Dreads and Open Mouths: Living/Teaching/Writing Queerly

Author: Aneil Rallin
Price: $22.00
Expected: October 2018
ISBN: 978-1-63400-061-1
Printed on acid-free paper

This inventive experimental/scholarly hybrid book considers what it means to live/teach/write in the here-now, as well as to produce knowledge as a socially and ethically responsible global citizen from the author's own subject position as a queer immigrant scholar/teacher of color situated in the field of rhetoric and writing studies.

Quirky and polemical, Dreads and Open Mouths blurs genres and challenges the boundaries between “scholarly” and “creative,” “literary” and “pedagogical,” “personal” and “political” as it explores and makes (dis)connections among literacy, writing, teaching, rhetoric, imagination, desire, sexuality, race, gender, politics, pleasure, resistance, higher education practices, assessment, global geopolitics, national boundaries, and students who have traditionally been marginalized in institutions of higher learning. Consisting of eleven interrelated chapters/provocations, it intervenes into the interstices of contemporary politics, critical pedagogy, and queer theory; mingles “lust, intellect, and personal history”; playfully contests protocols of conventional “scholarly” writing; and in doing so produces what might be called non-heteronormative activist “alternative” “mestiza” queer rhetorics.

Taking up challenges to forge new rhetorics from scholars such as Ian Barnard, who insists that queer inquiry “flout prescriptions for conventional academic discourse,” my Dreads and Open Mouth is a particularly apt intervention staged as a collection of interjections and dispatches, of self-reflexive testimonies across space, across time, across genres. Rather than merely suggesting that experimental critical writing has the potential to produce new epistemologies not possible within forms bound by conventional constraints, this book sidesteps and/or transforms conventional expository protocols as it seeks to construct alternative narratives, meta-narratives, interruptions in order to affect and disturb the master narratives; produce dissident rhetorical paradigms; find pleasure in queer writing; and generate usable tools for theoretical and pedagogical activist interventions not only toward transforming scenes of writing and teaching but also toward desirable social transformations.

As much about form as it is about content, Dreads and Open Mouths insinuates that disrupting borders and boundaries offers potential to escape not only from hegemonic knowledge-making and the fixidity of heteronormative rhetorics but also makes room to inhabit multiple positionings and explore the reciprocity of language and culture. One crucial central question undergirding its investigations is this: what is lost if and when writing is not tolerated as a questioning but only as an answer, as something fixed and not as something that is uncertain in its movement, in its ambitions, something that is unfinished?