Photo by Megan Adams
Trahan: Do you consider Computers and Composition, print or online, or both, a feminist journal?
Blair: I think I definitely consider Computer and Composition Online a feminist journal, simply because we have engaged in review processes/support processes for graduate students who work on the journal as well as new and established authors who submit to the journal in ways that are more supportive and nurturing rather than “Oh, you submitted this; this isn’t working, we must reject it.” I think to some extent we’ve tried to do that with the print journal, though it’s just different…[with] a print journal that’s double-blind reviewed, there’s just not as much opportunity. I think that what you have to do is build review teams, whether they’re members of the editorial board or not, that have that similar philosophy. I have deliberately selected reviewers for C & C print that sort-of are like-minded in that way. And so I’ve gotten feedback from people like Jonathan Alexander, for example, who, you know, either recommended revise and resubmit or recommended decline, who has said, “How can we make this a mentoring moment?” He’s literally said things like that, knowing that we have someone new to the profession who really has something to say, but it’s not there yet. It’s really easy to get a rejection and feel squashed like a bug. <claps hands together, humorously> So we don’t do the squash like a bug mode. <laughs> We just sent a piece back to someone for C & C Online who has revised it twice and is going to have to revise it for a third time. Knowing that the individual is a graduate student, trying to get their own work done as part of their program, but [trying to convey] in as gently and as supportively as we could that’s it’s not quite there yet, we asked: “What can we do to help you again?”
Sometimes there are those [who submit to] C & C Online who have great ideas but they can’t really put them in digital form—so we establish team development models, non-hierarchical collaborations between authors and designers to make a piece multimodal. And when we do that, we honor those contributions equally. Yes, there is an author who gets author credit but there is a designer—in the past it’s been people like Joe Erickson, Jen Almjeld, or Brittany Cottrill who get designer credit. So basically they get credit for the piece because that’s part of the co-authoring process. So that to me is very feminist because it’s non-hierarchical; it emphasizes collaboration, it emphasizes mentoring. And it’s not just because you have a woman as editor—I think that that could be done by male editors, as well. I think it’s a matter of what we see journal editing to be. Is it a dialogue? Is it a conversation? Or is it gatekeeping?