Introduction: Why Transformation, Why Now?
Recorded Session, with Building the Fugitive Academy Organizers
March 5, 2021
This session will introduce the conference co-organizers and their relationships to the issues highlighted here. It will also provide a preview of the content that attendees can expect from each of the sessions. The conference is intended to offer important information for those doing work around inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and difference, and offer a dynamic and deliberative space for sharing work processes and models for progressive action in professional organizational spaces. Each of the organizers has a long and rich history of transformative justice work around those themes that they bring to this conversation.
Session 1: Histories of Disciplinary Resistance
Unrecorded seminar, featuring Gholam Khiabani, Isabel Molina-Guzmán, Catherine Knight Steele, and Kirt Wilson, with Anjali Vats moderating
March 12, 2021 @ 1:30pm–3:30pm EST
Social justice advocates often call upon their real and metaphorical ancestors and elders as they forge new liberatory paths. This seminar honors those who came before in communication and media studies by foregrounding the histories of anti-oppressive interventions in the field. By exploring the quotidian practices and extraordinary institutional building through which scholars have changed the fields of communication and media studies to be more radical, open, and welcoming for scholars of all backgrounds. Not only have the scholars in this seminar done the work of building their respective fields but they have borne witness to the dramatic changes that have brought us to the crossroads of this moment. Through engagement with oral histories and archives, this panel and workshop showcase social justice praxis in communication and media studies.
Recorded Workshop, featuring Roopali Mukherjee and Angharad Valdivia, with Anjali Vats moderating
The workshop accompanying this session will include skillbuilding around two deliverables: historical timelines of professional organization and power maps of the field. Writing histories of the field and power mapping both operate as radical praxis, insofar as they identify potential collaborators and recognize alternative visions of power. This session will help attendees to think about how their fields have evolved and how they might participate in ongoing social justice work in strategic and thoughtful ways.
Session 2: Thriving Against Whiteness
Unrecorded seminar, featuring Mohan Dutta, Lisa King, Benjamin LeMaster, and Khadijah Costley White, with Jo Hsu moderating
March 19, 2021 @ 1:30pm–3:30pm EST
For years, scholars at the margins have been writing about the corrosive effects of whiteness on their abilities to thrive. In the context of the academy, books like Presumed Incompetent trace the many microaggressions that structurally marginalized scholars are met with and the impact of those microaggressions on their well-being. Nonetheless, scholars at the margins must engage with whiteness on a day-to-day basis. This seminar focuses on developing ways of navigating whiteness in the workplace and cultivating nourishing communities of care beyond the workplace. Navigating whiteness in the workplace involves moving deftly through moments of codeswitching, confrontation, strategic ambiguity, and withdrawal. Cultivating nourishing communities of care requires affirming difference through mutual aid, community building, and care work. The scholars in this seminar share how they thrive in the face of whiteness. Speakers will also touch upon core skills, such as time management and self-care, that are required to advocate for scholars who rarely find themselves fully valued in traditional academic structures. Through engagement with literature on whiteness and care, this seminar and workshop will create a space to reimagine practices of working in and through whiteness while also ensuring that scholars at the margins thrive instead of merely surviving in the face of oppressive structures and practices.
Recorded workshop, featuring Andre E. Johnson and Srivi Ramasubramanian, with Jo Hsu moderating
The workshop accompanying this session will include skillbuilding around two deliverables: developing strategies for navigating whiteness in the academy and cultivating communities of care. Developing concrete strategies to work in the face of whiteness and cultivating communities of care are both important ways for people of color and other intersectionally marginalized groups to exist in the academy. This workshop will help attendees to think about how they might navigate their own institutions and create strategies of self-care outside of them.
Session 3: Radicalizing Power, Patronage & Mentorship
Unrecorded seminar, featuring Bernadette Calafell, John L. Jackson, Jr., Louis M. Maraj, and Kent Ono, with Robert Mejia moderating
April 9, 2021 @ 1:30pm–3:30pm EST
This seminar and workshop proceed from the assumption that fugitivity is an active practice of dismantling the foundations of modernity upon which domination is structured. It zeros in on two aspects of racial power in the academy: patronage and mentorship. The scholars in this seminar will discuss subverting dominant norms around power, patronage, and mentorship. Developing conversations around collaborative power, shareholder whiteness, and feminist mentorship provide just a few ways to think about radicalizing academic life, structurally and, in Fred Moten’s words, via fugitive practices. The scholars in this seminar will investigate how radical practices of power, patronage, and mentorship are remaking the field’s journals, professional organizations, and graduate programs. They will also show how rethinking power, patronage, and mentorship can create intellectual spaces that allow students of color, BIPOC students, undocumented students, students with disabilities, queer and trans students, and other students at the margins to thrive in academia.
Recorded workshop, featuring Lisa Corrigan and Michael Lechuga, with Robert Meija moderating
The workshop accompanying this session will include skillbuilding around two deliverables: strategies of mentorship beyond patronage and reimagining organizational structural power. Reimagining mentorship without allegiance to lineages of power is an important first step in democratizing the academy, as is rethinking power flow within organizations such as departments and professional organizations. This workshop will help attendees to think about how their respective fields might reimagine mentorship and power.
Session 4: The Labor of Inclusion, Diversity, Access, and Equity
Unrecorded seminar, featuring Walid Afifi, Rico Self, Francesca Sobande, and Myra Washington, with Anamik Saha moderating
April 16, 2021 @ 1:30pm–3:30pm EST
Over the past decade, scholars have done considerable amounts of work in inclusion, diversity, access, and equity. That work involves day-to-day relationship management as well as structural reinvention. In professional organizations, the work of inclusion, diversity, access, and equity (IDEA) may include reimagining organizational power charts, building robust IDEA committees, creating new divisions, crowdsourcing new journals, building non-traditional spaces for collaboration and connection, reinventing awards processes, interrogating whiteness in journal review standards, and so on. This seminar outlines some approaches to the work of building inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible infrastructures and considers the labor and practices that doing so involves. The scholars in these seminars speak from first-hand experiences with the activities described above.
Recorded workshop, featuring Ralina Joseph and Christa Olson, with Anamik Saha moderating
The workshop accompanying this session will revolve around three deliverables: developing documents from/for IDEA spaces, building frameworks for creating progressive professional organizations, and developing networks of individuals who take shared responsibility for the work of equity. Taking a deliberate approach to IDEA planning and thoughtfully changing structures are two ways that organizations can create more inclusive spaces that encourage reciprocal benefits for marginalized groups. This workshop will help attendees to think about how their respective fields can shift from extractive to collaborative models of IDEA work, through consideration of work that has been done and remains to be done in cultivating IDEA spaces.
Session 5: Rigor & Its Discontents
Unrecorded seminar, featuring Omar Al-Ghazzi, Vani Kannan, Carmen Kynard, and Kimberly Moffitt, with Aymar Jean Christian moderating
April 23, 2021 @ 1:30pm–3:30pm EST
For many years, metrics have been a site for social justice contestation in the academy. Disputes over assessment have been growing across organizations, including NCA, ICA, and RSA for the past decade. Black and Brown scholars have consistently contested the internal dynamics of journal editorial ships, awards processes, hiring decisions, graduate programs, and so on as based on exclusionary models of rigor. This seminar seeks to refocus conversations about rigor and merit, with an eye toward crafting communication and media studies specific models inclusive and equitable excellence. By exploring a variety of perspectives and approaches for defining rigor and merit, the panelists offer ways of broadening both concepts in favor of using them as tools of inclusivity and equity that center a pluriverse of epistemic positions and traditions instead of reinforcing Euro-American gatekeeping.
Recorded workshop, with André Brock and Karma Chávez, with Aymar Jean Christian moderating
The workshop accompanying this seminar will include skillbuilding around two deliverables: building inclusive rigor and merit metrics in journal editorial ships and developing inclusive and equitable decision making rationales. Reimagining conceptions of rigor and merit that are forms of cultural bias in disguise is centrally important to transforming communication, rhetoric, media studies, and cultural studies. This workshop will help attendees to think about how their respective fields can create inclusive models of rigor and merit that support goals of inclusion and equity.
Session 6: Ethical and Effective Public Scholarship
Unrecorded seminar, featuring Alexandrina Agloro, Sasha Costanza-Chock, Sean Jacobs, Lori Lopez, and with Sarah J. Jackson moderating
April 30, 2021 @ 1:30pm–3:30pm EST
Research does not exist in isolation. It draws from and influences the world. Understanding communication, rhetoric, media studies, and cultural studies from a transformative social justice framework requires that scholars reach beyond the confines of the university, bring their research to communities, and work with those communities. This seminar focuses on how scholars can ethically, sustainably, and impactfully engage and collaborate with diverse publics. The speakers in this seminar have worked with communities to develop research projects, hosted and produced public programs, supported and collaborated with community activists, organized electorally, and regularly appeared in public media to share research findings. As the penultimate session for this series, this seminar returns to the question of how scholars can ethically and meaningfully act as agents of transformative social change while interfacing with communities and publics.
Recorded workshop, with Chenjerai Kumanyika and Rachel Kuo, with Aymar Jean Christian moderating
The workshop accompanying this seminar will include skillbuilding around two deliverables: talking with the media and designing public scholarship projects that are resonant, accessible, and impactful. Developing and talking about public scholarship projects and designing metrics to accompany them are important skills in an academy that is increasingly public-facing. This workshop will help attendees to think about how they and their respective fields can engage questions of public scholarship, effectively and ethically.
Session 7: Advocating for Faculty, Staff, and Student Survival
Unrecorded seminar, featuring Ergin Bulut, Paula Chakravartty, Diana Isabel Martínez, and Lucy Miller, with Robert Mejia moderating
May 7, 2021 @ 1:30pm–3:30pm EST
The safety and security of our campuses is generally defined only by the comfort of those who benefit from policing, ableism, and profit, intersecting forces that frequently come to a head at the expense of vulnerable peoples. In the context of contemporary conversations about defunding the police and the reality laid bare about the disposability of people with disabilities/people of color through institutional responses to COVID-19, this seminar considers how to confront and dismantle structures of oppression on and off campus. In particular, it will cover advocating for undocumented students, dismantling police departments, preventing university encroachment into privacy, fighting racial pandemic capitalism, and related practices. The scholars speaking in this seminar will discuss practices for advocating for non-traditional and vulnerable students, which will be particularly important in the era of austerity that is currently developing.
Recorded workshop, featuring Hector Amaya and Ersula Ore, with Robert Mejia moderating
The workshop accompanying this seminar will include skillbuilding around two deliverables: advocating against state violence and building alternative models for ensuring faculty, staff, and student safety. Preparing for challenging and threatening situations is one way to take a stand against discipline and violence, in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable at our institutions. This workshop will help attendees think about what types of situations they might face in these challenging times and how they might address them in ways that honor the spirits of fugitivity and transformativeness. These strategies are vital for surviving and thriving in the Trump era and beyond.