Rachel Corrie was a 23-year-old peace activist and senior at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She was killed on March 16, 2003 in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. She was on leave from school to work in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement, a group using and promoting "nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies." Rachel was attempting to block an Israeli military bulldozer from demolishing the house of a pharmacist and his family when the driver of the bulldozer ran over her, then backed up and ran over her again. Wearing a bright orange jacket and using a bullhorn, Rachel was, by all eyewitness accounts and in horrifying photographs published on the Internet, exceptionally visible. Her parents, some members of Congress, and grassroots organizations including several Jewish peace groups have called for an independent U.S. investigation into her death. Such an investigation has yet to happen, and the U.S. media virtually buried the story--though it was featured prominently in the U.K. and in many other countries. A documentary film about her is currently in the works.
Corrie took courses like "Labor and the Environment" and "Public Art and the Middle East Conflict"; she also wrote detailed emails from Palestine. The late Edward Said, who met with her parents in May, 2003, wrote, "Her letters back to her family are truly remarkable documents of her ordinary humanity that made for very difficult and moving reading...."
The Progressive SIGs and Caucuses Coalition (PSCC) of the CCCC wishes to honor the memory of this extremely courageous student by recognizing a teacher in the CCCC who has taken professional risks in order to promote social justice through the teaching of writing. It is well known that the politics of hiring, tenure, and promotion often motivate graduate students and junior faculty to write, teach, and serve in "safe" subject and project areas; many are encouraged by mentors to shy away from genuinely "controversial" or "risky" subjects until they are tenured. In making this award, the PSCC hopes, conversely, to encourage writing teachers early in their careers to take on research, pedagogy, and service projects that promote commitment to peace, justice, and human dignity--even when hazarding the ire of deans, chairs, editors, and hiring and review committees.
There will be one $500 cash award to an individual and up to two smaller awards to individuals or groups. The prizes will be presented at the PSCC Annual Event at CCCC in San Antonio in March, 2004--which will also be the first anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death.
Graduate students and junior (untenured) faculty members who are members of CCCC are eligible to apply for the award. To nominate an individual or a group, send an email of 500 words to Harriet Malinowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org , clearly explaining what the nominee has done to merit this award. Include the following information for both the nominator and nominee: name, academic rank and/or employment status, telephone, email, institution, department, and any other organizational affiliations relevant to the award. The award will recognize a specific project--which may be, but is not limited to, a research, pedagogical, or curricular project, service to institution or professional organization, or partnership with a community organization--that serves the goals discussed above and that, frankly, takes guts. Finalists will be contacted to present further evidence of their projects: an article (not necessarily published), a dissertation abstract and chapter, a syllabus, a new curriculum design, a more detailed project description with appropriate documentation, etc. The winners will be selected by a jury of three members of PSCC and/or its constituent SIGs and caucuses. Nomination deadline: January 5, 2004.
Professor of English
City University of New York Graduate School