality, noting their cultures, economic statuses, political systems and experiences. Particularly, pioneering studies on transnational feminism highlight the identification of women in the Global South in terms of different cultural and material situations (Narayana, Mohanty), experiences based on political situations and war (Anzaldúa, Cooke), and political praxis (hook, Naples). Some even go beyond these geographical, material, cultural, and political factors to examine the complexity of intersectionality in terms of discursive representation (Narayana). This presentation goes beyond these concepts of intersectional difference, as highlighted by feminists in both Global South and North, to propose that feminists across cultures may need to rethink their paradigm of intersectional differences. By highlighting concurrent struggles by female protestors across cultures for political justice, as exemplified by recent incidents of protest against female rape in both the Global South and North, this presentation studies the protest sign from the Suresh Canagarajah perspective of World English and rhetorically analyzes the use of protest sign from the Kenneth Burke perspective of identification. The use of World English allows the travel of protest signs from one culture to another, from India to Nepal and Mexico to the United States, and this success in sharing protest signs suggests that female oppression is not culturally specific. This presentation concludes that these protest signs against rape illustrate that women across cultures share similar oppressions.  


Field Mice: A North Dakota Family Farm Faces the Pernicious Effects of Modern Agribusiness

Sarah Lawler (MA candidate, English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies, UMN–Duluth, 2020 Summer Thesis Fellowship winner)

“Field Mice” is a literary nonfiction narrative concerning the author’s experiences on her family’s farm in South Central North Dakota, in which she critiques modern agribusiness practices necessitated by monocultural farming. Of these practices, the use of glyphosate, a plant desiccant found in popular herbicides such as Roundup, is examined for its deleterious effects on land, nonhuman, and human health. Despite growing evidence to suggest that glyphosate is not the innocuous product it was misleadingly marketed to be, farmers continue to rely on the synthetic technology to meet industry demands for product yield and profit gain. The tensions between agricultural progress, farmers’ livelihoods, and a symbiotic land ethic underscore the narrative as the author grapples between her family’s past practices, the terrible consequences on her father’s health, and the future of their farming legacy.


International Students, Identity, and Accessibility

Kirsten Jamsen (Director, Center for Writing, and Assistant Professor, Department of Writing Studies, UMN–Twin Cities)

Responding to Shanti Bruce’s 2009 call to “directors and tutors to experience their writing center environments through the eyes of their second language students” (218), the UMN Center for Writing joined forces with International Student and Scholar Services to conduct a series of focus groups with international undergraduate and graduate student writers. These focus group conversations revealed that students have much to say about their complex identities as writers, their place within writing centers, how writing consultants can best support them, and how writing centers can be more accessible, welcoming, and responsive to their needs. Listening to these international student voices reveals how writing centers and other student support services must take the initiative in opening up conversations with and among students to create the conditions for their success.


Translation and Transformation in the Work of Teaching Writing

Wednesday, February 3, 2021
12:00–12:55 pm
This event will be held as a special joint session with the Department of Writing Studies Parlor event.

Register via this form to have the Zoom link sent to you.

Negotiation & Translation in Literacy and Rhetorical Studies Work: Transformative Theory to LRS Teaching Practice

Alexander Champoux-Crowley (PhD candidate, Writing Studies, UMN–Twin Cities, LRS 2019 Summer Dissertation Fellowship winner)

This talk arises out of the work completed thanks to the LRS Summer Dissertation Fellowship on how Writing Program Administrators (WPAs) in postsecondary First Year Writing (FYW) programs support the translation of transformative theories of language and education (critical, feminist, antiracist, decolonial, translingual, etc.) to practice. In even broader contexts, though, and in the many roles we might inhabit as LRS scholars, we all might find ourselves faced with similar opportunities to function as conduits for this transformative knowledge from our fields, to highlight literacy and rhetorical education as a site of complex ideological struggle rather than simply skill training or service work.


Comfort with the Unconventional: Liminality as a Feature of Faculty Discussions of Writing 

Daniel Emery and Matthew Luskey (Assistant Directors, Writing Across the Curriculum, UMN–Twin Cities)

The faculty development work of the Writing-Enriched Curriculum illustrates a significant and crucial gap between student and faculty assessment of writing ability. This work uncovers persistent differences in attitude, outlook, and experience that accord with our understanding of the transformative character of threshold concepts. We view these initial differences as highlighting important conceptual and epistemological divisions between faculty and students, between experts and novices, indicative of those who have already been initiated in disciplinary discourses and those who have yet to experience a process of acculturation. This presentation will address the implications of liminality as a theoretical and practical feature of teaching with writing.


The interdisciplinary graduate minor in Literacy and Rhetorical Studies (LRS) offers graduate students on the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses opportunities to interrogate issues related to writing and literacy, and to do so with faculty members drawn from disciplines across the University.