E68: How can podcasting help us re:engage with social justice (inside and outside the academy)? // 2022 Computers & Writing Conference Special Episode


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By re:verb, Calvin Pollak, and Alex Helberg. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

This episode was produced as a virtual panel presentation for the 2022 Computers and Writing Conference. It has been 2 years in the making, and we’re so pleased to finally present it to you!

Academics have been increasingly using podcasts as rhetorically rich tools for achieving pedagogical goals and re-theorizing the power and potential of sonic rhetorics. While academic podcasts can serve as a useful medium for scholarly conversations among insiders, less explored has been the potential for such podcasts to accommodate critical knowledge practices and disciplinary concepts for broader audiences. Our podcast, re:verb, attempts to bridge the divide between intellectual knowledge and activist practice, showcase movements and causes, and discuss activist practice through rhetorical lenses. Through these discussions, we attempt to synthesize knowledges inside and outside the academy, and demystify activism by rhetorically analyzing the thought processes that go into planning and executing it.

For this panel presentation and special episode of re:verb, three of our co-producers - Calvin Pollak, Alex Helberg, and Sophie Wodzak - reached out to individuals working on social justice projects in our own local communities. Alex presents his conversation with Dani Singerman, a food justice advocate in Hartford, CT, who has been working on a project to mobilize resources for constructing a grocery store in the North End neighborhood of the city. Sophie Wodzak reconnects with previous guest and friend of the show Crystal Grabowski, who has been advocating for reproductive justice and abortion access in Western Pennsylvania for years. And finally, Calvin Pollak shares a conversation with his colleague Avery Edenfield, a faculty member in the English Department at Utah State University, about his work advocating for LGBTQ+ issues in a variety of different contexts. For the “Q&A” portion of our panel, the three co-producers reconvene to discuss our major take-aways from our conversations, and reflect on the rhetorical dimensions of contemporary activist practice, including: how to break down a “big” issue into smaller, more actionable “chunks”; the need to account for the “slow” work of activism, and how seemingly small actions it can still have a massive impact on others’ well-being; and finally, the importance of ethical collaborations between scholars and activists, celebrating the different situated expertise(s) that everyone can bring to the table.

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