Before I write anything it needs to be said that I have it relatively good in these academic streets. I’m a cis Black man who’s at a top Sociology PhD program with funding and advisors who support me and allow me to do the kind of research I want. My biggest personal fears in academe is being rendered as a token or getting my research and … Continue reading #TheseAcademicHands and Higher Ed’s White Supremacy Problem
As a graduate student in sociology studying racial segregation and other forms of racial oppression, the realities of my people’s lives and deaths are a constant part of my lived experience. Part of why I became a sociologist was to do the research that uncovers hidden forms of oppression and documents avenues of resistance that my people and other oppressed people can utilize in their … Continue reading Killer Cops Won’t Wait On Your Next Article: The Role of Academics in Anti-Oppression Struggles
When we talk about rebel researchers we are referring to individuals or groups who have chosen to use their professional skills whether its in sociology, graphic design, law, social work, or dance to contribute to the furthering of justice in our society. They are rebels because they go against the grain of what society expects them to use their education and skills for, which is often power and profit. Today I … Continue reading Rebel Researchers: VENT Mag
Not too long ago I penned a piece for Inside Higher Ed and University of Venus’ Scholars Strike Back Series about the limited discussion around academics and public engagement. My core argument was simply that we need to not only focus on increasing positive public engagement but also combating public engagement that harms the public, which in my opinion also includes our research subjects. There was one part that has had me thinking recently:
We build our careers off of studying the social life and stories of other people and are submerged in a culture that, more often than not, treats people as opportunities for information extraction and exploits research subjects. Alternatively, if we taught scholars to engage in an ethic of equivalent exchange (an idea I borrow from a favorite TV show), giving equal value to what we are obtaining, we can make sure that their participation in our work will be worth their time. Research like that of Celeste Watkins-Hayes are examples of how scholars have given back without compromising their academic goals.
I recently attended the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting to present a paper. That paper was proposing an Africana Sociology that would use African epistemology and social thought to reimagine the sociological enterprise. My primary task at the conference was to gauge interest in such a topic so that I could get a feel for how scientifically useful/well received (interesting how those things are often the same) the project could be if I expanded it into a dissertation project. Lucky for me and my future career it was well received and in that I was very happy. My other purpose for being there was to find a reason to stay in sociology. That task wasn’t fully conscious for me until after the conference but was driven by the many bad experiences me and my peers have had in academia thus far. As I talked with people and watched presentations I realized for myself that in 2014 the fact that we’re still being abused in academia is often related to the fact that we often aren’t speaking up as much as we should and in many places POC academics aren’t organized enough to protect themselves over the long term. Continue reading “Forbidden Knowledge, Collective Action, and Marginalization in Academia”
Part of our blog’s purpose is to highlight struggles for liberation and freedom going on around the world and do what we can to let everyone know about them. On that note I had the pleasure some time ago to talk with Satori Ananda, an activist and organizer working with an organization called Friends of the Congo. Their organization’s goal is to highlight the abuses, outside influences, and internal conflicts that is tearing the Congolese people apart. Their main organizing effort in this capacity is an event called Congo Week which was October 14-20th last year. They also have a speaker tour which also spreads their message across different communities. Below is an email interview done with Satori about conditions in the Congo, her organization’s involvement, and what you can do to support their efforts.