E22: Rhetorics of Labor Organizing & Collective Action (w/ Doug Kulchar)

This week’s show features a discussion about collective action, solidarity, and labor organizing with Penn State English PhD Student and organizer Doug Kulchar. In this conversation, Calvin and Alex talk with Doug about methods of leveraging employee power in workplaces, why bosses and other people in positions of power are often opposed to unions, and Doug’s own experience organizing a graduate student union campaign at Penn State. Through these discussions, we touch on the ways in which concepts such as literacy, translation, and rhetorical listening can help us understand the skills necessary to build effective social movements around shared problems.

Connect with Doug on Twitter: @dkulchar

Works and Concepts Cited in this Episode

Burke, K. (1965). Terministic screens. In Proceedings of the American Catholic philosophical association,  39, pp. 87-102.

Burke, K. (1969). A rhetoric of motives. University of California Press.

[Contains an articulation of the concept “identification”]

Freire, P. (1968). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Trans. Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Herder.

Glenn, C., & Ratcliffe, K. (2011). Introduction: Why silence and listening are important rhetorical arts. In Silence and listening as rhetorical arts (pp. 1-19). Southern Illinois University Press.

Schaeffer, J. D. (2004). Sensus communis. Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism, 278.

Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1970). The german ideology (Vol. 1). International Publishers Co.

Ratcliffe, K. (1999). Rhetorical Listening: A Trope for Interpretive Invention and a" Code of Cross-Cultural Conduct". College Composition and Communication, 51(2), 195-224.

Ratcliffe, K. (2005). Rhetorical listening: Identification, gender, whiteness. SIU Press.

Schneider, S.A. (2014). You can’t padlock an idea: Rhetorical education at the Highlander Folk School, 1932-1961. Univ of South Carolina Press, 2014.

Wikipedia article on the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers in Industry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryn_Mawr_Summer_School_for_Women_Workers_in_Industry

Further Reading

Brandt, Deborah. (2001). Literacy in American Lives. Cambridge University Press.

Castells, Manuel. (2013) Communication Power. Oxford University Press.

Cushman, E. (1996). The rhetorician as an agent of social change. College Composition and Communication, 47(1), pp. 7–28.

Gee, J.P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses. Taylor & Francis.

Gere, A.R. (1994). Kitchen tables and rented rooms: The extracurriculum of composition. College Composition and Communication, 45(1), pp. 75–92.

Hampton, F. (1969). Power anywhere where there’s people. Speech delivered at Olivet Church. Retrieved from: https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/fhamptonspeech.html 

Heath, S.B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge University Press.

Kelley, R.D.G. (2015). Hammer and hoe: Alabama communists during the great depression. UNC Press Books.

Latour, Bruno. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford University Press.

Latour, B. (2004). Why has critique run out of steam? From matters of fact to matters of concern.” Critical Inquiry, 30(2), pp. 225–48.

May, M.S. (2013). Soapbox rebellion: The Hobo Orator Union and the free speech fights of the Industrial Workers of the World, 1909-1916. University of Alabama Press.

Polletta, F. (2019). It was like a fever. University of Chicago Press.

Rai, C. (2016). Democracy’s lot: Rhetoric, publics, and the places of invention. University of Alabama Press.

Scott, T. (2009). Dangerous writing: Understanding the political economy of composition. Utah State University Press.

Selber, S. (2004). Multiliteracies for a digital age. SIU Press.

Spinuzzi, C. (2015). All edge: Inside the new workplace networks. University of Chicago Press.

Wan, A.J. (2014). Producing good citizens: Literacy training in anxious times. University of Pittsburgh Press.

Wenger, E. (1999) Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press.

Alex Helberg