About This Syllabus

This syllabus emerged from an ongoing crisis in the discipline of Communication Studies. While scholars at the margins have long argued that Communication Studies was hostile to their being, scholarship, and identity, recent events have pierced the discipline's white center.

First, Chakravartty et al.'s (2018) watershed essay, #CommunicationSoWhite  finds, "that non-White scholars are significantly underrepresented as published authors and under-cited as producers of value in the field of communication" (p. 261). Further, McGee and Cisneros (2018) explain the ways in which the problem of racial hostility extends to sub-fields as well, "our overarching take-away is that the 'imperative of racial rhetorical criticism' necessitates not only challenging canons, theories, and methods, but also the forms of education, knowledge production, and circulation that structure Rhetoric" (p. 300).

Second, during the summer of 2019, emergent challenges to the ways the National Communication Association (NCA) selects its Distinguished Scholars (DS), and the racial homogeneity of the vast majority of DS awardees made the structural whiteness of NCA very clear. The full effect of this schism still remains unclear, but the ensuing conversation has been divisive and demonstrated apparent antipathy towards diversity and hostility toward the experiences of scholars at the margins of Communication Scholars. You can find a full timeline of these events here

As three white scholars in Communication Studies, we recognize that our identities, citational practices, and privilege are part of the structural problem in the field. Even as committed anti-racists, we benefit from white privilege and support racist structures. Rather than demanding that scholars at the margins do the work of teaching us, we assembled this document so that we (and hopefully many others) can work to understand the myriad ways our discipline, institutions, and profession is hostile to a variety of scholars. We do want to credit the many scholars in the Communication Scholars for Transformation Facebook Group who contributed suggestions to this list. This collection benefited immeasurably from their labor.

We ask that you join us. Read these documents and suggest others. This is a living resource to help us do the work of making much needed structural changes. Also, if you have resources that you think belong here please consider submitting them.

Dr. Bryan McCann, Louisiana State University
Dr. Atilla Hallsby, University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities
Dr. Guy McHendry, Creighton University

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Disciplinary Histories and Citational Politics

Allen, Brenda J. “Theorizing Communication and Race.” Communication Monographs 74 (2007): 259-264.

Baugh-Harris, Sarah, and Darrel Wanzer-Serrano. “Against Canon: Engaging the Imperative of Race in Rhetoric.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 15 (2018): 337-342.

Chakravartty, Paula, Rachel Kuo, Victoria Grubbs, and Charlton McIlwain. “#CommunicationSoWhite.” Journal of Communication 68 (2018): 254-266.

Chávez, Karma R. “Beyond Inclusion: Rethinking Rhetoric’s Historical Narrative.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 101 (2015): 162-172.

Law, Martin, and Lisa M. Corrigan. “On White-Speak and Gatekeeping: Or, What Good Are the Greeks?” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 15 (2018): 326-330.

Ray, Victor. “The Unbearable Whiteness of Mesearch.” Inside Higher Ed, 21 October 2016, https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2016/10/21/me-studies-are-not-just-conducted-people-color-essay?fbclid=IwAR2ATuJb-z6DU0s7kimbTDEIIXid_iFHO0dcaPTkyvUE7E_XTuDoOagA-iw

Shome, Raka. “Postcolonial Interventions in the Rhetorical Canon: An ‘Other’ View.” Communication Theory 6 (1996): 40-59.

Wilson, Kirt H. “The National and Cosmopolitan Dimensions of Disciplinarity: Reconsidering the Origins of Communication Studies.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 101 (2015): 244-257.


Flores, Lisa A. “Between Abundance and Marginalization: The Imperative of Racial Rhetorical Criticism.” Review of Communication 16 (2016): 4-24.

Tufuku, Zuberi, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. White Logics, White Methods: Racism and Methodology. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.

Civility and Cruelty

Baker, Kelly J. “Cruelty and Kindness in Academia.” Chronicle Vitae, 11 October 2016, https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1572-cruelty-and-kindness-in-academia

Churchill, Mary. “Tenure as Academic Hazing.” Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 May 2011, https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/old-new/tenure-as-academic-hazing/362

Lozano, Nina Maria, and Dana L. Cloud. “The Uncivil Tongue: Invitational Rhetoric and the Problem of Inequality.” Western Journal of Communication 73 (2009): 220-226.

Ortiz, Kasim. “On Academic Hazing, Intra-Racial Conflict, and Marginality.” Conditionally Accepted, 8 April 2014, https://conditionallyaccepted.com/2014/04/08/academic-hazing/

Faculty and Diversity

Allen, Brenda J., Mark P. Orbe, and Margarita Refugia Olivas. “The Complexity of Our Tears: Dis/enchantment and (In)Difference in the Academy.” Communication Theory 9 (1999): 402-429.

Matthew, Patricia A. “What Is Faculty Diversity Worth to a University?” The Atlantic, 23 November 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/11/what-is-faculty-diversity-worth-to-a-university/508334/?fbclid=IwAR3YuB8WxtfueeFsvNYME3-SYr9FrlOEjMJjanjcazoBJokIXzKeoCcMOgY

Mercado-Lopez, Larissa. “Want to Retain Faculty of Color? Support Them as Faculty of Color.” Medium, 18 May 2018, https://medium.com/national-center-for-institutional-diversity/want-to-retain-faculty-of-color-support-them-as-faculty-of-color-9e7154ed618f

Moore, Mignon R. “Women of Color in the Academy: Navigating Multiple Intersections and Multiple Hierarchies.” Social Problems 64 (2017): 200-205.

Sensoy,Özlem, and Robin DiAngelo. “‘We Are All For Diversity, but …’: How Faculty Hiring Committees Reproduce Whiteness and Practical Suggestions for How They Can Change.” Harvard Educational Review, vol. 87, no. 4, 2017, pp. 557-580.

Wanzer-Serrano, Darrel. “Best Practices for Recruiting Underrepresented Folks in Communication Studies.” Delinking Rhetoric, 12 December 2017, http://darrel.wanzerserrano.com/2017/12/12/best-practices-for-recruiting-underrepresented-folks-in-communication-studies/

Ware, Leland. “People of Color in the Academy: Patterns of Discrimination in Faculty Hiring and Retention.” Boston College Third World Law Review 20 (2000): https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/twlj/vol20/iss1/6/?fbclid=IwAR0Dst3d-WicwZKcnbCoHrqKu5YZHdDP_ssSMUmFUGE9_Xi2pCdMJG4OOMQ

The Future of the University

Fogel, Daniel Mark, and Elizabeth Malson-Huddle. Precipice or Crossroads? Where America’s Great Public Universities Stand and Where They Are Going Midway through Their Second Century. Albany: SUNY Press, 2012.

Harney, Stefano, and Fred Moten. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. Wivenhoe, UK: Minor Compositions, 2013.

Loick, Daniel. “If You’re a Critical Theorist, How Come You Work for a University?” Critical Horizons 19 (2018): 233-245.

Newfield, Christopher. The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2016.

Readings, Bill. The University in Ruins. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1997.

Institutional Practices

Gardner, Paula M. “Diversifying ICA: Identity, Difference, and the Politics of Transformation.” Journal of Communication 68 (2018): 831-841.

Houdek, Matthew. “The Imperative of Race for Rhetorical Studies: Toward Divesting from Disciplinary and Institutional Whiteness.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 15 (2018): 292-299.

White Supremacy in the Academy

Ahmed, Sara. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2012.

Ferguson, Roderick A. The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2012.

Gutiérrez y Muhs, Gabriella, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González, Angela P. Harris. Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. Boulder: UP of Colorado, 2012.

Matthew, Patricia A. Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2016.

Ableism and the Academy

Dolmage, Jay Timothy. Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2017.

Kerschbaum, Stephanie L., Laura T. Eisenman, and James M. Jones. Negotiating Disability: Disclosure and Higher Education. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2017.

LGBTQ+ Issues in the Academy

Spade, Dean. “Be Professional!” Harvard Journal of Law & Gender 33 (2010): 71-84.

Feminism(s) and the Academy

Calafell, Bernadette Marie. Monstrosity, Performance, and Race in Contemporary Culture. New York: Peter Lang, 2015.

Davis, Olga Idriss. “In the Kitchen: Transforming the Academy through Safe Spaces of Resistance.” Western Journal of Communication 63 (1999): 364-381.

Duncan, Patti. “Hot Commodities, Cheap Labor: Women of Color in the Academy.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 35 (2014): 39-63.

Rowe, Aime Carrillo. Power Lines: ON the Subject of Feminist Alliances. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2008.

Gendered Violence in the Academy

Hill, Annie. “Reporting Sexual Harassment: Toward Accountability and Action.” The Gender Policy Report, 19 July 2018, http://genderpolicyreport.umn.edu/reporting-sexual-harassment-towards-accountability-and-action/

Stabile, Carol. “Confronting Sexual Harassment and Hostile Climates in Higher Education.” Ms. Magazine, 13 December 2017, http://msmagazine.com/blog/2017/12/13/confronting-sexual-harassment-hostile-climates-higher-education/

Critiques of Whiteness

DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Race. Boston: Beacon, 2018.

Political Economy of Higher Education

“Academia Is Built on Exploitation. We Must Break this Vicious Cycle.” The Guardian, 18 May 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2018/may/18/academia-exploitation-university-mental-health-professors-plagiarism

Arkin, William M., and Alexa O’Brien. “The Most Militarized Universities in America: A VICE News Investigation.” VICE News, 6 November 2015, https://news.vice.com/article/the-most-militarized-universities-in-america-a-vice-news-investigation 
Bailey, Michael, and Des Freedman. The Assault on Universities: A Manifesto for Resistance. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2011.

Berg, Maggie, and Barbara K. Seeber. The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2016.

Birmingham, Kevin. “‘The Great Shame of Our Profession’: How the Humanities Survive on Exploitation.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 February 2017, https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Great-Shame-of-Our/239148 

Bratich, Jack Z. “From Embedded to Machinic Intellectuals: Communication Studies and General Intellect.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 5 (2008): 24-45.

Bousquet, Marc. How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation. New York: NYU, 2008.

Chatterjee, Piya, and Sunaina Maira. The Imperial University: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2014.

Downing, David B. The Knowledge Contract: Politics and Paradigms in the Academic Workplace. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2007.

Dutta, Mohan J. “Irrationality of Metrics and Metricide.” Culture-Centered Approach, 24 August 2018, http://culture-centered.blogspot.com/2018/08/irrationality-of-metrics-and-metricide.html

The Edu-Factory Collective. Toward a Global Autonomous University: Cognitive Labor, the Production of Knowledge, and Exodus from the Education Factory. New York: Autonomedia, 2009.

Gill, Rosalind, and Ngaire Donaghue. “Resilience, Apps and Reluctant Individualism: Technologies of Self in the Neoliberal Academy.” Women’s Studies International Forum 54 (2016): 91-99.

Hagen, Jamie J. “Why Most of Us Won’t Get Tenure.” Inside Higher Ed, 9 December 2016, https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2016/12/09/solving-tenure-problem-requires-real-institutional-change-essay

Hall, Richard. “On the Alienation of Academic Labour and the Possibilities for Mass Intellectuality.” Triple C 16 (2018), https://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/873 
Muñoz-Rodríguez, David, y Antonio Santos Ortega. “Precaridad en la Era del Trabajo Digital.” Recerca 24 (2019): 1-13.

Olssen, Mark, and Michael A. Peters. “Neoliberalism, Higher Education and the Knowledge Economy: From the Free Market to Knowledge Capitalism.” Journal of Education Policy 20 (2005): 313-345.

Rooksby, Jacob H. The Branding of the American Mind: How Universities Capture, Manage, and Monetize Intellectual Property and Why It Matters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2016.

Sterne, Jonathan. Academic Labor: The Politics of Academic Labor in Communication Studies. Los Angeles: USC Annenberg P, 2013.

Academic Freedom and Shared Governance

Cloud, Dana L. “Foiling the Intellectuals: Gender, Identity Framing, and the Rhetoric of the Kill in Conservative Hate Mail.” Communication, Culture & Critique 2 (2009): 457-479.

Cole, Kirsti, Holly Hassel, and Eileen E. Schell. “Remodeling Shared Governance: Feminist Decision Making and Resistance to Academic Neoliberalism.” In Surviving Sexism in Academia: Strategies for Feminist Leadership, edited by Kirsti Cole and Holly Hassel (pp. 13- 28). London: Routledge, 2017.

Reichman, Henry. The Future of Academic Freedom. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2019.

Salaita, Steven. Uncivil Rights: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom. Chicago: Haymarket, 2015.

Coloniality/Colonization in the Academy

Miranda, Deborah A. “Teaching on Stolen Ground.” In Placing the Academy: Essays on Landscape, Work, and Identity, edited by Jennifer Sinor and Rona Kaufman (pp. 169-187). Logan: Utah State UP, 2007.