This working group creates an inclusive forum for students and faculty for interdisciplinary research and engaged chimeric scholarship – crucially led by graduate students as active agents of change, particularly through the lens of lived experiences of students of colour and Indigenous students, who comprise the group majority.
Voice and marginality are intrinsically intertwined with racism and colonialism, yet considerations on whose voice, and who speaks for whom, are often overlooked in Western academic spaces.
Our research privileges the perspective and priorities of the communities we work with, in diverse fields across Indigenous political theory and sovereignty, environmental and natural resource governance, curriculum, literacy and participatory communication, with Indigenous / remote / diasporic and immigrant communities globally.
This working group, led by graduate students, is a collaborative, creative and critical research space stemming from the common call against imperialism and paternalism. We seek to build a community focused on critical reflection, interdisciplinarity, and engaged scholarship that contributes to social change. This space validates different ways of knowing and being, and seeks to uplift voices of students and scholars from Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities.
We aim to support and serve as a platform for early-career researchers.
We learn from each other’s research and lived experiences, build trust with each other for solidarity and support.
We engage in self-reflection on our own positionalities with regards to our research.
We seek to build a new epistemic community that fosters productive intersectionality, praxis, and engaged scholarship.
Voice and marginality at the nexus of racism and colonialism not only lie at the heart of Indigenous geographies and critical race studies, but provide fertile terrain for interdisciplinary research.
Voice and marginality are intrinsically intertwined with racism and colonialism, yet considerations on whose voice, who speaks for whom, and Gayatri Spivak's1 ringing question, ‘can the subaltern speak?’ are often overlooked in Western academic spaces, or reimagined by white scholars with the power to shape such spaces. Mahtani2 observes the entrenched marginalization of scholars of colour in Western academy, paradoxically alongside the growing scholarship on race and colonialism. Pualani Louis3, in advocating for Indigenous methodologies that privilege the marginalized voice, descries a research landscape shaped by Western paradigms which leave little space for other ways of being and doing, prompting her to challenge, ‘can you hear us now?’ Our focus on ‘voice and marginality’ privileges and centres the perspective and priorities of the communities with whom we conduct research, across the diverse research areas of our members, including Indigenous political theory and sovereignty, environmental and natural resource governance, curriculum, literacy and participatory communication, with rural and remote communities, Indigenous communities, diasporic and immigrant populations.
This working group seeks to create an inclusive forum for students and faculty for interdisciplinary research and engaged chimeric4 scholarship – crucially led by graduate students as active agents of change, particularly through the lens of lived experiences of students of colour and Indigenous students, who comprise the group majority. There is strong potential for enriched perspectives and revitalized scholarly engagement. Our student members, from different Departments, have demonstrated productive sharing on the theme of voice and marginality at the nexus of racism and colonialism, in the cross-cutting areas of critical reflection, racial equity, Indigenous politics and geographies, innovative ways of sharing scholarship in ways that honour the community such as research storytelling, scholar activism, and more. Yet, a research space on this theme, critically uplifting voices of Indigenous scholars and practitioners, and those of colour, is lacking.
Students often lack meaningful academic leadership to rise beyond closed epistemic communities that police disciplinary borders, eschew scholar-activism, and resist decolonization and dismantlement of deeply embedded white supremacist structures within academia. This group strives to model the leadership that many graduate students seek but which is often lacking in Western academia. We envision this as a new, collaborative, creative, and critical research space stemming from the common call against imperialism and paternalism, toward a new epistemic community that fosters productive intersectionality, praxis, and engaged scholarship. This space empowers scholars to reflect on our own positionalities and to carefully attend to the epistemological and ontological ways in which our research, situated in Western neoliberal academia, serves not to totalize and dehumanize, but to empower the voice of the communities with which we work. This space validates different ways of knowing and being, learning from academia and phenomenological lived experience. Through our approach of building relational trust, this group creates a network of solidarity and support, as reflected in the intentional, informal, and dialogical style of collaborative engagement with members as well as the public through our events.
1 Spivak, G. C. (1988). Can the Subaltern Speak? In C. Nelson & L. Grossberg (Eds.), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (pp. 271–313). Basingstoke: Macmillan Education. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781912281770
2 Mahtani, M. (2014). Toxic geographies: Absences in critical race thought and practice in social and cultural geography. Social & Cultural Geography, 15(4), 359-367.
3 Louis, R. P. (2007). Can You Hear us Now? Voices from the Margin: Using Indigenous Methodologies in Geographic Research. Geographical Research, 45(2), 130–139. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-5871.2007.00443.x
4 Nightingale, A. (2021). Chimeric Scholarship: situated knowledges, mixing methods and the challenges of interdisciplinary research [Conference presentation]. 58th Annual Department of Geography Conference, Calgary, AB.
Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons (2013)