Blog Series—A Year of Activism: Perspectives on the 2020 U.S. Elections

Starting in December 2019, Spark and Teacher-Scholar-Activist are partnering to bring you an activist-focused blog series leading up to the November 2020 U.S. general elections. Each month leading up to the election, we will feature a blog post written by a different scholar-activist that discusses their work and contextualizes it within the high stakes of our current moment.

Posts might address:

  • How these elections reflect a political, cultural, or social context and history
  • Where candidates stand and the implications of proposed policies
  • Problems that the 2020 elections will and won’t resolve
  • What academics can or are doing beyond voting

For the inaugural post in December 2019, “Service, Activism & Teachers,” Holly Hassel (North Dakota State University) addresses the relationship between institutional service and activism, underscoring the need for change at the local level–change that extends beyond the ballot box.

In the January 2020 post titled “White Supremacy, Anti-Racism, and the U.S. Presidency,” James Chase Sanchez (Middlebury College) characterizes the 2020 U.S. presidential election as a referendum on anti-racism, and he describes how we might begin to promulgate this perspective.

In his February 2020 post, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Online Targeting for Activism,” Michael Trice (MIT) implores us to move away from online targeting as a form of activism related to the elections, and he discusses the relationships among identity, online presence, social media activism, and local activism. In doing so, Michael argues for online activism to focus on outcomes.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on personal and professional schedules, we posted this statement in lieu of a March post.

In their May 2020 post, “Rejecting the ‘Comfort in Being Sad’: Relocating Agency within the Stakes of 2020,” Anthony Warnke and Kirsten Higgins (Green River College) discuss how the COVID-19 outbreak ups the stakes in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and they call for other teacher-scholar-activists to “reject the comfort of being sad” in favor of taking action around and through this election.

In June 2020 we published two posts. The first, “The Just Use of Imagination: A Call to Action,” comes from Natasha N. Jones (Michigan State University) and Miriam F. Williams (Texas State University). In their post, Drs. Jones and Williams describe how Black people have used their imaginations in order to fight injustice and survive in America. The authors call readers to action, challenging us to take inspiration from this tradition and imagine ways that we can dismantle white supremacy. This post also appears on the Association of Teacher of Technical Writing website.

In the second post for June 2020, “Standing Against Anti-Black Racism Within and Beyond the Academy: Amplifying Strategies for Action,” Don Unger (University of Mississippi) and Liz. Lane (University of Memphis), members of the Spark Editorial Collective, amplify voices from various organizations in writing, rhetoric, and literacy studies in an attempt to move toward building an anti-racist coalition across these fields. Finally, they offer links to resources that list specific actions that such a coalition could take to fight white supremacy in academic workplaces and in our local communities.

In the July 2020 post, “Do White People Hate Us?“, Kimberly C. Harper (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University) raises questions about the recent commitments that many white academics are making to antiracist practices and how these commitments will transform white academics’ behavior.


Check back in July for the next post in the series. We also encourage you to explore previous posts on Teacher-Scholar-Activist!

Spark Editorial Collective