Difficult Conversations Social Justice Book Club

The Difficult Conversations Social Justice Book Club is a series of three conversations organized around a single book each semester. The conversations are led by undergraduate and graduate consultants on the UWC’s Language and Cultural Diversity Across Campus Committee. The conversations are open to all IUPUI undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. The program’s purpose is to bring IUPUI community members together to discuss complex issues relating to social justice, writing, literacy, and education.

Each event takes place via Zoom and lasts approximately one hour, typically in the late afternoon or evening. The book selection and dates for each of the three conversations are made available early each semester. Conversations begin with an overview of the main ideas and arguments of relevant book chapters. Facilitators then pose discussion questions and facilitate a semi-structured conversation about the chapters and their relevance to our campus, teaching, and learning.

Upcoming Conversations

Fall 2021: Margaret Price’s Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life

Price considers how mental disabilities impact a range of higher education settings and asks readers to consider the ways discourse in higher education privileges “able minds.” She provides insights on how to shift to more inclusive and accessible practices. Our three conversations will take place over Zoom (https://iu.zoom.us/j/7983361157). 

  • ​​W 9/29 from 2-3pm:  Discussion of the introduction and chapters 1-2: “Listening to the Subject of Mental Disability: Intersections of Academic and Medical Discourses” and “Ways to Move: Presence, Participation, and Resistance in Kairotic Space”
  • W 10/27 from 2-3pm: Discussion of chapters 3-4: “The Essential Functions of the Position: Collegiality and Productivity,” “Assaults on the Ivory Tower: Representations of Madness in the Discourse of U.S. School Shootings,” and
  • W 12/1 from 2-3pm: Discussion of chapters 5-6 and the conclusion: “‘Her Pronouns Wax and Wane’: Mental Disability, Autobiography, and Counter-Diagnosis,” “In/ter/dependent Scholarship” (with Leah (Phinnia) Meredith, Cal Montgomery, and Tynan Power)

Past Conversations

Spring 2021: Asao Inoue’s Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future

Fall 2020:  April Baker-Bell’s Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy

*Spring 2020:  Power Structures and Marginalized Groups of Writers

*Fall 2019: Gatekeeping and Cancel Culture; Personality and Writing; History of Politics in the Writing Center

*Spring 2019: Gender Binaries in Writing; Multilingual Writers and Avoiding Appropriation; Kindness and Why it Matters

*Fall 2018: Disclosing Mental Illness

*Prior to Fall 2020, the Difficult Conversations Series focused on article-length texts.