Dreads and Open Mouths
Author: Aneil Rallin
Published: June 2019
This timely, provocative, unruly, formally experimental/scholarly hybrid book charts an activist life of teaching/writing queerly over the past twenty years from the author’s subject position as a queer immigrant scholar/teacher of color situated in the field of rhetoric and composition.
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, education practices, assessment, global geopolitics, national boundaries, and students who have traditionally been marginalized in institutions of higher learning. It adds to the growing body of imaginative experimental activist work that refuses to be constrained by convention or to follow convention for the sake of following convention. It insists that queer inquiry eschew prescriptions for conventional academic discourse.
Its eleven interrelated chapters/provocations intervene into the interstices of critical pedagogy, queer theory, and contemporary politics; mingle “lust, intellect, and personal history”; and contest normative protocols of “scholarly” writing. In doing so, they produce what might be called queer rhetorics. Interceding into hegemonic knowledge and knowledge-making by offering rhetorical/methodological/activist alternatives to dominant disciplinary protocols or reimagining the subjects produced by these knowledge-making rhetorics/practices, each chapter sidesteps prescriptive expository protocols by constructing heterodox narratives, meta-narratives, interruptions in order to affect and disturb the master narratives; produces dissident (mestiza? circular? decolonial?) non-heteronormative rhetorical paradigms; takes pleasure in writing/thinking queerly; and generates theoretical and practical possibilities for queering scenes of teaching/writing.
Aneil Rallin grew up in Bombay, lives in Los Angeles, and does not drive. Aneil is Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Soka University of America, and co-editor of the “queer and now” special issue of the journal The Writing Instructor. Aneil was previously Assistant Professor of English and the Center for Academic Writing at York University in Toronto, and Assistant Professor of Literature and Writing Studies and Director of General Education Writing at California State University, San Marcos.