Associate Professor, Writing and Rhetoric
Co-Founder, Syrians for Truth and Justice
Editor, Studies in Writing and Rhetoric
Founder, New City Community Press
Co-Editor (with Eileen Schell), Writing Culture and Community Practice
Co-Editor (with Cristina Kirklighter), Working and Writing for Change
Parlorpress.com (Beginning 2017)
As a Scholar
My initial entry in the field of composition and rhetoric was to explore the history of the “Students Right To Their Own Language,” an effort to link classroom practice, institutional resources, and broad calls for social change in support of non-traditional students. As a result of this work, I have become increasingly interested in the ways in which the academy defines and relates to its surrounding communities, exploring what it might mean to draw the resources of the university into alignment with community-defined needs. It was this work that lead to the creation of New City Community Press in Philadelphia, an effort to use community publishing linked to grassroots activism - a model which was deeply indebted to the practices of the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers, located in the United Kingdom.
These scholarly efforts which have been expanded through my work at Syracuse University, resulting in explorations of how service-learning and community partnership work provides a rich model to understand the nature and goals of political and social movement rhetoric in a broader global context. Most recently, this work has led to me developing an international archive of working class writing with London Metropolitian University (along with Jess Pauszek, CCR student) as well as an international collaborative with scholars in Italy and France exploring the changing nature of working class identity in a neo-liberal age. In addition, I have worked with human rights activists in the Middle East, exploring how community partnership and publication can foster democratic activism. This work has led to my helping to create Syrians for Truth and Justice, a collaboration of Syrian activist dedicated to both reporting the human rights abuses occurring in Syria as well as documenting past abuses for the international human rights courts.
As an Editor
For the past fifteen years, I have been fortunate to create as well as to edit academic journals and book series, as well as found a community press. This experience has taught of the ways in which editorial work can foster an intersectional form of scholarship premised on foundational concepts of social and political justice. It has also taught me that, as a field, Composition and Rhetoric has not sufficiently acknowledged the important contributions by African American, Latino, Native American, LBGTQ, and Asian American Communities – particularly when these identities are supplemented by categories of class and gender. Nor has the field adequately published the work of individuals working in the diverse labor conditions (adjunct, non-tenure track) which mark this field or the diverse institutions (community college, tribal college, HBCUs) in which large numbers of our “writing students” enroll. Much of my work as an academic editor has been to align with the many scholars of our feld and to work hard to understand how expanding publishing frameworks can support structural intellectual changes to our intellectual and institutional structures.
As a community publication editor, I have worked to develop models which recognize the organic intellectual understanding a community brings to their daily life and to co-construct writing groups and publications which represent those insights. Part of this work has also entailed linking the publications to grass roots struggles for economic and political change. Here I believe I have come to understand how the concepts of literacy, community, and partnership can begin to articulate back to our work in the academy, as teachers, administrators, and scholars. Or at least, this is my hoped for connection between the two domains in which I undertake editorial work.
“Generating the Field: The Role of Editors in Disciplinary Formation,” with Victor Villanuva and Cynthia Selfe,” Composition Studies, Forthcoming, 2017.
“Then Comes Fall: An Essay on Activism, the Arab Spring, and the Necessity of Unruly Borders,” in Unruly Rhetorics, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.
“The Powerful Potential of Relationships and Community Writing,” multiple authors, forthcoming Community Literacy Journal, 2017.
“Interview with Steve Parks,” Jennifer Hitchcock, Community Literacy Journal, 2016.
“Sinners Welcome: The Limits of Rhetorical Agency,” College English 2014.
“Emergent Strategies for an Established Field,” Journal of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2010 (with Nick Pollard)
“Strategic Speculations on the Question of Value: The Role of Community Publishing in English Studies,” College English, 2009.
“Writing Beyond the Curriculum,” with Eli Goldblatt, reprinted in Community Literacy in Composition, St. Martins Press.
Writing Communities: A Handbook with Readings. Bedford St. Martins, 2016.
Class Politics: The Movement for Students Right To Their Own Language (NCTE 2001/2nd Edition Forthcoming 2013)
Circulating Communities: The Tactics and Strategies of Community Publishing, with Paula Mathieu and Tiffany Rousculp (Lexington Press, 2012/Forthcoming)
Listening to our Elders: Writing and Working for Change (with Cristina Kirklighter and Samantha Blackmon), Utah State University Press, 2011
The Best Writing from Independent Journals of Composition and Rhetoric (with Linda Adler-Kassner, Brian Bailie, and Collette Caton), Parlor Press, 2011
The Republic of Letters: Worker Writing and Local Publishing. Eds, Scholarly Edition. Parks/Pollard. Syracuse University Press, 2010.
Gravyland: Writing Beyond the Curriculum in the City of Brotherly Love (Syracuse University Press, 2010)