I want to communicate something of the humbling joy and vitality I experienced while reading the essays and studies assembled in this edited collection. The project invites readers to reconsider the tools we think with, the worlds they would have us build, and whom they’d have us become. In the service of livable futures, Pluriversal Literacies not only endorses a wide range of critical and creative decolonial pathways but does so by fostering generative and accountable stances toward mediational tools themselves.
Decolonial projects can end up reinforcing dominant modes of thinking by shoehorning understandings of Indigenous and non-Western traditions within Eurocentric frameworks. The pluralization of literacies and the creation of so-called alternative rhetorics accepts that there is a totalizing reality of rhetoric and literacy. This volume seeks to decenter these theories and to engage Indigenous contexts on their own terms, starting with the very tools of representation. Language itself can disrupt normative structures and create pluriversal possibilities. The volume editors and contributors argue for epistemic change at the level of the language and media that people use to represent meaning. The range of topics covered includes American Indian and Indigenous representations, literacies, and rhetorics; critical revisionist historiography and comparative rhetorics; delinking colonial literacies of cartographic power and modernity; “northern” and “southern” hemispheric relations; and theorizations of/from oceanic border spaces.
Unique, energizing, and cross-disciplinary, Pluriversal Literacies delivers on its ambitious claims for something beyond ‘alternative’ rhetorics that recenter Western rhetoric in order to oppose it. What happens if we engage a decolonial and delinking analytic focused on ‘pluriversal’ possibilities instead? This wide-ranging collection offers bold examples of intersecting perspectives, practices, and positions—a celebration of knowers, where they stand, and what/how they know. This book is a must-read for anyone studying literacies from a decolonial perspective, but also for rhetoric and writing studies scholars more generally.
Romeo García is assistant professor of writing and rhetoric studies at the University of Utah. His research appears in College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Across the Disciplines, and Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture. García is coeditor of Rhetorics Elsewhere and Otherwise: Contested Modernities, Decolonial Visions, winner of the 2020 Conference on College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award, and Unsettling Archival Research.
Ellen Cushman is Dean’s Professor of Civic Sustainability and professor of English at Northeastern University and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Her work explores how people use literacy and language to endure and create change.
Damián Baca is associate professor of Mexican American studies at the University of Arizona. He is author of Mestiz@ Scripts, Digital Migrations, and the Territories of Writing and coeditor of Rhetorics of the Americas: 3114 BCE to 2012 CE, Rhetorics of Difference, and Rhetorics Elsewhere and Otherwise, winner of the 2020 Conference on College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award.