Against the grain

Lore/tta LeMaster, Meggie Mapes, B. Liahnna Stanley, Angela Labador, Ana Isabel Terminel Iberri, Megan Stephenson, Tyler S. Rife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This agenda-setting theory essay offers a collaborative response to Sprague, J. (1992). Expanding the research agenda for instructional communication: Raising some unasked questions. Communication Education, 41(1), 1–25. early theorizing on critical approaches to communication pedagogy, developing it to account not only for critical developments since but also to the political precarity increasingly organizing everyday life, especially of the dispossessed and particularly of the Global South (Shome, 2020). Indeed, we argue that the only viable pedagogical route that responds to the precariousness of life in the twenty-first century must be emancipatory rather than reformist. To make our point, we offer a metareview of over a century of literature published in the Quarterly Journal of Speech (1915–1952) and Communication Education (formerly The Speech Teacher; 1952–2021) to reveal the same Western liberal philosophies of education undergirding communication pedagogies generally. In this regard, our agenda-setting essay calls for a paradigmatic shift against the grain and toward emancipatory futurities. Content warning: This essay cites anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, and xenophobic discourse; take good care of yourself as you move through these pages interrogating our disciplinary complicities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-187
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • critical communication pedagogy
  • critical pedagogy
  • emancipatory praxis
  • liberatory education
  • performance pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Education


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