Trahan: How would you describe the legacy of the former editors of Computers and Composition: An International Journal, Gail Hawisher and Cindy Selfe?
Blair: Wow. I think their legacy is that they’ve shaped the field. It’s not just about the journal or the Computers and Writing Conference, which they were both heavily involved with, it’s about the way in which those collectives, as well as the type of scholarship they’ve done, has formed a field. So that’s sort of the general legacy.
I think the much more local legacy is their collective or joint role as mentors to people in the field. So, they were mentors to me when I was a graduate student, even though I wasn’t their graduate student. What was great about being at Purdue in the early ‘90s is that they had a colloquia where folks like Cindy and Gail would come and give talks; so that’s how I met them. I met them as a graduate student. I was good friends and colleagues with Pam Takayoshi and they sat us down and we said “we want to do a collection!”—and they said “that would be great!” And they gave us all this advice about how to do it. And that became the collection that we did in 1999, Feminist Cyberscapes. So I can say, personally, that they have been mentors to me—but mentors to so many people, all over the country. I don’t know how they do it, in terms of the intention and the ethic of care they give to people. They’re just phenomenal. I love them. I love them.
My goal is to continue this notion of the collective that Cindy and Gail started over twenty-five years ago with the journal—in fact, now, nearly thirty years, given that we’re coming up on 2013, which will be the thirtieth anniversary of Computers and Composition in print. I don’t know that I want to call it “leaving a legacy”—that sounds a little bit too austere for me. But the idea of continuing on a tradition that welcomes this multiplicity of voices in as non-hierarchical a way as editing a major journal in the field can be. I think it’s important to use these editorial spaces to foster a space of inclusion, diversity, and voice around, you know, not only the issues themselves—whether it be sexuality or multilingualism—but certainly the people who get to talk. So that notion of who gets to speak and who gets to be heard; and we need to make that as wide a conversation as possible.