#RhetoricSoWhite QJS Forum

For several years, scholars in rhetorical studies specifically and communication studies more broadly have been critical of the ways in which the field(s) functions in ways that exclude scholars of color. In 2018, Chakravartty et. al. published “#CommunicationSoWhite” in the Journal of Communication — a piece that offered a clarion call about the whiteness of the broader field and provided data to demonstrate how communication’s exclusionary practices worked out in the publication pipeline.

Continue reading “#RhetoricSoWhite QJS Forum”

Recruitment and Advertising: Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies

This is my fourth, and for now final, post about best practices for recruiting underrepresented folks in communication studies. The first post helped frame the issues and provide a rationale. The second post laid out some initial steps involving relationship formation and partnerships with units like Latina/o/x studies and African American studies on your campuses.  Last week’s post was about some simple things that can be done to write job ads and propose hires that require minimal effort to diversify your pools. Today’s post is about putting in the effort to actually diversify your pool (or at least try).

The lack of attention to a variety of outlets and forums to recruit a more diverse applicant pool has become an unfortunate norm. Reflecting on where jobs were advertised in the most recent season of job recruitment, I was a little shocked and mostly dismayed at the lack of (minimal) effort from well intentioned people to recruit beyond CRTNET. 1. It’s 2017. 2. This isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a little critical thinking and you can advertise and draw from a wider pool. 3. CRTNET is a space that is often hostile to people of color and smart money has been on ignoring or unsubscribing from the listserv because of that hostility. Here are my recommendations. Continue reading “Recruitment and Advertising: Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies”

Proposing Hires: Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies

In December, I went live with a series about Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies. The second post in that series was about first steps — about making connections and forming relationships on your campus so that you can both setup a long-term plan and do some inherent good in supporting voices and programs that often lack full support at a PWI. This entry in my series is about proposing your new hires. This is the time of year (on my campus, at least) when deans are requesting proposals for new hires. So this post aims to offer some guidance about how you can proceed in a manner that keeps diversity, inclusion, and equity in mind.  Continue reading “Proposing Hires: Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies”

First Steps: Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies

Last week, I posted the first in a short series on “Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies.” Today’s post is about first steps that you can/should be engaging in to set the foundation for a broader strategy that involves making diversity, equity, and inclusion central to your new hires and, indeed, your department. I believe the most simple initial thing you can do is to make connections on campus and community. Continue reading “First Steps: Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies”

Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies

I was dismayed, this year, to see so few of the excellent job opportunities in communication studies get circulated within the networks for brown and black scholars in the field. I was particularly troubled that so few of the people I consider friends and “progressive” put in any effort to target scholars of color as part of their recruitment efforts. As such, I want to do something about that.

This post is the first of several that will become a kind of living document — a work-in-progress to help people identify some best practices to advertise beyond the CRTNET crowd and attain more racial diversity in communication studies job applicant pools and faculties. Items will be added as suggestions come in to me. If you have suggestions for additions/changes, please post in the comments here or on my Facebook posts sharing links to this story. If you would like to contact me to talk about these best practices (because you are a search chair, administrator, or member of the media), please email me at darrel {at} wanzerserrano {dot} com. Continue reading “Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies”

Award, Reviews, & Interviews: A Long, Overdue Post

Although I’ve tried to keep things updated on the Facebook page for my book, I wanted to keep the reviews and interviews collected together in one place for various reasons. So to make up for my absence from this blog (which I detailed in my last post), here’s what been up in the world of my book over the last year-plus, starting with the newest and biggest piece of news…. Continue reading “Award, Reviews, & Interviews: A Long, Overdue Post”

Tenure Earned

It seems like it took forever, but it’s finally official: I have earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at the University of Iowa.

Tenure & Promotion

Feels good. 🙂

On Disavowal as an Act of Love

In an interview on decolonial love in the Boston Review, Junot Diaz reflects about the sites of critique saying, “if a critique … doesn’t first flow through you, doesn’t first implicate you, then you have missed the mark; you have, in fact, almost guaranteed its survival and reproduction.” What does that mean? For those of us doing work about/with colonized and otherwise marginalized peoples, it is imperative that we consider seriously the ways in which our own theoretical, critical, and interpretive choices implicate and challenge the structures of domination that interest us so much. In other words, critique needs to start where we’re at and where we’ve been — it needs to start with a look inward at the ways in which we have shut down or failed to open up the channels of response-ability.

So how does this take me to disavowal?

When I re-started working on my book, about four or five years ago, I approached the project from a different set of perspectives compared to my dissertation research. Back when I was a grad student (and a lot less gray), I was moved by the intellectual currents of the time and my place … which basically meant that I was enamored with postmodernism, poststructuralism, post-Marxism, and probably any other “post” I could get my hands on. I started my project on the New York Young Lords by taking the critical and theoretical heuristics I had been using with my prior project (on ballots as “sublime object” of democracy) and basically started reading the Young Lords through their optics.

That move was a mistake. It may have allowed me to make some “interesting” arguments (yes, the scare-quotes are purposeful) about how the Young Lords enacted certain radical democratic sensibilities and imagined new forms of citizenship, but those arguments were misguided. Perhaps worse, those earlier arguments — which structured my dissertation, my first Quarterly Journal of Speech essay on the Young Lords garbage offensive, and some other writings — enacted a form of violence by forcing the Young Lords into a Western/Northern theoretical apparatus that occluded what they were up to. My actions reproduced coloniality and I disavow those arguments.

Some other aspects of my earlier scholarship were probably fine, I think. In that same garbage offensive essay, for example, I advanced a set of arguments about social movements and the importance of doing work that examines the intersections of verbal, visual, and embodied discourses — and I stand by (most of) that stuff today, partly because I think the “hegemony of textualism” (Conquergood) is rooted in a modern/Western/colonial bias. But the other stuff — the Eurocentric paradigms about discourse and democracy that motivated my research — I disavow. Decolonial love requires that we generate response-ability and listen to the cries of the dispossessed, in all of their fugitive communications, so that we might bear witness to their challenges to the logics and rhetorics of modernity. Even better if we can seize the opportunity to speak with them in challenging those structures of domination. You can’t do that if your only way of seeing and hearing and feeling and speaking is located squarely within the colonial matrix of power / knowledge / being.



This post was motivated by the reflexive turns I took when re-approaching my project on the New York Young Lords. I’m indebted to the students and faculty in the Communication Studies department at the University of Denver for giving me the opportunity to discuss these thoughts in October 2014. I’m also motivated to post *at this moment* given the many conversations I keep having at the National Communication Association’s 100th Annual Convention about the aforementioned garbage offensive essay (and my disavowal of key parts of it). Finally, some of my observations in this post appear (and are expanded upon) in my forthcoming book, The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation (Temple University Press, 2015). 

Book Status Update

I made it “official” to my friends on Facebook sometime last month, but I never posted about it here: my book is officially under contract at Temple University Press and should come out sometime in 2015!!! The book, currently titled Delinking: The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation, is over a decade in the making. It began as seminar paper, turned into a dissertation, and has been been the subject of some of my journal articles and book chapters since then.

This book almost didn’t happen. In fact, after doing The Young Lords: A Reader (NYU Press, 2010), I’d pretty much given up on turning my research into a full book monograph. Why? Well, I had a serious case of topic fatigue … and that was combined with a difficult time thinking about what angle I wanted to approach it from. I had grown bored with the radical democratic focus of the dissertation and my early journal articles (a theoretical focus I now repudiate); and the next frame I started thinking through (one focused on nationalism) ended abruptly when I encountered a new published article that did much of what I had been thinking about. It took a stern talking-to from my former adviser (something like, “Come on … just publish the damn thing”) and a reminder about decoloniality from some college debaters to kick me into gear. So here I am, now, finishing the edits and reflecting a bit about the process. Continue on for a brief summary of the book and what I’ll be blogging about next…. Continue reading “Book Status Update”

Mid-(Academic)-Year Update

Clearly, I’m the world’s worst blogger. To even call myself a “blogger” is probably a misnomer because it would suggest *some* degree of regularity … which just doesn’t exist. I think part of the problem/difficulty for me is a reality of the tenure track, and another part has to do with the reality of my non-academic life.

Being on the tenure track, the last year of my life has been consumed by my book project (for which I should receive reader reports any day, now) … and it hasn’t helped that I also served as planner for the largest division in the National Communication Association. To those on the tenure-track who still find time to blog, micro-blog, or whatever in an active and productive way, my hat is off to you! I just don’t know how someone can find time to prepare classes, grade, teach, research, write, present, do service, etc. — not to mention have a life outside of work — and STILL manage to have a vibrant and productive online presence. I hope to start blogging a bit more on the topic of professionalization (especially as it relates to Latin@s and other peoples of color in the academy) once my book stuff gets nailed down; but until then, I’ll probably remain mostly silent.

Also in the last year, I’ve been busy helping to plan a wedding, long distance, with my (now) wife, Nicole Wanzer-Serrano. We tied the knot on December 28th in Dallas! 🙂



Needless to say, between doing “the long distance thing” and doing the necessary things to keep a tenure-track job at a research intensive university, it can be hard to find the time to get up here and post things about research, teaching, and life. That said, I’m going to work real hard to make it up here at least once a month and post some thoughts on something — ANYTHING — to try to form a habit.