Critiquing Empire from Within: Undisciplined Pedagogies and Research for Our Times

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Harassment-Free AAG Initiative, Harassment-Free AAG Initiative
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: 8217, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Organizers: Malini Ranganathan
Chairs: Jordanna Matlon


Critical social scientists—critical geographers included—often build their careers in academic departments or units that are outside of their fields of training, and embody mainstream disciplinary and theoretical perspectives that were once designed to know, discipline, or otherwise govern unfamiliar geographies and populations. Schools of international studies, global studies, and/or international relations come to mind as fields indelibly bound up with projects of empire-building. These schools tend to be shaped by histories of empire, classical liberalism, and scholarly projects that devalue the role of the humanities, interpretive and ethnographic methodologies, and critical theory. As scholars housed in a school of international relations/service in Washington, DC, we have sought to shift intellectual culture through a faculty cluster we call “Ethnographies of Empire” and a white paper titled "Canons Under Fire: Decolonizing the Curriculum at American University" authored by Graddy-Lovelace. These efforts are cognizant of the need to both decolonize academic inquiry at home—through our pedagogy and academic service—as well as through the theoretical frameworks and methodological tools we use in our research. We invite scholars grappling with similar issues to share in the conversation and to ask what it means to critique “empire from within” and embrace undisciplined pedagogies and research for our times.

Some questions we are interested in are:
-What strategies do you use in your teaching to disrupt canonical syllabi and pedagogical rubrics?
-How do you position your research strategically in order to both be viable in your home department/school as well as well within your fields of specialization?
How do you create faculty and scholarly solidarity across units?


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Jordanna Matlon American University 8
Panelist Erin Collins American University 8
Panelist Nida Rehman University of Cambridge 8
Panelist Vidyamali Samarasinghe American University 8
Panelist Carolyn Gallaher American University 8
Discussant Garrett Graddy-Lovelace American University School of International Service 8
Discussant Anthony Fontes American University 8

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