Bethany Davila, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Writing, recently published an article with Hannah Dickinson, “At a Distance: The Encoding of Place in the University.” This article explores the discursive function and rhetorical effect of references to place, focusing specifically on the ways place-based ideologies can sustain inequalities in higher education. Davila and Dickinson draw on two interviews (one with an instructor and one with a student) to analyze the ways habituated, place-based ideologies—what Davila and Dickinson term Place—allow for certain places to function as coded language, perpetuating damaging ideologies. The article’s approach focuses not on situated, everyday practices of place-making, but instead on understandings of Place that are ascribed from a distance at a site of institutional power, such as the university. This article argues that because of Place, specific places become an acceptable—common sense, even—way to talk about race (among other forms of social identification) without acknowledging or unpacking the accompanying ideological baggage or its material consequences.
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