Issue Theme: English and Leadership Studies


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Issue Theme: English and Leadership Studies

Guest Editors’ Introduction: Reimagining Leadership after the Public Turn
Thomas P. Miller and Joddy Murray

Academic Leadership and Advocacy: On Not Leaning In
Jane Detweiler, Margaret LaWare, and Patricia Wojahn
Abstract: Our article examines the challenges that “outsiders” face as academic leaders in higher education, with a special emphasis on the specific complications prevailing in the rhetoric and composition fields within English studies. We survey descriptive statistics and historical evidence to locate several of the problems confronting women and others newly and provisionally admitted to—and more often, still excluded from—the highest levels of academic leadership. Then, we bring together feminist-revisionist advocacy tools and Ernest Boyer’s alternative vision for “engaged scholarship” to suggest ways that leadership work formerly categorized as simply administrative duty or mere service be recognized for its broad-ranging impact both on campuses and the public domain.

The Spaces In-Between: Independent Writing Programs as Sites of Collective Leadership
Jonna I. Gilfus
Abstract: In this article, I explore the ways that non-tenure-track faculty might develop a place in collective leadership alongside tenure-track faculty. Drawing on theoretical framing from Theodore Kemper’s research on structures of emotion in social movements, I offer a way to better understand how authentic respect for teaching and service as scholarly work helps develop opportunities for non-tenure-track teachers to develop their expertise as leaders. I illustrate some of these possibilities and suggest that these leadership opportunities may ultimately help increase visibility and respect for non-tenure-track faculty.

“I Am Two Parts”: Collective Subjectivity and the Leader of Academics and the Othered
Victor Villanueva
Abstract: How does one balance dedication to two communities that are never served equally well? I consider a theoretically based response through Gramsci’s hegemony, the Brazilian sociologist José Maurício Domingues’s collective subjectivity, and Laclau and Mouffe’s particular brand of post-Marxism. Together, they provide a way to think about leading, holding onto the traditions of the academy while trying to change those traditions so that those who are perforce Othered can be afforded greater than mere recognition or accommodation. I argue that one must adopt a necessary mindset that places the emphasis on the collectivities to which one belongs, relegating the individual to the backdrop, to the extent that is possible.

Resisting Relocation: Placing Leadership on Decolonized Indigenous Landscapes
Rachel Jackson
Abstract: This article foregrounds story as a rhetorical mode of Indigenous leadership to argue for the value of local scholars working in place. Utilizing recent scholarship in Native rhetorics, educational leadership, decolonial theory, I offer my own experience as a Cherokee citizen and Indigenous researcher to illustrate the value of local cultural knowledge to the field and the academy. I suggest the reconsideration of cosmopolitan values and institutional practices that alienate Indigenous scholars from their communities.

Complexity Leadership and Collective Action in the Age of Networks
Joddy Murray
Abstract: Complexity leadership theory provides a perspective on leadership that values, rather than avoids, the realities of a complex environment. As we are now fully part of an age of networks, facilitating leadership toward collective action means embracing a distributed model reliant on multiple modes of communication distributed over multiple nodes in complex networks. A complexity theory of leadership that is practiced within the context of multimodal authorship favors collective action over individual action, collaboration over centralization, and connectivity over isolation. It is in the power of multiple networks interacting and becoming a complex adaptive system that collective action leads to positive change.

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