Grad Students Edit Revolution By Love
The Writing Program is pleased to announce the publication of Revolution by Love: Emerging Arab Youth Voices, a book co-edited by three Composition and Cultural Rhertoric (CCR) graduate students: Lindsey Banister, Tamara Issak, and Theresa Keicher.
This project, which offers personal narratives from activists involved in the Arab Spring, was initiated when Julia Ganson from the Maxwell School's Leaders for Democracy Fellows (LDF) program contacted Associate Professor Steve Parks to inquire about putting together a volume that tells the stories of activists, teachers and professors who were involved in different moments during the Arab Spring. LDF Fellows Dhala Ghandour, Mohammed Masbah, and Emna Bender then worked with Parks to frame and define the purposes of the book. Last summer Parks interviewed the Middle East and North African democracy activists, and the transcripts of those interviews served as the basis for rough drafts. Lindsey, Tamara and Theresa became involved in the fall as part of Parks’ “Writing, Rhetoric, and Technologies" graduate seminar. The students worked with the activists one-on-one to edit their personal narratives and take up issues of design in the book.
The volume, Parks explains, fits into the Writing Program’s emphasis on rhetoric as a social and cultural enterprise, but it does so in a larger international context: “As a program, we have a history of people doing community publications, but they have all been local. So, as the program tries to think in more global terms, and think about writing and rhetoric in a variety of global and international contexts, this book represents a way we can move our standing interest in community publications into that global environment.”
The volume will circulate in universities and communities in the US and internationally once it is distributed this summer and fall. Currently, work is being done to translate the book and find a distributor in the Middle East and North Africa.
Working on Revolution By Love placed me in a space where I had to negotiate what it means to work and to produce work that extends beyond the classroom. As a student and a teacher, I so often focus on what occurs within the confines of a course, but with this project I was able to move beyond the borders of the classroom. Consequently, I was able to put into practice and witness the very theory of composition I envision as responsible and productive. —Lindsey Banister
What Revolution by Love does is to revisit the events and refocus our attention on the lived experience of Arabs. We read the voices of young authors from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Kuwait. We are transported to moments of their lives in their respective homes and get a glimmer of what it was like to join a protest for the first time, run for elected office, treat wounded protesters in the hospital, get arrested, and, more generally, witness the consequences of speaking and acting out about injustice, corruption, and inequality. —Tamara Issak
The experience of editing the book challenged me to think critically about my ethics as an academic. In other words, I had to be careful about how I edited the work of writers from non-literary and/or non-academic communities in terms of aesthetics and effectiveness. I was challenged to think critically about the ethics I respect as an editor. That is, as an editor, what is the fine line between helping and hurting the "authenticity" of the writer's narrative in reaching its "full potential"? —Theresa Keicher
—story by Emily Dressing