I’ve been putting off writing and sending this, and now it’s too long! Apologies—and hope you’ll stick with me to the end, there are some great events linked at the bottom.
Many thanks to the group who joined us to talk about Katherine McKittrick’s Dear Science. I especially loved the thinking we did together about how to practice a kind of intellectual generosity—something that goes beyond a standard bibliography, that can instead somehow point to the depth and breadth that someone’s writing or thinking has had on our own work.
In the days since that conversation, I’ve also looked back at The Hundreds by Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart, and I’m struck by their exploration of the same generous impulse, this time in collaboration and with sharp formal constraints (each segment is precisely one hundred words long, or written in multiples of a hundred). Formatted like a typical works cited, one index—called “Some things we thought with”—includes not only texts but gestures, material objects, moments.
The index is startling in its juxtapositions, from high theory to the banal or profane. What happens to ‘serious’ literary references like works of Adorno and Agamben when sandwiched between them you have entries like “A few pansies stuck in a window box” and “A fuck-you shrug” (157)? By structuring the references this way, Berlant and Stewart flatten the distinctions between research and life—not unlike how McKittrick draws readers into the ways music weaves into her thoughts and writing. I love this layer of thinking about all the subtle influences to our ideas that may never make it onto the page.
We will gather on Wednesday, October 12 at 3pm EST; please register here.
This month, we’ll shift gears and tackle a crucially important topic to graduate education reform: white feminism in the academy. I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy for me to look at this head-on. It’s a topic that—as a white, feminist woman in the academy—I have many strong and contradictory feelings about, and sometimes have a hard time discussing without defensiveness. And yet—I know (and have seen, both through others’ actions and my own) that the brand of liberal feminism common to white women in the academy has historically been—and often continues to be—insidious and harmful. I would like to talk about it, about where it sits within the power hierarchies of higher ed, and about what kinds of responses are called for in doing the work of graduate education reform.
To get our discussion started, we will read “Beyond Choice: A dialogue on the whiteness of liberal feminism and reimagining freedom beyond individual choice,” co-written by Britt Munro (PhD student in English at CUNY Graduate Center) and Houda Ali (Master’s student at Latrobe University in Australia). Even if you can’t be there, Britt and Houda welcome everyone to read and share comments/feedback on the piece. And, as a reminder, you can always take a look at our collective notes here: bit.ly/inkcap-notes-2 .
Britt is in Australia, and probably can’t join us, so she shared some introductory thoughts and discussion questions:
Hey all! Thanks so much for taking the time to look at this (to whatever extent you are able). This was written a couple of years ago now—you know the pace of book chapters—for a collection aimed at undergraduate students. The collection, called Feminists Talk Whiteness, has come up for editing now so we’re in the process of going back over it. Houda and I would appreciate any thoughts, critiques, recommendations, tensions, points of disagreement or difficulty with the text. It all helps us to think, and the questions we raise here are ones that we continue to wrestle with/think and write about (especially for Houda in her thesis work).
We would really appreciate any thoughts on:
How do people in this group relate to feminism—what does it mean to you to identify as feminist, or not? What do you understand feminism to be? Big questions but would love to hear people’s thoughts!
How do people think this will sit with undergraduate readers? Obviously it won’t speak to every student, but we were aiming to make some of these ideas accessible, at least to an advanced undergraduate audience. If there are parts that stand out as too dense and/or convoluted we would love to know.
For those with a background in Black feminist and womanist theorizing, how did you read the piece? Do you think it is clear enough that our critique is of the entanglement of whiteness and liberal feminism? As Mahmood explores, the possible necessity of a relationship between liberalism and feminism more broadly is a really interesting question, but as an autoethnographic piece here we’re just thinking through the kind of feminism we were exposed to growing up, so we don’t go into depth with more radical feminist traditions.
Thank you all, again, so much! Sad I can’t be there but looking forward to hearing your thoughts. —Britt
Hope to see many of you there.
October 8, 2022
I don’t know the folks running this, but it sounds so good! I can’t go so if you do, please tell me all about it. The one-day virtual event (held in the UK, so… watch out for time zones) will focus on the following themes:
Pay what you can for tickets; register here.
Call for Proposals: Reviewing, Revising, and Refining Open Social Scholarship: Canada
This is part of the terrific Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership. The topic builds on epistemic injustice, the theme that Alyssa Arbuckle discussed with us a few months ago. I hope many will apply! Plus, Victoria is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit if you can.
What constitutes “knowledge”? It depends on who you ask. Proponents of increasing knowledge diversity in the academic sphere suggest that there are many overlapping knowledges: social, cultural, ancestral, scientific, familial, personal, scholarly, historical, tribal, and more. How do we ensure that digital research infrastructure under development is flexible enough to support diverse knowledges while standardized enough to ensure interoperability and sustainability?
Reviewing, Revising, and Refining Open Social Scholarship seeks to highlight open social scholarship activities, infrastructure, research, dissemination, and policies. The INKE Partnership has described open social scholarship as creating and disseminating research and research technologies to a broad, interdisciplinary audience of specialists and non-specialists in ways that are both accessible and significant. At Reviewing, Revising, and Refining Open Social Scholarship we will consider how to model open social scholarship practices and behaviour, as well as pursue the following guiding themes: community, training, connection, and policy.
Learn more here.
Whew! Thanks everyone, and sending much warmth and good wishes,