Emotions are personal, socially constructed, biological, cognitive, and embodied. We gravitate towards Lynn Worsham’s definition of emotion as “the tight braid of affect and judgement, socially and historically constructed and bodily lived, through which the symbolic takes hold of and binds the individual, in complex and contradictory ways, to the social order and its structure of meaning” (216). (p. xiv)
In this episode, we interviewed Drs. Janine Morris and Kelly Concannon, co-editors for the edited collection Emotions and Affect in Writing Centers. They helped us understand the role of emotions and affect in writing center work and highlighted a variety of contributions in the book. We hope you enjoy it!
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Morris, J., & Concannon, K. (Eds.). (2022). Emotions and affect in writing centers. Parlor Press.
The chapters mentioned are (in the sequence of when they are mentioned):
Chapter 5 Mixed emotions and blended classed positions: Circulating affect in the writing center by Anna Rita Napoleone (pp. 83-99)
Chapter 14 Alienation and writing: Working with dispositions by Lisha Daniels Storey (pp. 254-271)
Chapter 1 Studying emotion and emotional labor over time and in context by Jackie Grutsch McKinney, Nicole Caswell, and Rebecca Jackson (pp. 3-19)
Chapter 8 “Can’t we just stick to the writing?”: Empathy narratives for social justice tutor training by Celeste Del Russo (pp.147-165)
Chapter 9 Crybabies in the writing center: Storying affect and emotion by Lauren Brentnell, Elise Dixon, and Rachel Robinson (pp. 166-180)
Chapter 13 Listening, reflecting, responding: Toward a metic intelligence for writing center administrators by Erica Cirillo-McCarthy and Elizabeth Leahy (pp. 237-253)
Chapter 4 Navigating emotions and interpersonal relations in graduate administrative writing center work by Nicole Chavannes, Monique Cole, Jordan Guido, and Sabrina Louissaint (pp. 65-80)
Chapter 15 Is It enough? An interrogation of the wellness turn in writing centers by Genie Giaimo (pp. 272-288)
Transcript[00:00:00] Janine Morris: Kelly and I make it a priority in our writing center to have conversations with consultants about emotions, but if something gets institutionalized and the person in charge doesn’t value it, then to me like that feels problematic.
Kelly Concannon: There needs to be buy-in.[00:00:13] Intro : Welcome to Slow Agency. This podcast offers a space for writing center and writing studies people to slow down, think, dialogue, and reflect on issues affecting their professional lives. I’m Esther Namubiru. I’m Weijia Li. And I’m Anna Habib. We are honored to steward this podcast to learn more about Slow Agency, visit Connecting Writing Centers across Borders, a blog of WLN: A Journal of Writing Center scholarship . [00:00:40] Weijia Li: Emotions are a very important part of writing center work. So today we’re talking about the edited collection, Emotions and Affect in Writing Centers. The collection came out in March, 2022. And our guests, Janine Morris and Kelly Concannon are the co-editors for the collection. Janine is an associate professor of writing in the Department of Communication Media and the Arts in Nova Southeastern University. Her research interests include graduate student writing practices and writing centers, emotions and embodiment, and digital composing and reading. Hi Janine . [00:01:19] Janine Morris: Hi, [00:01:20] Weijia Li: Kelly is an associate professor of writing in the Department of Communication Media and the Arts in Nova Southeastern University. Her scholarly interests include community engagement, service learning, feminist theory, social justice education and literacy studies. Hi Kelly. [00:01:40] Kelly Concannon: Hi everyone. [00:01:41] Esther Namubiru: So Janine and Kelly, this collection has three parts, 15 chapters. and later in the conversation we’re gonna be touching on a few of the chapters to give our readers a sense of what the content is. [00:01:51] But first I wanna hear more about your motivation. What motivated you to say, okay, we need to put an edited collection on emotion and affect in the writing center? [00:02:02] Kelly Concannon: thank you. some of the things that motivated, this collection were, we noticed that in a lot of the writing center, scholarship, that there weren’t a lot of. discussions around emotion and affect that were theorized in the same way that we see them or that we have seen them in composition theories. [00:02:23] Kelly Concannon: So one of the motivations was to bring some of that interdisciplinary work to writing center scholarship to make it, a little bit more theorized and a little bit more intelligible. And then Janine’s gonna talk a little bit about some of the things that we noticed because Janine and I worked very closely together as colleagues, as composition faculty, as graduate faculty, but more so in the writing and communication center where we mentor a lot of young, graduate students and we were starting to see some of those discrepancies there. So, Janine, [00:02:52] Janine Morris: yes. So Kelly and I, with a staff of about 70 undergraduate, depending on the semester, I think anywhere between 20 and 30 graduate, peer consultants. And each semester our writing center starts with the training. And so we try to make visible, conversations around emotions that happen through the work students are doing in the writing center. [00:03:14] And so since we’ve started those conversations, Kelly helps oversee the education and training kind of throughout the year of our staff. And so we’ve brought in workshops, but we noticed initially that the consultants we worked with really wanted to talk about their feelings and talk about what was going on in their sessions. [00:03:31] Janine Morris: And once we made space for those conversations, they were really productive in, bringing together. , lot of different experiences, people who were finding the same kind of things during sessions and I think it legitimized some of the things that they were experiencing that they maybe felt were isolated incidents or things that they were experiencing one-on-one. I don’t know Kelly, do you think that captures that? [00:03:55] Kelly Concannon: Yeah. I think one of the things to add is, we were starting to see that there was that shift towards these conversations in writing center scholarship, but it was one of those things where you start to see the beginning move towards the integration, but it still became an add-on. [00:04:13] So for example, Janine and I would be the specialist who would come in and say, all right, while emotions and, and uncomfortable disruptive, things might happen in your sessions or we might integrate that into conversation around and training at the beginning of the semester, but it would dissipate, right? [00:04:29] So we would start really strong, but we noticed that it wasn’t something that was integrated into training, into practice, into theory. And so consequently, we wanted to have a collection that started to bring all those things together from different vantage. [00:04:45] Esther Namubiru: One of the things that I love about the way you describe emotions, and, I’m gonna read it out loud and then I will toss it over to Anna because she does have a, a very important question to ask about it. [00:04:55] But you say that “emotions are personal, socially constructed, biological, cognitive, and embodied,” and then you say much later, “the tight braid of affect and judgment socially and historically constructed and bodily lived through which the symbolic takes hold of and binds the individual in complex and contradictory ways to the social order and its structure of meaning.” [00:05:20] And the reason why those two quotes matter to me is because. first I always wanna make sure I understand what are the definitions we’re working with here. And so when I was looking through the collection, that was where my brain was going. What do they actually mean by emotions? Because it’s so different to talk about this particular issue in the writing center. So, thank you so much for providing those very important definitions. Anna. You also noticed that there was something about the purpose of this text that was connected to, Sarah Ahmed’s work, right? [00:05:47] Anna Habib: Yeah. Thanks Esther. So Sarah Ahmed argues for a clear shift from solely focusing on what emotions and affect are to focusing more on their functionality. From your perspective, why does the functionality of emotions matter for both writing center work and for writing center scholarship? [00:06:06] Janine Morris: We hope that the collection shows the ways that emotions appear in different contexts and looks at emotions as they exist amongst other people and in different kind of situations and encounters. So Ahmed talks also about going beyond a hierarchy of emotions. And so I think we wanted to try and do that as well. So, I’m thinking specifically of chapters by Alicia Daniel’s story, or Anna Rita Napoleone, who talk about class or disposition. as these experiences that people have kind of formative through education and when they’re younger. And both of these women are directors at their institutions, but still have bodily and emotive experiences that come from their class position or from their dispositions and orientation towards education. And so through their work, they talk about how that changes their ways of working with tutors, their experiences with their staff, and those backgrounds that we might not think about really actively change the way that we work with others. [00:07:08] The collection I think shows that, you know, emotions aren’t something we experience by ourselves, but really have an impact on the way we lead, the way we mentor. And then recognizing that in ourselves, we can recognize that in our consultants that we work with and our consultants can recognize that in the students that they work with. [00:07:24] Those backgrounds might shape their orientations towards their, writing, towards their classes and towards their experience in writing centers. [00:07:31] Kelly Concannon: And to add to that Janine and I were talking earlier, you know, the idea of crying. Crying is usually something that’s associated with female bodies, it’s associated with weaknesses, et cetera. And so we’re trying to create opportunities to, on the one hand, create space for more moments of different kinds of emotions and aspects to circulate in these spaces, to be intelligible in these spaces, to disrupt what has historically been identified appropriate because they’re historically constructed, right? So it’s, it’s very much to this idea of circulation, repetition over and over and over again. That, that allows these things to have meaning. We’re also trying to push beyond the boundaries of what that means, of what kinds of stories, narratives, bodies, et cetera, can op occupy these spaces. [00:08:20] So one of the other things that I love, love, love that, Ahmed talks about is how we literally are inscribing onto certain kinds of bodies, certain types of emotions that we see as intelligible. and so we really wanted to take a lot of these ideas. So that it’s not Kelly feels bad today, so she’s gonna cry and she’s having a bad day, and maybe she’s you know, hormonal, whatever it is, like sort of justifying the, this doesn’t belong in this space, this body, this feeling doesn’t belong in this space. [00:08:48] But again, to create opportunities to disrupt a lot of these narratives. And we’ve found that, you know, the post-colonial theory, these types of ideas about emotions and affect that are not stagnant. They’re not stable. really the idea of the motion, motion motion was so significant to us given, you know, given our work as feminists, given our work as, mentors especially. [00:09:14] Janine Morris: And Kelly, you mentioned the word appropriate and when we think about our writing center and we’re thinking about our training for next semester, about our consultant professionalism and, how they should be, how students and consultants should kind of behave in this space, I think that some of the chapters in the collection really reveal, how even though we may be performing a certain kind of professionalism, that may not be what everyone is experiencing. [00:09:37] , thinking about the work that McKinney and her co-writers talk about in terms of. administrator labor, I think is really, interesting. The idea of appropriateness. I haven’t really thought about that as kind of like an underlying theme of some of the chapters, but now that you say it, Kelly, you know, I do see that kind of professionalism and performance coming through in some different ways. [00:09:57] Anna Habib: This is making me think of the historical social construction of emotion and affect how, especially post-enlightenment the emotional and affective part of knowledge was, let go of and the cognitive logical approach to knowledge was prioritized. [00:10:14] And I love bringing back the phenomenological aspect of our truths and our experiences. And now that we’re talking about it in the writing center space, it’s probably so helpful for tutors and consultants to recognize that a lot of what they might be feeling is a socially constructed experience. And, the part about performance, if I come into the writing space and I’m a consultant or an administrator, I feel like I have to perform a certain way. I have to perform this professionalism when really that’s at odds with my actual internal affective or emotional experience, and making space for that conversation seems so valuable in the writing center space and in the writing classroom. [00:11:01] Kelly Concannon: and Anna, as you were speaking, I was thinking when we’re talking to consultants that in a session where they feel uncomfortable. Tell us. And so it’s such an interesting position that we put them in the absence of alternative conversations about what might be not problematic, right? So if I’m a female and I’m socialized in a particular way, it might be you know, suck it up. Or the, the, consultation was, you know, disruptive, but maybe it was my fault. All those ideologies, right? That surface when at the same time we’re saying follow your instinct. [00:11:33] So Janine and I have said that’s a consultant but it also, as you were speaking, I was thinking, what does that even mean? You know, because if I’m socialized in a particular way to behave in a certain way, then my instinct, I’m gonna have a hard time maybe tapping into that. [00:11:47] Janine and I have done a study on mindfulness, with a lot of our graduate students integrating like literacy and mindfulness and mentorship. And I think that in that space, because we did it consistently because there was so much writing because we spent so much time cultivating a sense of trust and vulnerability, those students, I feel like were a little bit more, able to cultivate that sense of authenticity to share when they were feeling uncertain, when they felt like they were engaging in imposter syndrome, et cetera. But in the absences of those sustained conversations and relationships, it makes it much more difficult. [00:12:24] Janine Morris: I agree. And this conversation’s making me think a little bit about, Celeste del Russo’s chapter. So she had her consultants write empathy narratives that describe their identities as they inform different experiences that they have in the writing center. So within the collection, her chapter is sort of at least a model of how you can maybe integrate that awareness into training, or bring it into like writing center practices that are happening in different kinds of spaces. [00:12:53] Weijia Li: And while you all, talking about the emotions, I thought about the peer consultants, in my institution, which is a liberal art college, our student employees are mostly undergrads. I was reminded of, a recent meeting, in which a senior, a female student, who’s a consultant shared a very uncomfortable consultation. [00:13:16] It wasn’t uncomfortable in a way that’s off-putting but because the student she was meeting didn’t seem willing to come to the writing center, our consultant didn’t ask, but she sensed that the writer didn’t wanna be there, but because maybe the professor was like, oh, you gotta visit the writing center so that you get the extra point the writer was there, so in the meeting she described how her rhythm was disrupted because of the energy she sensed from this writer. And now that I’m in this conversation, I thought it would’ve been helpful to talk a bit more with our consultant to help her clarify where is this coming from? Is this about the writer or is this something that ticked off whatever you are feeling at this moment regardless of the consultation? So, there’s a lot to talk about. [00:14:09] Janine Morris: and that situation you’re describing is something that feels so familiar to what we, talk about in our weekly meetings. I think even being able to have a space to make visible that those conversations are happening at a lot of different institutions can be helpful for making people feel less alone in what they’re experiencing. [00:14:27] Esther Namubiru: Hi there. It’s Esther. If you’re liking what you hear, please leave us a review and subscribe. It helps us out and it helps others find this podcast. Thank you. [00:15:09] Weijia Li: In the introduction, you both wrote, and I quote, “we avoid distinguishing between good and bad emotions and instead acknowledge the importance of how emotions are shaped, circulated, read, and interpreted.” so how does this approach help us push the boundaries of the comfortable and neutral narratives that often characterize writing center work and experiences? [00:15:31] Kelly Concannon: I’m gonna start that one from a mindfulness perspective. Oftentimes because we’re placing value on certain kinds of feelings, we have a whole list of different feelings that we can feel but certain types of emotions shouldn’t be felt by certain kinds of bodies in certain kinds of spaces. That’s problematic. Putting a value upon them becomes problematic because it’s this sense of disciplining emotions and then consequently disciplining certain types of bodies. and it goes into a lot of what we spoke about in terms of [00:16:02] performativity. Folks are coming in and they’re being asked to perform in a certain way, but how does that then disallow us from creating certain kinds of connections, knowledges, conversations, et cetera? So by taking away the value, we can allow for all of those things to happen in the spaces. Again, from a mindfulness perspective, like I’m a trauma-informed yoga teacher. And so the idea for us is always like, feel your feelings. Let ’em go. So if you repress them, they, they build up in the body. [00:16:31] Kelly Concannon: If you, hold onto them, they build up in the mind, in the heart, et cetera. And so feel them so that they go through you. And then the other piece is the more academic part. [00:16:40] Janine Morris: And building on what Kelly’s saying, I think that it’s important to recognize, even though we’re disciplined to show and experience our emotions in certain ways, like they’re still there. [00:16:49] And, one of the things that, Lauren Brentnell, Elise Dixon, and Rachel Robinson talk about in the chapter on crying is that they wanna try to reclaim crying as a productive act versus something that is, looked down upon or seen as being weak or, you know, associated with women. And they talk about, kind of the power dynamics of crying. Emotions can be productive in some way. And another chapter, that sort of sticks out to me in this part is the chapter by, Erica McCarthy, Elizabeth Leahy about, medic responses and listening, in response to surveys they received as administrators. [00:17:27] Getting feedback on what happens during sessions that feels like a common practice, but we have those responses to them. I think about anytime I get a negative student evaluation, how that’s the one I hold onto. And so I think having a model for recognizing the emotion, but then doing something or let it, like Kelly’s saying, kind of let it go. and recognize it for what it is. It’s there, feel it, experience it. But then, you can move on, and Anna, you had said a little while ago, even being able to name and see that the emotions are there, can help you move beyond them as a productive act. [00:17:59] Kelly Concannon: Think of it this way. If you’re told that because you’re embodied in a certain way, you can’t experience certain kinds of feelings in these spaces, eventually you’re not gonna be a part of the space. You’re gonna start to pull back. You see in terms of leadership positions, again, Janine and I are in charge of a lot of students at the university. and when we get angry, when we’re disappointed, all those kinds of things, students look at us much differently, I would assume, than other, members of our leadership team because of the way that we’re embodied. [00:18:29] So we’re trying to figure out a way to allow for different kinds of bodies to experience what they’re experiencing, so there’s a lot of undoing while we’re doing if that makes sense. [00:18:39] Anna Habib: Yes, absolutely. Emotion, affect and embodiment. They’re so intertwined. Explain how you are differentiating those three terms or how they’re really inextricably linked? [00:18:54] Kelly Concannon: The feelings, the sensations are coming into the body, and then we’re naming them a particular way because they’re in intelligible based on our interaction with other people. So there’s that. But how we’re embodied how people read our bodies. And then consequently, how are bodies then being disciplined based on whether or not they should or should not be a part of that. [00:19:16] space, right? And so that’s always something that’s really interesting to me as somebody who’s a first generation college student, my dad didn’t finish high school, plus I’m really tall, plus I’m a heterosexual female, able-bodied, et cetera. And so I’m always overly aware of how I’m being read, and as a result, the way I express and interact with students, there’s always a consequence. [00:19:40] Right? And that’s sort of how I, how I’ve been navigating being an instructor, since I got my PhD. You know, there’s a consequence to the way that I engage with those emotions or express those emotions and that’s based on, again, the postcolonial theory, it’s based on things I have no control [00:19:57] over, right? So it’s power, privilege, a lack of power, oppression, et cetera. So it’s a, it’s an interesting tension when you walk into the space, right? So Sarah Ahmed’s idea of the encounter, how we come into the space is almost always, already predetermined, right? And then how do we engage in order to create something new in the present moment? It’s an interesting tension. [00:20:20] Janine Morris: So if you go into a room and two people are fighting, the room feels a certain way. It feels different. likewise, depending on how an encounter goes with somebody, right? The way that you kind of talk and act and sort of are around each other, the feeling in the room can change. Ahmed she describes affect as being this change of state between people’s as they encounter one another. [00:20:45] And so affect is that change that’s not, not even sort of linguistically describable, whereas emotion is how we name what we feel and what we experience in our bodies. So I’m happy, I’m stressed, I’m confident. And then, I think that all of those things get embodied and show up in certain ways, depending on the person. [00:21:08] I am personally a crier like that is my kind of a way of expressing emotion. Whereas I know other people get angry, other people do silent treatment. So I think that the way that emotions show up in our bodies, would be how I’m seeing kind of the embodiment of all of it. [00:21:26] Anna Habib: I think we’re so trained to read our own emotional landscape and oftentimes invalidate our own emotions but also we’re so trained not to tap into the affective landscape or our own instinctual gut feeling in this western post-colonial, post-structural, post-modern world. [00:21:50] Esther Namubiru: And to add to that, the other way that we make the emotions absent, is by focusing on the causes behind the emotions, which is why I was very struck by this chapter about burnout and imposter syndrome for graduate students. So I was wondering if you could speak to burnout and imposter syndrome under emotion and affect. [00:22:11] Janine Morris: Burnout and imposter syndrome fit in the same realm as things like emotional labor and performance. They’re not emotions, but they’re experiences that people have in their jobs that affect the work they do and how they identify in different spaces. [00:22:28] Chavannes’ and her colleagues’ talk about how their orientations to the writing center and their feelings of imposter syndrome affected how they could act as administrators. And I think what’s unique about, graduate student administrative experiences is that you’re navigating on the one hand how to be a graduate student. So they talk about their first year master’s students coming into the writing center in administrative positions. And I’m thinking specifically about Sabrina, who never worked in a writing center before she came to the writing center. And so to number one, be in a new institution, learn how to be a graduate student, and then also have the responsibility of learning what a writing center does, how to be in a writing center, how to consult, but also overseeing a large staff of undergraduate students. You know, her identity as a professional is affected. And so her experience of imposter syndrome in some ways impacts what she feels when she’s in this space, how she can act around others. [00:23:28] And those experience are related to affect because if you’re feeling a lack of confidence and that’s displayed outwardly to the people that you’re working with, then your authority gets undermined. And then she’s a black woman so already her authority is undermined in different ways in being young and then having this feeling that she doesn’t know the same amount of stuff as other people about the writing center. It impacts her as a leader, impacts all of us as leaders when we’re experiencing imposter syndrome. So they are related, in that they affect the work that we’re able to do. [00:24:03] Weijia Li: So how did the authors from part two discuss emotions and affect when it comes to working with writers? [00:24:11] Janine Morris: One thing that really sticks out about that section is the relationship building that takes place during sessions. Celeste Del Russo’s chapter, she quotes a consultant saying, “can’t we just stick to the writing?” [00:24:22] The chapters in that section show that you can’t just stick to the writing. the different kinds of context and how in the process of relationship building, it’s not possible. ? I guess it is possible cuz people ignore emotions all the time. [00:24:35] But that you can learn really interesting things about what happens during a session or why things happen a certain way when you step back and look at, what’s below the surface [00:24:45] Kelly Concannon: And to add to that, you know, you can’t have these conversations about literacy interactions, consultations without thinking about how emotions factor in different issues related to social justice, different issues related to embodiment. [00:25:01] Like Janine said that oftentimes we want them to be separate, but they’re not. And we see that a lot of the times with maybe with our own students or in our own, sessions as well. Whereas, you know, section three we’re trying to create additional conversations and trying to move things forward, given some of the social contacts or some of the issues happening currently in our culture and how those types of emotional things additionally affect our ability to move forward as writing consultants or facilitators. [00:25:33] Anna Habib: On the point of section three Genie Giamo’s question right at the end, the question and the title of the chapter is, “Is it enough?: An interrogation of the wellness turn in writing centers.” Could you answer that question from your perspective and from your work as co-editors on this collection? [00:25:54] Janine Morris: Well I’m glad you brought up Genie’s chapter. So even though, we’re arguing that it’s important to make space for wellness and make space for, having conversations about emotion, [00:26:04] Genie raises some important caveats and points about, you know, we can’t be all things to all people. Like, when is it too much to be taking on these things ourselves? Her chapter highlights the material conditions that we operate under and how those material conditions affect our work. And, going back to, Erica and Elizabeth’s chapter about, medic responses that we’re in these positions where, we are collaborating with people across the disciplines and [00:26:32] working with faculty to develop training and working with students across the disciplines, and so when we’re constrained in so many ways and trying to play the game of existing in higher education, getting funding, is it enough to be pushing wellness initiatives and taking on more added work than we should or need to be doing. [00:26:53] Kelly Concannon: Janine and I doing a small mentor group with four graduate students on the one hand that does disrupt the space. It’s not a larger structural shift. So anytime you’re trying to integrate things, what’s too much for one person to do? I think that Genie talks a lot about these things never being enough because they’re not a, a lot of buy-in on a structural level. [00:27:15] and so how can we continue to create these spaces for these types of stories to illustrate that these things are viable, they are necessary. They do help us be better teachers coming together towards a common understanding. [00:27:31] Janine Morris: And I also wanna mention that we started putting this collection together in 2018 wrapping up in 2022. And so we’re working on this kind of throughout the pandemic. And so although the chapters aren’t actively reflecting what’s going on in the pandemic, we’re hoping that the Epilogues pointing to the ways that, because of everything that’s gone on in the last few years, all the loss people have experienced both personally and professionally in writing centers who’ve had to cut back and cut budgets. We’re in this context right now where, it’s impossible to ignore our emotions and I think that we’re doing a disservice by not including conversations or recognizing, the effect of work that’s happening, in the writing center. [00:28:14] Anna Habib: Is it, I often- Okay. I recognize the argument and I appreciate it and think it’s important that, you know, we can’t be all things to all people. And that there is a lot of labor and there are a lot of constraints involved in enacting this scholarship. and yet at the same time, when we start talking about institutionalizing this work, I have this weird reaction where, when we’re talking about emotion and affect, and then we’re talking about structure and system, like those two things feel, like, I don’t want to structure and systematize this. Does that make sense? [00:28:57] Kelly Concannon: Yeah. Can I add to that? So the majority of the work that I do as a person is like community outreach. I’m teaching a, a built up sponsorship program. We’re doing the four agreements tonight with Women in Recovery. So we have a book club, it’s sponsored through Nova, through the writing center and our department. So when I was in graduate school, I worked with Steve Parks and it was always like, once we institutionalized this, it’s ruined. Right? Like now it’s, now it’s a thing. [00:29:22] Now somebody’s gonna take over and they’re gonna wreck it and it’s gonna be a whole production, right? But then at the same time, I wonder again what is it about you that that creates a visceral response? Why are those things so historically disconnected? [00:29:36] That we can’t have a space where, right. Because even as a yoga teacher, a wellness coach, I do mindfulness, we’re starting to institutionalize mindfulness and it’s not a bad thing? and again, to get out of good or bad, what happens when those things become a part of our daily practices versus we look at it like it’s another thing to do. [00:29:56] You’re gonna have people who don’t care, who are trying to pretend that they care. That was the biggest thing for me with community engagement was that now you’re institutionalizing the way that you’re supposed to feel, well we already do that. [00:30:07] Right? and so for me it was like, you’re gonna pretend like you care about working with marginalized groups in the community when you don’t. You’re gonna pretend you’re aware of how you’re embodied as a white person from Chicago working with women of color in the city. Right? And so for me, I remember having that initial visceral response, but now working as an administrator, as a faculty member, as somebody who does community outreach, I’ve figured out a way to make it, maybe not using the word institutionalized but like integrated into centralized into what it is that we value. And so for me, that shift made it much more palatable, so that I wasn’t so grossed out that the bad guys are gonna come in and pretend like they care about our students and then they’re gonna ruin everything. And, I’m using that language on purpose, because as you were speaking, I was like, wow, I remember having that feeling. And I similarly still do in some areas. [00:31:05] Janine Morris: And Kelly, for me, it’s the word value. You and and I value this, so we make it a priority in our writing center to have conversations with consultants about emotions, and we make it a priority to tell our consultants if you find anything uncomfortable, we want you to tell us. [00:31:20] Doesn’t matter if you think it’s silly or other people might discount it, we want you to come talk to us because we want you to be in a space where you’re comfortable and we value and want to hear what you have to say, but I wonder if something gets like institutionalized and positions change and it’s in place, but the person in charge doesn’t value it, then to me like that feels problematic. [00:31:44] Kelly Concannon: And I think that’s what Genie’s warning us against. So Janine and I walk in with our journals and our yoga pants, and if we bring yoga mats and all this kind of business, no one cares about it except for us. Again, maybe it’s changing the, language there needs to be buy-in, support. So my dissertation is on care ethics. And so some of the issues related to care ethics and feminism, it’s, oh, well we can only do that and we can care and we can’t teach people to do the thing. [00:32:11] It draws attention to those elements as well. So, institutionalizing it again, I think that’s like a, such a negative connotation in some ways. So I think Janine, that’s, that’s absolutely right. Bringing it into something that is structured, valued, that’s embodied, that’s authentic, right? Because students need that level of authenticity. We teach the first year, experience courses and the whole point of that course is to mentor students. If they don’t think you care, they know you don’t care. [00:32:41] Anna Habib: Thank you for saying that. It’s actually disrupting the way I have been thinking, It is a shift in values or a paradigmatic shift where there is, I think institutional buy-in because a lot of times, and this is what we talked with Genie about there’s this commodification of the wellness industry and of mindfulness practice. A lot of institutions have jumped on that and discursively promoted it, when really in its structural enactment isn’t actually happening at the institution. But you’re right that why not that’s the point. Like that’s where the rub is for me. But if it can be integrated, then yes. I shouldn’t be opposed to a corporate context or an institutional context and wellness actually being integrated. [00:33:26] Esther Namubiru: Listeners, the edited collection we’ve talked about is Emotions and Affect in the Writing Center. Thank you so much Janine and Kelly for sharing your work with us. [00:33:35] Janine Morris: thank you so much for the conversation. This was so great, and we really appreciate you asking us to join you. [00:33:41] Kelly Concannon: Yeah, thank you so much. [00:33:43] Esther Namubiru: That’s it for today’s episode. We’d like to thank Emmanuel Mubiru for providing us our theme song and podcast co for providing us the songs Top Hop and Raining Again. If you’d like to learn more about this episode or any of the episodes in Slow Agency, please visit our website at w l n journal.org/blog.
The “Slow Agency” Podcast
Created and hosted by your CWCAB editors, the goal of this podcast is to open up time and space in this productivity-saturated culture to slow down and dialogue with leading thinkers and practitioners in writing studies worldwide. The title of the podcast is inspired by Micciche, L. (2011) For slow agency. Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, 35 (1), 73-90. Our inaugural episode features WLN’s journal editors whose wisdom and hard work make this journal and the blog possible.