Monday, January 7, 2019

Some thoughts on AIA-SCS 2019, by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Some thoughts on AIA-SCS 2019
“… The noun ‘Black’ has served three functions in modernity: those of summoning, internalization, and reversal. It first designated not human beings like all others but rather a distinct humanity — one whose very humanity was (and still is) in question. It designated a particular kind of human: those who, because of their physical appearance, their habits and customs, and their ways of being in the world, seemed to represent difference in its raw manifestation — somatic, affective, aesthetic, imaginary. The so-called Blacks appeared subsequently as individuals who, because of the fact of their ontological difference, represented a caricature of the principle of exteriority (as opposed to the principle of inclusion). It therefore became very difficult to imagine that they were once like us, that they were once of us. And precisely because they were not either like us or of us, the only link that could unite us is — paradoxically — the link of separation. Constituting a world apart, the part apart, Blacks cannot become full subjects in the life of our community. Placed apart, put to the side, piece by piece: that is how Blacks came to signify, in their essence and before all speech, the injunction of segregation.” (Achille Mbembe, Critique of Black Reason [tr. L. Dubois], p. 46).
Since the basic details of the incident at the “Future of the Classics” panel on Saturday 5 January have now been laid out in Colleen Flaherty’s reporting for Inside Higher Ed, I will not reiterate them here. The annual meeting was quite the showcase for the enforcement actions of white supremacy. The day before the panel, Djesika Bel Watson and Stefani Echeverría-Fenn, co-founders of The Sportula and recipients of a WCC award at the annual meeting, were racially profiled by hotel security — possibly at the request of other conference-goers who were unsettled by the presence of brown bodies. Readers who want to take action towards rectifying the injustices of the past weekend should begin by supporting Sportula’s mission (with money and amplification); by tweeting at Marriott Hotels to upgrade significantly its bias and inclusion training; and by continuing to hold to the fire the feet of SCS leadership, for whom the installation of an equity team and omsbudperson to monitor and respond to incidents in real time and the centering of systemic racism as a plenary topic at future annual meetings should rise to the very top of the priorities list...
Read the rest here

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