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15 February 2022
Technical Communication Quarterly
Special Issue Editor(s)
Bowie State University
Univeristy of Maryland
Natasha Jones, Ja'La Wourman, Constance Haywood ,
Michigan State University
North Carolina A&T
The University of Texas At Austin
Black Technical and Professional Communication
Guest Editors: The Black Technical and Professional Communication Task Force (Temptaous Mckoy, Natasha Jones, Cecilia Shelton, Ja’La Wourman, Constance Haywood, Donnie Sackey, and Kimberly Harper )
In this special issue of Technical Communication Quarterly, the work and contributions of Black technical and professional communication practitioners will be centered and amplified. Black technical and professional communication (BTPC) is defined as the inclusion of "…practices centered on Black community and culture and on rhetorical practices inherent in Black lived experience" (CCCC Black Technical and Professional Communication Statement with Resource Guide, 2020). Because technical and professional communication is inherent to Black being and survival, BTPC plays a large role in understanding how Black people exist within and respond to white supremacist structures and cultures (e.g. The 1936 Negro Motorist Greenbook). BTPC emphasizes the importance of lived experience and embodied knowledge (Baker-Bell, 2013; Richardson, 2003; Shelton, 2019), as both reveal new ways of meaning-making that continually prove themselves to be radical, relevant, and useful. BTPC reflects the cultural, economic, social, and political experiences of Black people across the Diaspora. It also includes the work of scholars in the academy and the contributions of practitioners. In all, BTPC contextualizes the experiences and cultures of Black peoples through research, teaching, and scholarship (refer to CCCC Black Technical and Professional Communication Statement With Resource Guide, 2020). This special issue is unapologetic in that we argue that acknowledging and amplifying the work of Black technical and professional communicators and scholars must reach beyond citational practices that uncritically make cursory nods to Black scholarship. Deep, sustained, and meaningful engagement with Black scholarship and practice, on the other hand, emphasizes a justice-oriented, transformative praxis that facilitates the centering of Black scholarship and practices within the field of technical and professional communication.
As the field of TPC continues to grow and expand to make moves that are more inclusive, there continues to be a need for scholarship collections which focus explicitly on Black TPC. This special issue calls for practitioners to continue their efforts in Shifting out of Neutral (Shelton, 2019) to better learn about the work and scholarship that Black scholars can and do contribute to the field of TPC. While it still remains that Black TPC scholarship should not be limited to only special issues or collections, in bringing Black TPC scholarship together in one space, this special issue serves as a one of the “next steps” for practitioners following the publication of the CCCC Black Technical and Professional Communication Statement with Resource Guide (2020). In following the approach as presented in the statement and resource guide, this special issue will, “help scholars better equip themselves with access to appropriate readings to continue the work of Black technical and professional communication advocacy."
Furthermore, this special issue offers a space for additional mentorship as performed by the Black TPC Task Force with fellow Black TPC practitioners. Because the task force is fundamentally committed to amplifying and engaging Black rhetorical practices, our mentoring practices will reflect Black feminist and Black rhetorical ways of engagement. This means that our mentoring practices will look inherently different from white and white-centered mentoring practices. As Richardson (2003) posits, “African cultural forms that are constantly adapted to meet the needs of navigating life in a racist society influence... ways of knowing and coping” (p. 77). Furthermore, as the formal naming of Black TPC is new in the field of TPC, this mentorship will allow for the fostering of relationships while also identifying ways in which new paths can be forged for future Black TPC scholars.
To be clear, Black TPC existed before its formal naming. Yet, as Black culture and community is ever-changing and evolving, we see this special issue as a space to center and present a specific time for which Black TPC existed and will continue to exist. Essentially, this special issue will also serve as one of many archives of Black community, culture, and ways of knowing.
Special Issue Themes and Questions:
The guest editors invite contributors to identify and amplify the various ways in which Black TPC can lead to not only a more inclusive field of study but also offer new ways for understanding and working alongside Black communities outside of the academy. Furthermore, the guest editors invite contributors to interrogate the ways in which the implementation of Black TPC can benefit non-Black communities as well. Finally, while the special issue welcomes contributors from various levels of their careers, we especially welcome contributions from early-career scholars and graduate students.
As scholars identify ways to contribute to this special issue, we wish to offer the following guiding questions:
- How has Black Technical and Professional Communication helped to shape the field of technical communication?
- What methods, approaches, and perspectives can help move Black Technical and Professional Communication from the margins of the discipline to the center of the field?
- What are the lasting implications of the marginality of Black Technical and Professional communication for the field at large?
- What theories and frameworks may scholars find useful for critically engaging with the work and scholarship of Black technical and professional communicators?
- How can citational practices help and/or hinder the acknowledgment and amplification of Black Technical and Professional Communication?
- In what spaces, places, and contexts can we identify Black Technical and Professional Communication practices?
- How might scholars and practitioners ethically engage Black Technical and Professional Communication?
- How might the field of technical and professional communication identify, engage, extend, and understand the boundaries, constraints, and affordances of Black Technical and Professional Communication?
- How can the field of technical and professional communication mentor Black students in the field, while ensuring the student’s Blackness and life experiences are not erased or dismissed?
*Various genres and modes of composition welcome for consideration
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Proposal Length: 500 Words
Please submit a 500-word abstract summarizing the proposed contribution to the special issue. In all proposal abstracts, authors should position themselves in relationship to their research proposal. This statement of positionality will be an important consideration in our initial evaluation of proposals.
It is the explicit intention of the editorial team to prioritize the inclusion of Black-identified scholars in this special issue; however, this priority does not signal the exclusion of contributors who are not Black (nor does it indicate the automatic acceptance of contributors who are Black). We are looking for work that foregrounds Black linguistic, rhetorical, and embodied practices in the communication of specialized knowledge, in keeping with the spirit of Black Technical and Professional Communication. Finally, we hope that authors will note the distinction between the substantive engagement with Black TPC we’re describing, and work that discusses Black topics, communities, or socio-political issues through traditional tech comm theoretical and methodological frames. While we acknowledge the latter as critical to the growth of the field of TPC, we wish to make most apparent this special issue will include work which adheres to the definition of BTPC as we’ve provided.
Call for Proposals released: March 1, 2021
Proposals due: May 10, 2021
Proposal acceptances: June 1, 2021
Mentor Pairing: June 1, 2021
Manuscripts due to special issue editors (to be sent out for review): August 15, 2021
Accepted manuscripts due to TCQ editorial team: February 15, 2022
Publication: July 20, 2022
Please direct all questions and submissions to the Editorial Team at [email protected]
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