Glocal Feminist Healing Histories Across D’Map

Karrieann Soto Vega & Dr. Iris Ruiz
Sponsored by the Latinx Caucus

blue circle with orange map of US

Invitation to Participate

This workshop is designed to engage and immerse feminist scholars in making their own local histories of working towards change in order to form connections between the themes found in each of the participants' stories—issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, etc—and their specific locations. By writing their own brief glocal histories in an online global environment (D’map) and sharing them with others, participants will gain a heightened sense of the connections that exist among feminists seeking to recover and record seeming invisible and disconnected glocal histories of healing and change.




To open the map in a new window, click here.

Welcome to our D’Map (digital map), which showcases a visual representation of our CFSHRC participants’ local research/teaching/activist histories conceptualized within the framework of Aurora Levins Morales’ undertaking of History as Medicine and Historian as Curandera (or healer). At our action hour table in Houston, TX, our participants learned about the potential of medicinal historical writing, after which the participants took a few minutes to write a short story of women working/teaching for change that they wanted to share. When the stories were completed within the time of our microworkshop, participants were then asked to put their stories on a physical map of the world [refer to 4C16 CFSHRC Map] with a colored pushpin with the hopes to start threading localizations that share similar issues. Our goal was to provide a unique opportunity for participants to locate their geopolitical context and discover how a historiographic and coalitional component could form connections between the themes found in each of the participants' stories.

CFSHRC Map from CCCC2016

Analog map of the Americas with Pins locating CFSHRC members’ stories and subject of study locations, mostly on the U.S. and Mexico; Taken by Karrieann Soto Vega

We invite you to envision your story on our D’Map, as you browse through the map and recognize how the various locales are engaging with historiography as healing and writing for change through a feminist lens. Though we offer a set of prompts that inspired participants in our microworkshop session, you should conceptualize your story as a way to build on the record of women’s historiographic efforts as healers a diverse array of communities, and writing towards the improvement of lives across different vectors of oppression. The brief background and explanation of our experiences remediating this map of the coalition should provide enough context and explanation of our intentions to help you think through how to contribute to this map.

Please include your own story by clicking on this link and referring to the following instructions.

Instructions to post a story/location

  1. First, in order to post a marker location, you need a google account.
  2. Hit Edit, below the description of the map on the left-hand corner.
  3. There are two options for you to post your story/location. You can search for the location, and when you find the location you click on the add marker button (under the search bar, next to the hand tool) to add your location. There is another option, where you find the specific address of your location, or coordinates, click “Add to Map” and then edit the information to post your story.
  4. Either way, you will post your name as the heading, and the story as a description or text. If you are into multimodality, or practice visual rhetoric, you can even add an image!

This particular map can serve as a model for how you might envision using this toolbox/workshop in your own local spaces. The Google Map tool is user-friendly enough for you to come up with numerous mapping projects with your students. We hope this particular map (D’Map) contributes an interactive record of our CFSHRC members, which could be used as a scholarly resource for researchers interested in historicizing the field, but also as a toolkit for teachers interested in finding different ways in which writing for change happens across D’Map.


Inspired by ongoing work like “Writing and Working for Change: Recognizing the Collective Work of Teachers within and across Diverse Identities,” and based on our own work on critical history projects, for this CFSHRC workshop we hoped to collect diverse histories of feminist teaching and activism. Also following Derek Mueller’s “Grasping Rhetoric and Composition by Its Long Tail: What Graphs Can Tell Us about the Field's Changing Shape,” and his emphasis on digital data visualization that reflects disciplinary trends by using distant reading methodologies, in this workshop we aim to visualize the connections among our feminist histories, mapping the diverse locations of participants and how they are connected by similar efforts/struggles.

Of course, established feminist scholars like Cheryl Glenn have long been “Remapping Rhetorical Territory” to establish women’s place within the rhetorical cannon. Nedra Reynolds also notes the importance of geographic metaphors, but adds a concern for the materiality of everyday places. We are using the concept of cartography in a more literal sense. For us, using a geographical lens affords exercises of "glocal" historical reflection and depictions that account for the particular in broader feminist coalition building efforts. Geography scholars like Arturo Escobar define glocalities as “cultural and spatial configurations that connect places with each other… not only capital [but also] place-based struggles reorganize space through networks, and they do so according to different parameters and concerns” (166). We believe that the emphasis on local history and story writing (a form that Malea Powell advocated for in her 2012 CCCC address), one that accounts for the broader Americas (Baca and Villanueva, Olson and De los Santos) and beyond, can result in a more collective history writing endeavor. Besides the literal sense of a place wherein feminist scholars of rhetoric and composition reside, work, and study, we wanted to collect the intellectual positions and priorities of our participants, similar to Kirsh and Royster’s “assaying” of the field of feminist rhetorics.

More specifically, we ground our workshop within a “medicinal history” theoretical framework Aurora Levins Morales outlined in “The Historian as Curandera.” Levins Morales starts her essay with a South African proverb: “Until lions write books, history will always glorify the hunter.”[1] The hunter is always the author of colonial histories. For Levins Morales, when colonization occurs, “one of the first things a colonizing power or repressive regime does is to attack the sense of history of those they wish to dominate and attempt to take over and control people’s relationships to their own past” (1). Therefore, Levins Morales suggests that those who have suffered any sense of oppression should take charge of rewriting our own histories as a way of healing. With this textual position in mind, one that refers to the making of “medicinal history” as a history that “heals,” so to speak, as a curandera would, our workshop seeks to contribute to

making truly medicinal history [that] requires that we do more than just add women (or any other “disappeared” group of people) to the existing frame works. We need to ask: If women are assumed to be the most important people in this story, how will that change the questions we ask? How will it change our view of what events and processes are most important? How will it change the answers to questions that have already been asked? (2)

We hope that engaging with our D’Map allows readers/actors to capture the ways in which feminists in rhetoric and composition describe their stories of healing, and writing for change, in order to start reflecting on the questions posed by Aurora Levins Morales. For our purposes: What new questions arise based on the kinds of issues our members address in their entries? How do their stories illustrate our concerns as feminists in rhetoric and composition? Where else/who else is missing from these stories?

Remediating a Map of the Coalition

In our Coalition, Collaboration, and the 21st century Latinx Caucus microworkshop we wanted to be literal in the ways in which the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition can map their stories of work towards change—with the underlying assumption that this change aims to address social justice inspired by our multiple feminisms. The result was a curation of stories written during the workshop; as we mentioned above, these stories were framed with Levins Morales’ proposed conception of historians as curanderas, inspiring healing by sharing our feminist stories. Clicking through the multiple locations, users can notice how these healers focused on numerous locations, bodies, genders, identities, and issues, as feminist researchers, teachers, and scholars. Some of the stories featured were penned by pioneers in the field of feminist rhetorics, so this map certainly presents a good start to a collection of the work that CFSHRC members engage in.

On another methodological note, the initial D’map was created using ArcGIS with the help of Sean Reid, a PhD student of archeology in the Department of Anthropology at Syracuse University. The collaboration afforded by the creation of this map suggests that there are numerous advantages to undertaking more interdisciplinary work within our field(s) and scholarly locations. Though a common resource in geography, and among other social sciences, digital mapping has also been used in recording particular phenomena in rhetoric and composition. As Jeremy Tyrell indicates in his 2012 Kairos webtext: “Geographical visualization is a potent means to examine our field’s rich history, and appropriate tools and methods are freely available and within our ken as rhetoricians and compositionists” (n.p.). While his Mapping Digital Technology in Rhetoric and Composition History project was based on journals from the field—a strategy also employed by Mueller—we are hoping to make it a more interactive and collective endeavor by asking readers/actors to submit your own location/stories. Similar to Tyrell’s approach, we decided to go with a more accessible technology associated with the ubiquitous Google suite.

As suggested above, users can rely on this map to identify and access the written work of our participating members in their specific geographic and geopolitical locations. In “Meaningful Engagements: Feminist Historiography and the Digital Humanities” Jessica Enoch and Jean Bessette critically consider the potential benefits of digital methodologies for feminist historiography. Digital archivization and multimodal histories would be the two methods that most closely apply to what we aim with this digital archive and interactive map of stories. Enoch and Bessette caution, though, “it seems crucial that we dedicate our attention to what histories we compose do to our audiences” (652). It is also our intention to attend to the potential effects of the histories we compose and hope to extend the reach of our map to be as inclusive as possible in a digital setting collecting feminist efforts within rhetoric and composition.

Lastly, we close with a passage from Peitho’s Spring 2015 Editors’ Introduction:

As Royster summarizes: “I think that there’s lots of work to do yet on trying to convince all of us that gender is a part of a human enterprise, just as race is a part of a human enterprise, just as sexuality is a part of a human enterprise, just as geographical location is a part of a human enterprise.” As we look to the future, [Alexandra] Hidalgo’s work challenges us to see not only the Coalition’s work but also feminist work more broadly as deeply human work, which we engage at the intersections of identity. (Enoch and Fishman 8)

Our D’Map starts with the geographic, but each story reflects how one person can share multiple geographic and intersectional identity positions. We hope that participants can use the D’Map to construct clearer ideas about how to engage in coalitions with other feminist scholars who may be doing similar work already, or who may simply be close to you and want to form alliances, or create change in your company.


Baca, Damián, and Victor Villanueva. Rhetorics of the Americas: 3114 BCE to 2012 CE. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Enoch, Jessica, and Jean Bessette. "Meaningful Engagements: Feminist Historiography and the Digital Humanities." College Composition and Communication. 64.4 (2013): 634-660.

Enoch, Jessica, and Jenn Fishman. “Looking Forward: The Next 25 Years of Feminist Scholarship in Rhetoric and Composition.” Peitho: Journal of the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric & Composition. 18.1 (2015): 2-10.

Escobar, Arturo. “Culture Sits in Places: Reflections on Globalism and Subaltern Strategies of Localization.” Political Geography. 20 (2001): 139-174.

Glenn, Cheryl. “Remapping Rhetorical Territory.” Rhetoric Review. 13.2 (1995): 287-303.

Levins Morales, Aurora. The Historian as Curandera. JSRI Working Paper #40, The Julian Samora Research Institute, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 1997.

Mueller, Derek. “Grasping Rhetoric and Composition by Its Long Tail: What Graphs Can Tell Us about the Field's Changing Shape” College Composition and Communication 64.1 (2012): 195-223.

Olson, Christa and René Agustín De los Santos. “Expanding the Idea of América” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 45.3 (2015): 193-198.

Powell, Malea. “Stories Take Place: A Performance in One Act” College Composition and Communication 64.2 (2012): 383-406.

Reynolds, Nedra. Geographies of Writing: Inhabiting Places and Encountering Difference. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004.

Royster, Jacqueline J. Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change Among African American Women. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.

Royster, Jacqueline J, and Gesa Kirsch. Feminist Rhetorical Practices: New Horizons for Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2012

Tyrell, Jeremy. “A Geographical History of Online Rhetoric and Composition Journals.” Kairos: a Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. 16.3 (2012).

[1] A similar proverb appears in Traces of a Stream, where Jacqueline Jones Royster refers to Ana Julia Cooper’s statement on reversing the lion’s tale, where lions turn to painters, advocating for a more active view of African American women writers (255).

Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition