Editor's Note

Susanne E. Hall

I am delighted to share with you the first special issue of Prompt, “Social Justice Writing Assignments: Toward a Politics of Location.” This special issue is the first of two on social justice, and the second will be published in winter 2022 as issue 6.1.

Our special issues’ editors, Wiley Davi and Ann E. Green, along with their editorial assistant Olivia Giannetta, have written their own introduction to the issue that explains their experiences and goals in putting it together and offers a preview of each article. Ann, Wiley, and Olivia deserve full credit for the compelling issue you will be reading in these pages—they selected proposals, organized and oversaw peer review, and worked closely with authors to develop the issue. The issues bears the imprint of their expertise, energy, and ethics of care.

As a journal, we hope that our special issues on social justice will support and ignite efforts to fight structural oppression in higher education and beyond. These special issues aim to promote work by college instructors who are taking on issues of anti-racism, cultural competence, inclusion, and equity in their classrooms and in their writing assignments. These instructors are grappling with historical and current oppressions of various kinds and finding ways to meaningfully introduce them to students and to lead students to understand and challenge them. I believe our readers will find, in pondering the uses and limits of these assignments, valuable fuel for their own pedagogical work.

We are very fortunate to have Wiley Davi and Ann E. Green editing these special issues. They are scholars whom I admire deeply for their ability to incorporate teaching and research on social justice into their careers in myriad ways. Wiley Davi is professor of English and Media Studies at Bentley University, where they have served as chair of the EMS Department and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. Wiley is a program facilitator for Bentley’s Center for Women and Business and for the Rotterdam School of Management’s Erasmus Center for Women and Organizations. Their teaching and research interests span the fields of writing, diversity, gender studies, leadership, and service-learning. Wiley is co-author of the book Leading with Uncommon Sense (Davi and Spelman 2020), which offers new theories of humane and humble leadership. Ann E. Green is a professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where she started and directed the University Writing Center (1998-2004), directed the Gender Studies program, and directed the graduate program in Writing Studies. She received the 2017 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education Award from the National Society for Experiential Education, and she teaches in the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program. She regularly teaches an immersion course in violence and nonviolence that travels to Northern Ireland, and she also teaches “Hospital Stories,” a service-learning course in narrative medicine.

I have learned a great deal from our collaboration with Ann and Wiley on this issue and am deeply grateful for the care and expertise they have brought to this work. I thank them for helping us open new vistas for this journal. Ann and Wiley have been assisted in their editorial work by Olivia Giannetta, an English major at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Olivia has participated in the Inside/Out Prison Exchange program, volunteered in Youth Courts in Chester County, PA, and is currently working with the Pardon Project in Philadelphia. Serving as an editorial assistant for Prompt was part of her 2020 Summer Scholar’s Project. Thank you, Olivia, for your valuable work on this issue.

I also want to acknowledge an important recent transition for the journal. Jonathan Dueck, the founding co-editor of the journal, is stepping down from his remaining duties as technical editor. Jon stepped down as editor in 2018, after taking on a position as Vice President and Academic Dean at Canadian Mennonite University. Despite his incredibly busy schedule as a leader of his university, he continued to oversee the journal’s production through issue 4.2. As I wrote in my editor’s note for issue 2.2, Prompt would not exist without Jon. This is true not only because he and I developed the idea for the journal collaboratively, but also because he developed and maintained the considerable technical infrastructure needed to produce it. We are delighted to welcome to our team our new production editor, Brian N. Larson, Associate Professor of Law at Texas A&M University. Brian is already building on the strong foundation Jon established. You will notice some new design elements in this issue of the journal, and they are a result of Brian’s creativity and vision for our future work.

In closing my introduction to this special issue on social justice, I want to share an excerpt of a poem by Diane di Prima, whose work I revisited after her death last October. I first discovered and read di Prima’s Revolutionary Letters when I was in college, and her work helped encourage me to begin thinking about social justice more seriously. In “Revolutionary Letter #8,” she offers guidance to leftist protest organizers of the early 1970s. The poem’s final stanza offers a broader thesis for moving toward social justice:

NO ONE WAY WORKS, it will take all of us
shoving at the thing from all sides
to bring it down. (di Prima (2007), (2007), p. 17, originally published in 1971)

I hope this issue of Prompt inspires you to keep shoving at the things—ableism, homophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, and other forms of oppression—from wherever you are and in whatever ways you can. It will take all of us.


Davi, Wiley C., and Duncan H. Spelman. 2020. Leading with Uncommon Sense: Slowing down, Looking Inward, Taking Action. Springer.

di Prima, Diane. 2007. Revolutionary Letters. 5th expanded ed. San Francisco: Last Gasp.