Front cover of Grassroots Activisms: Public Rhetorics in Localized Contexts, edited by Lisa L. Phillips, Sarah Warren-Riley, and Julie Collins Bates, with plant stems and roots emerging from the letters in Grassroots.

Grassroots Activisms

Public Rhetorics in Localized Contexts

Edited by Lisa L. Phillips, Sarah Warren-Riley, and Julie Collins Bates

308 pp. 6 x 9
9 illustrations
Pub Date: January, 2024

Subjects: Rhetoric & Communication
Cultural Studies

Series: Intersectional Rhetorics

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“Focusing on resistances to institutional hegemonies, sites of grassroots activism, and pedagogical considerations, Grassroots Activisms offers a compelling, contemporary, polyvocal approach to activism that is both theoretically sharp and pragmatically applicable, while being inclusive in all the best ways.” —Jonathan Alexander, author of Writing and Desire: Queer Ways of Composing

“Writing studies needs a collection that makes visible the necessary work that is often obscured in activism. This book answers that need through an impressive and original array of stories and studies by and with marginalized communities.” —W. Michele Simmons, author of Participation and Power: Civic Discourse in Environmental Policy Decisions

What is the nature of grassroots activism? How and why do individuals get involved or attempt to make change for themselves, others, or their own communities? What motivates activists to maintain momentum when their efforts to redress injustices or paths toward change seem difficult or personally risky to navigate? These questions and more are addressed in Grassroots Activisms: Public Rhetorics in Localized Contexts. Featuring a diverse array of both local activist profiles and original scholarly essays, the collection amplifies and analyzes the tactics of grassroots activists working locally to intervene in a variety of social injustices—from copwatching and policy reform to Indigenous resistance against land colonization to #RageAgainstRape.

Attuned to the demanding—and often underappreciated—work of grassroots activism, this book interrogates how such efforts unfold within and against existing historical, cultural, social, and political realities of local communities; are informed by the potentials and constraints of coalition-building; and ultimately shape different facets of society at the local level. This collection acknowledges and celebrates the complexity of grassroots activist work, showing how these less-recognized efforts often effect change where institutions have failed.

Lisa L. Phillips is Assistant Professor of English in the Technical Communication and Rhetoric Program at Texas Tech University.

Sarah Warren-Riley is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Julie Collins Bates is Associate Professor of English at Millikin University.


List of Illustrations


Octavio Pimentel and Miriam F. Williams



Introduction    Valuing, Learning from, and Amplifying Grassroots Activisms

Sarah Warren-Riley, Julie Collins Bates, and Lisa L. Phillips

Part 1   Grassroots Resistances to Institutions

Chapter 1        Copwatching, Police Reform, and Grassroots Action: Positioning Video within Strategies of Rhetorical Intervention on the Street

Michael Knievel

Chapter 2        Nacogdoches Accountability Coalition: Challenges to Grassroots Organizing in Deep East Texas

Heather Olson Beal

Chapter 3        Behind the Still Life Image: The Word and Fannie Lou Hamer’s Activist Impulses

Coretta Pittman

Chapter 4        “Creating a Longer Table”: A Conversation about Diversity in Grassroots Labor Organizing

Ericka Wills

Chapter 5        Engaging the (Counter)Public through Digital Activism: A Case Study of the TFsUnite Protest

Rebecca Hallman Martini

Chapter 6        Mobilizing Grassroots Rhetorics for Reproductive Justice: A Q&A with Sara Finger, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health

Maria Novotny

Part 2   Sites of Grassroots Activisms

Chapter 7        Resisting Extraction of the Sacred: Indigenous- Based Grassroots Resistance to Frontier Capitalism

Luhui Whitebear, Kenlea Pebbles, and Stephen P. Gasteyer

Chapter 8        Community Gardening, Food Insecurity, and Writing Pedagogy: Connecting Classroom, Campus, and City

Vani Kannan and Leah Lillanna Johnney

Chapter 9        The Energy of Place in Florida Springs Activism

Madison Jones

Chapter 10      La Conexión: Advocating for Latinx Immigrants in Northwest Ohio

April Conway

Chapter 11      Off the Wall: The Performance of Graffiti and Vandal Art in Grassroots Movements

Angela Mitchell

Chapter 12      Urban Affairs Coalition: Fifty Years of Organizational Organizing in Philadelphia

Kalie M. Mayberry

Chapter 13      #RageAgainstRape: Nepali Women’s Transnational Assemblage and Networked Performances against Rape

Sweta Baniya

Part 3   Pedagogies for Grassroots Activisms

Chapter 14      OFA’s Legacy: Building Capacity through Personal Stories and Local Networks

Erica M. Stone

Chapter 15      Kairos, Communities, and Writing for DACA Advocacy in Memphis

Alison A. Lukowski and Jeffrey Gross

Chapter 16      Voices from the Anti-Racist Pedagogy Collective: Individual Exigencies and Collective Actions

Molly Appel, Laura Decker, Rachel Herzl-Betz, Jollina Simpson, Katherine A. Durante, Rosemary Q. Flores, and Marian Azab

Chapter 17      Vernacular Assessment Activity in Local Community Organizing

Joe Cirio

Chapter 18      Enacting Invitational Rhetorics: Leveraging Networks of Care in the U S Asylum Process

Monica Reyes, Randall Monty, Jorge M. Camarillo, and Cindy Bernal

A Counterstory Afterword in Vignettes

Aja Y. Martinez


List of Contributors



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