We are a collective of women of color in political science of queer, working class, and first-generation experience.
Defund the bigots.
Liberate the classroom.
Abolish the ivory tower.
Over the course of three days preceding the 2020 Southern Political Science Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, nine junior women of color from across the country met to participate in a writing retreat supported by the APSA Centennial Grant. During this time, we engaged in mutual accountability partnerships, thought exercises, and in-depth writing experiences paced by our own needs and goals. What’s more, we each found space at the retreat to authentically and fully engage in dialogue about what it means to be an untenured woman of color in political science, how graduate school shaped our early career experiences, and what we hope our work provides in terms of intervening in the broader discipline. The retreat space created a venue to openly discuss the various ways our intersectional identities emerge and opportunities to bring the full dimensions of ourselves into a political science space. It was an important time to interrogate academic and disciplinary practices passed down to us, and deliberate on what can move us from surviving in our fields to thriving as our fullest selves.
This collective is concerned with decolonial intersectional politics as practiced in political science. The central topics of interest include: investigating the ways our discipline and academia relate to and are complicit in politics and systems that marginalize; developing methods and frameworks that are in tune with the reality of changing demographic and political landscapes in 2020; and imagining new sociopolitical structures and power relations.
We aim to build an intellectually productive and collegial space for scholars to engage in decolonial intersectional praxis. This includes rigorous discussion of ideas, methods, and pedagogy as well as engage in individual and collective accountability, evaluation, and reflection.
Inspired by Sistah Scholar, our virtual collective is guided by the following principles, which are fluid:
- We operate on transformative reflexive accountability. Meaning, this is a no policing, shaming, or guilting zone — let’s practice personal and collective accountability that doesn’t
reproduce harm and toxicity.
- Assume good intent, if you need clarification — reach out to the person(s).
- Treat all shared experiences and moments of vulnerability as private.
- No academic institution, concept, method, or politics are infallible.
- Treat this as a safe space to open our minds, be vulnerable, and introspective.
- We don’t expect our Black, Afro-Latinx, and/or Native colleagues to pull the weight of learning and healing processes.
- We expect male colleagues to practice reflexivity when participating in this BIWoC-centered project. Be aware of your positionality in all spaces.
- We will not tolerate people who incite fear, intimidate, or have active known histories of these behaviors, especially sexual harassment, bullying, or institutional violence.
Our target participants include scholars of color who are interested in decolonization and intersectional politics. Our aim is to build leadership among junior WoC, and thus, the facilitation of this virtual collective is primarily led by us. However, understanding the need to address the internalization of imperialist, capitalist, settler colonial, white supremacist, and heteropatriarchal ideologies within our broader communities of color, we highly encourage all scholars of color of all ranks to join our virtual collective. While most events and meetings are for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPoC) only, some are also public and interdisciplinary.
Events are free, however, we encourage those with professional or personal funding, especially tenured and senior scholars, to donate for programming costs (i.e. speaker fees, participant compensation) and the labor put into managing the Praxis Lab.