Writing Democracy: The Political Turn in and Beyond the Trump Era calls on the field of writing studies to take up a necessary agenda of social and economic change in its classrooms, its scholarship, and its communities to challenge the rise of neoliberalism and right-wing nationalism.

Grown out of an extended national dialogue among public intellectuals, academic scholars, and writing teachers, collectively known as the Writing Democracy project, the book creates a strategic roadmap for how to reclaim the progressive and political possibilities of our field in response to the "twilight of neoliberalism" (Cox and Nilsen), ascendant right-wing nationalism at home (Trump) and abroad (Le Pen, Golden Dawn, UKIP), and hopeful radical uprisings (Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring). As such, the book tracks the emergence of a renewed left wing in rhetoric and activism post-2008, suggests how our work as teachers, scholars, and administrators can bring this new progressive framework into our institutions, and then moves outward to our role in activist campaigns that are reshaping public debate.

Part history, part theory, this book will be an essential read for faculty, graduate students, and advanced undergraduate students in composition and rhetoric and related fields focused on progressive pedagogy, university-community partnerships, and politics.

chapter 1|23 pages


What Does Democracy Look Like?
ByShannon Carter, Deborah Mutnick, Stephen Parks, Jessica Pauszek

part I|84 pages

Mapping the Political Turn

chapter 3|9 pages

“Organize as If It Were Possible to Create a Movement That Will Change the World”

An Interview with Angela Davis
ByLaToya Lydia Sawyer, Ben Kuebrich

chapter 4|22 pages

Marxist Ethics for Uncertain Times

ByNancy Welch

chapter 5|26 pages

A Pedagogy for the Political Turn

ByDeborah Mutnick

part II|66 pages

Variations on the Political Turn

chapter 6|12 pages

“I’d Like to Overthrow Capitalism, But Meanwhile, I Would Like the Nazis to be Completely Demoralized”

An Interview with Dana L. Cloud
ByStephen Parks

chapter 7|7 pages

Audience Addressed? Audience Invoked? Audience Organized!

BySeth Kahn

chapter 8|8 pages

Taking a Lead from Student Movements in a “Political Turn”

ByVani Kannan

chapter 9|12 pages

Nudging Ourselves Toward a Political Turn

ByPaul Feigenbaum

chapter 10|12 pages

Sustainable Audiences/Renewable Products

Penn State’s Student Farm, Business Writing, and Community Outreach
ByGeoffrey Clegg

chapter 11|13 pages

The Political Turn and the Two-Year College

Equity-Centered Partnerships and the Opportunities of Democratic Reform
ByDarin L. Jensen

part III|98 pages

Taking the Political Turn

chapter 12|15 pages

How Does It Feel to be a Problem at the 9/11 Museum?

ByTamara Issak

chapter 13|14 pages

Dismantling the Wall

Analyzing the Rhetorics of Shock and Writing Political Transformation
BySteven Alvarez

chapter 14|29 pages

Pass the Baton

Lessons from Historic Examples of the Political Turn, 19671–1968
ByShannon Carter

chapter 15|26 pages

The Visa Border Labyrinths

310 Colombian and U.S. Artists and Scholars Write Their Way Through
ByTamera Marko

chapter 16|12 pages


Further Notes on the Political Turn
ByDeborah Mutnick, Shannon Carter, Stephen Parks, Jessica Pauszek