Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Conference Mission Statement

Conference Mission Statement:

As scholars engaged in critical social justice work, we are constantly engaged in conversations about how to push the limits of the Ethnic Studies project so that it may be used more productively in addressing the wide and varied number of student and faculty interests within the department. Although the growing interest in postcolonial and indigenous studies is exciting and holds great potential, we feel that there is an urgent need to learn beyond the caricatured and narrow perceptions that have cast these emerging disciplines as specialized fields of knowledge.

It is our contention that in addressing issues of violence, oppression and justice - whether they be local, global or transnational - ethnic studies, indigenous studies and postcolonial studies have a lot to offer each other. While the historical subjects of these disciplines might appear varied and distinct, the central issues at hand in all cases include issues of power, violence, imperialism and sovereignty. Moreover, we believe that by talking in disciplinary conjunction we may be able to think through identities and issues that yet lie at the margins of ethnic, postcolonial and indigenous studies - such as those related to statelessness, refugees, language, etc.

In organizing this conference, it is our hope to bring together faculty, students and activists involved in critical political-intellectual work to think through new and radical strategies that address contemporary issues of justice in less isolated, more collaborative, ways.

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