Academic journal article Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers

Forum: A Riff, a Call, and a Response: Introduction

Academic journal article Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers

Forum: A Riff, a Call, and a Response: Introduction

Article excerpt

The pieces included in this forum extend a discussion about subtle but collectively powerful structural outgrowths of racism and sexism in the academy. As its authors echo past calls by scholars such as Barbara Christian, Nellie McKay, Frances Smith Foster, and Ann duCille, this forum and "A Riff, A Call, and A Response" (Legacy 30.2)--the essay that occasioned it--bring to the fore just how consistently power refuses to concede its privileges even in the midst of iterative demands, as eloquent or clamorous as they may be. But not to pose these issues (again) is to betray the intellectual and academic labor that has made our collective work possible. The authors included here hope that the breadth of examples and patterns they highlight will be taken up by departments, deans and hiring committees, organizations, archives and associations, presses and those who review for them, editors, conveners and funders, dissertation directors, mentors, and peers, as well as by the scholars who organize and attend conferences and symposia. What does a responsible cultural ethics call for and look like? What, when it comes to race and representation, sex and power (and all of those nexuses' logical and ethical extensions and alliances), are, as Kimberly Blockett writes, the interconnections between "individual praxis and institutional best practices" (63)? This forum addresses these questions as a call for self-reflection, accountability, and protocols (Foreman 307) that lead us out of--and not back into--a labyrinth whose center is the status quo and whose well-worn paths are the ever-changing same. …

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