Critical Ethnic Studies Summer Institute

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Critical ethnic studies is an approach to scholarship, institution-building, and activism animated by the spirit of the decolonial, antiracist, and other global liberationist movements that enabled the creation of ethnic studies and continues to inform its political and intellectual projects. It seeks to move away from current critical deadlocks, to counteract institutional marginalization, to revisit the political ideas that precipitated ethnic studies’ founding within the US academy, and to create new conversations in multiple locations.

But as critical ethnic studies has emerged in a variety of ways, the question remains: what exactly is critical ethnic studies? Does it imply that ethnic studies was not already “critical”? What is its relationship to the historic emergence of ethnic studies in the academy and activist circles? As the academic industrial complex has increasingly marginalized and coopted critical interdisciplinary studies such as ethnic studies, gender studies, queer studies, etc., what kinds of works can critical ethnic studies do across academic institutions, community organizing, and advocacy efforts? And insofar as critical ethnic studies claims itself as both a political and intellectual project, what is its relationship to broad social justice-based movements? What are the legacies of ethnic studies outside the United States, and how might a critical approach reconsider its genealogies and forms of solidarity? And what might be the limitations of any approach to analyzing and challenging settler colonialism, white supremacy, antiblackness, imperialism, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy, when organized through ethnicity? Finally, how might different approaches to critical ethnic studies – long existing and still emerging – be brought into conversation with each other?

In this Summer Institute, we will explore collectively the question “What is critical ethnic studies?” Over three days of intensive seminars, open conversations, and informal exchanges, we will explore the possibilities and pitfalls of a critical ethnic studies framework.  All are welcome to apply.  for more information and application materials

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