RESEARCH AS CEREMONY:
DECOLONIZING ETHNIC STUDIES
April 3-5, 2014
The Ethnic Studies Department at Mills College is delighted to host the National Association for Ethnic Studies 42nd Conference.
Ethnic Studies today is threatened by the corporatization of the university and co-option by neo- liberal, “post-racial,” “post-feminist” rhetoric. The 2014 National Association for Ethnic Studies conference seeks to restore and renew our critical purpose and commitment to self-determination, social justice and intersectional praxis. We as scholars, activists, tribal leaders, grassroots organizers, and community-based organizations see research justice as a critical, intersectional praxis that can unlock the power and knowledge of our own communities both within and outside of academia. The sacredness of research as a ceremony calls upon each of us to foster solidarity, relational ethics, and counter-hegemonic knowledges and models of resistance.
In this spirit, we envision NAES 2014 as ceremony, an interdisciplinary space of creativity, struggle, and solidarity where academia, politics, community, arts, spirituality, and culture converge. We will convene a national Ethnic Studies Congress along with Talking Circles, Teach-Ins, and Workshops for exchange of ideas, research, and knowledge and presentations among community-based organizers, scholars, tribal leaders, youth leaders, policymakers, and others.
We particularly invite proposals that address the following three themes:
1. Research Justice: Research Justice seeks to transform the epistemic violence and structural inequality inherent in traditional research paradigms, by creating community-control of research agendas, design and dissemination. Research justice is achieved when communities of color, indigenous peoples, and marginalized groups are recognized as experts, and reclaim, own and wield all forms of knowledge and information. We are interested in how communities of resistance are using research as a critical intervention and active disruption of heteropatriarchal colonial institutional practices within and outside of academia. We are also interested in the possibilities and challenges facing scholars committed to working for research justice in the context of the academic-industrial complex.
2. Decolonizing Ethnic Studies: Since its inception, Ethnic Studies has been an insurgent, transformative force on high school, college and university campuses and beyond. Yet, the discipline has also been a site of heteropatriarchal and disablist violence and exclusion, careerism and cooption, and commodification within a neoliberal knowledge economy. To decolonize ethnic studies we must critically examine and transform our relationships with each other, with academia and with our communities. We are interested in courageous analyses that can assist us in reclaiming self-determination for the interdiscipline of Ethnic Studies, and transforming our own lives as educators, activists and scholars.
3. Critical Intersectionality: The concept of intersectionality is one of the most important contributions by women of color and queer of color scholars and activists to the social sciences, humanities and to practice arenas. Since its popularization, the meaning of the concept has been diluted, too often used only to identify multiple identities and subjectivities. Critical intersectionality centers structures of power and resulting asymmetrical power relations in interrogating not only identities but also the structural aspects of societal organization such as social, economic, and foreign policies and the processes that shape them. It also refers to critical analysis and creative expression that explore the intersections of power and subjectivity in the arts and humanities. We are interested in proposals that bring critical intersectionality into conversation with civil rights praxis, and that move beyond single issue approaches to contemporary struggles around, for example, mass incarceration, reproductive rights, border violence, and queer and trans liberation. We are also interested in interrogating assumptions about nation, borders and citizenship that are made visible when we shift the conversation from civil rights to human rights.
In the spirit of participatory engagement, we encourage presenters to propose workshops, teach-ins and talking circles that centrally include a range of voices, for example academics, artists, and activists in conversation. We also encourage presenters to counter the disabling tendencies of traditional formats, and to address a diversity of learning and communication styles. This might include multimedia presentations, cultural work, experiential and popular education approaches and other holistic methods.
Link to NAES: National Association for Ethnic Studies
Link to: Call for Proposals
Link to: Organizing Principles
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