Chronology, Temporality, Linearity (Janan)

The (essential) distinction between settler colonialism and the colonialism that was made in Tuck and Yank’s introduction encouraged me to question the chronology of learning. For example, so often in our graduate level courses, my class and I are constantly unlearning and discovering the depth of knowledge we have to unlearn. It feels challenging to imagine an education system where the primary exposure one has to education was more critical and the “first learning then unlearning” chronology wouldn’t be so convoluted.

This feels connected to conversations we’ve been having in the previous weeks about queer studies and ethnic studies departments being tucked away in other disciplines. What does an institution look like structurally when liberatory, truthful, critical, indigenous knowledges are made a central crux of the general curriculum?

The authors’ below quote invited me to question that further:

“Decolonizing studies, when most centered in Indigenous philosophy, push back against assumptions about the linearity of history and the future, against teleological narratives of human development, and argue for renderings of time and place that exceed coloniality and conquest.” (xiii)

I’m so intrigued by this connection between temporality/linearity and indigenous/queer knowledges and hope we can discuss further! 

Week 11: Cry out for consideration

“Where is the humanity in the humanities? Why are the humanities failing humans? Are the humanities killing the human spirit? Am I considered a human in the humanities?”

                                                by Clelia O. Rodríguez

Week 11 – Decolonizing Academia

Why might Rodríguez make the structural/style choices that we see in the reading?

Rodriguez’s structural and style choices directly opposes normative ways of knowing, writing, and research within academia.  She goes onto explain as to how future academics are given the “writing norms” and “behaviours” to ensure assimilation into the institution at-large.  Thus, disseminating the same colonial paradigms onto the next generation of scholars.   Deconstructing common high-ed practices that add to this process such as grading, syllabi, research work and conferences allows for both faculty and students to begin pushing past decolonizing theory, and into the field of praxis.

Her writing feels like a poem at times, that uses personal anecdotes regarding sexuality, class, and ethnicity to establish a readers positionality to her own struggles of oppression and pain within academia.  She goes onto state, “Living in the margins of vocabulary explicitly smells like disobedience” which is why I connect her writings as a form of intellectual activism as well. 

Rodriguez has provided us with various forms to express de-colonialism. Below is my own completed fill in the blanks for politics of assessment:

A is for Advantages

B is for Benefactors

C is for Contained

D is for Defenseless

F is for Fcuked

Week 10: The University in the Beehive.

Consistently this semester, I’ve thought about a lecture by Derrida at the inauguration of the Women and Gender Studies department at Brown in the 80s. Entitled “Women in the Beehive,” Derrida goes on to argue that non conventionists pedagogies and isms, by being brought into The Academy, will become be subject to conformity via subsuming. The Academy’s grasp is so tight and wide, there can be no real radicalization whilst under its gaze. Quite literally, he says that the newly accepted members (faculty, students, etc.), become guardians of the law.

I think this paradigm nicely summarizes one of the many themes we’ve touched upon this semester, namely the tension of wanting recognition from The Academy (what’s been deemed historical objectivity) and the quest for visibility. The quest for visibility becomes more fraught when an invitation is extended by The Academy.

“As the number of HSIs and eHSIs increases, so does the need to understand what it means to have an organizational identity for serving Latinx students” (Dwyer, Garcia, 2).

“While understanding ‘who we are’ (organizational identity) is an important concept, there is also a need to understand the extent to which members identify with an organizational identity” (Dwyer, Garcia, 2).

While we’ve seen fruitful efforts to increase the personal perspective into institutional spaces, The Academy seems designed to be around 40 years behind. Will there ever be progress in terms of proper acceptance into The Academy with subsuming, or is that an inevitable side effect?

Similarly, what is the process of having become a Guardian? Have there been studies of people who explained the process of becoming de-radicalized because of The Academy?

Week 11 Reflection: Decolonizing Academia

Next week, we’d like to have your reflections engage closely with the texts, perhaps using a single word or sentence as your starting point.

Here are the readings again:

One possible point of entry is the word “decolonizing” itself. How do the various authors of this week’s texts use the term? Consider a few examples:

  • “[D]ecolonization from settler colonialism in the US will require a repatriation of Indigenous land and abolition of slavery in all its forms” (Tuck and Yang xii)
  • “Decolonizing studies, when most centered in Indigenous philosophy, push back against assumptions about the linearity of history and the future, against teleological narratives of human development, and argue for renderings of time and place that exceed coloniality and conquest” (Tuck and Yang xiii)
  • “Decolonizing requires developing a critical consciousness about the realities of oppression and social iniquities for minoritized peoples. [. . .] We, all of us, must develop a critical discourse that explores the ways colonial relations are and continue to be perpetuated and maintained through relations of power and privilege.” (Styres 32)
  • I do not know if decolonization is possible and it feels like the term has become a catchphrase. I see decolonization stickers on people’s computers and there’s an irony in that—a sign that our movement has been branded.” (Wilson and Laing, 136)
  • “There we have it. The politics of decolonization is not he same as the act of decolonizing. [. . .] I am concerned about how the terminology has started to evoke a practice of getting rid of colonial and imperialistic practices by the very same people who are not only operating fully under those practices but who also receive full financial benefit from them. Decolonizing and capitalism seem to be attached in a sticky situation[.]” (Rodríguez 11)

Another approach you might take to this week’s readings is to Cover image of Decolonizing Academia by Clelia O. Rodríguezconsider form, particularly in Clelia Rodríguez’s work. You might think about questions such as:

  • Why might Rodríguez make the structural/style choices that we see in the reading?
  • What are the effects on you, as a reader and as a person moving through academic spaces?
  • What do you make of these formal choices in conjunction with the images on the book’s cover (below)?
  • Does this reflection on form bring up any new thoughts for you regarding your final project?

The spirit of the law

There is the letter of the law then there is the spirit of it” 

This week’s podcast and Garcia & Dwyer’s piece really reiterates the discussion we’ve being having throughout the semester of what diversity means or should really look like for the university. In the podcast Ceja-Williams was asked if she thinks that there are enough HSIs, and I love how she addressed the question. It’s not about quantity but quality. There would never be enough but the first step to getting there is ensuring that the ones that do meet the criteria for HSI are providing the necessary support for their Latinx students. Both the host and Ceja-Williams talk about the “spirit” of the law which I think is more important than the policies itself. Throughout lower and higher education, institutions try to meet the quota or legal requirements of certain demographics for the funding benefits, but the real issue is whether the funds are used in a meaningful way. With laws about diversity and inclusion it’s not only about meeting the designation but how is the designation reflected in the student support system. 


For this reflection,  I started to write about how the funds that colleges which are designated as HSIs receive are allocated to various priorities and departments and whether those allocations were equitable and benefitting the student Latinx population that allowed the college to earn the grants in the first place. I realized it was far too difficult to measure the impact on the Latinx student population of funds allocated to departments that do not necessarily cater to Latinx students. I felt like there was something to be said about certain improvements (e.g., physical spaces, infrastructure, increased financial aid) at a college ultimately improving the quality of experience for Latinx students – as they would likely be represented in a broad range of academic disciplines and extra-curricular activities. I scrapped my initial idea after recalling Garcia and Dwyer’s mention of the level of organizational identification students (OID) may or may not have on a campus.

In my higher education experience, the concept of OID never mattered much to me. I did not think I needed to feel a sense of belonging at my schools to be successful there. Reflecting, I realize that perspective was one of privilege because even though my post-secondary institutions were radically different – one a small, rural liberal arts institution with a relatively low percentage of students of color and the other a large urban university primarily attended by students of color, I did feel like I belonged at each. Garcia and Dwyer cite evidence that strong OID has clear benefits for student performance and persistence. Looking back on the frustrations of the students at HSIs who were concerned about how the money earned through grants for HSIs were not being earmarked specifically for Latinx students, it occurred to me that perhaps if these students felt a greater sense of identification at their institutions and deeper level of belonging to them, they would see value in the funds being allocated to the campus, at large. But, too often, colleges do not create an environment that cultivates that sense of belonging universally across diverse groups. For students who do not feel a sense of belonging on their college campus or do not see Latinx administrators and leaders at their HSIs, I can see how it would be tough to give the benefit of the doubt about how the governmental funds support their experience on campus. After all, the benefit of the doubt itself is a privilege not generally reserved for people of color, but often expected of them.

Miguel – Week 10

  • How has the CUNY community resisted or failed to resist the given institutionalism?
  • What does community control look like in the context of CUNY?

I’d like to focus on these two questions for this weeks post. This past week. A colleague of mine Ask CUNYCalled me to share their thoughts on what we are doing within the department specifically how we are failing to service the “Latino population”. Although I was assuming good intent it was difficult to hear the way they understood the term “failing” to be as well as how they unintentionally viewed “Black” and “Latino” as being completely separate things. Lumina Podcast–”“Living up to the Designation” – Hispanic Serving Institutions”  was spot on!

First things first,

Hispanic is a term that refers to folks with a Spanish-language background. (in some spaces Background might mean “first language”

Latina/o is a term that refers to folks who hail from Latin America.

I often try to keep these definitions close while also understanding that they might land differently for different folks.

I bring this up because CUNY has started a number of racist committees and projects that have been met with a number of questions like “what about the Latinos?” “what about the Hispanics?” “what about the Asians”. Oftentimes folks forget thatPeople can be both Black and Latino both Black and Asian. The intersection of identities Can be vast and when folks ask questions like that in response to racist projects It becomes inherently racist and anti-Black.

Community control looks like what it wants to be (that might be confusing) but it means that it can be what folks want it to be. Ruf (2020) highlights some of the Financial commitments on behalf of CUNY to these specific projects (Black, race and ethnic studies). Community control might look like students being at the decision-making table ensuring that the money meets the needs of the necessary programs.

What importance does funding have in the non-traditional sense? Does it matter where funding originates?

The recent skyrocketing of LatinX students within academia has led to the investment in more culturally inclusive pedagogy.  Many institutions of higher learning (IHL) have also begun recruiting prospective low-income Hispanic students in order to apply for the designation of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and all of the funding opportunities associated with it.  This not only opens an institution up to funding opportunities, but to their donors way of thinking and framing of success.  Lumina Podcast–“Living up to the Designation”  described the DOE’s vision for HSI’s in terms of evidence-based practices and other empirical goals.  I’m cautious of the term “evidence-based” within learning due to its association with more western experimental based science and traditional students. As Rivera and Nadal mentioned past researchers having overlooked and harmed marginalized groups such as LGBTQ communities by pathologizing sexual orientation and gender identities.  This leads me to ask myself,  how useful is it to judge an HSI program based on traditional forms of student success (i.e. graduation, persistence, etc.)?

Like many at my college, I was oblivious of our very own HSI designation until a program manager came directly into my office asking for help with recruitment efforts.  Since this particular program is funded by an HSI- STEM grant there are very specific requirements for accessing tutoring services, which can be viewed as exclusionary to other marginalized student groups.   This may further explain Garcia & Dwyer’s description of how some students find the HSI term exclusionary. Until now, I’ve never put much thought into how exactly do I as a staff member create a sense of belonging for Hispanic and other student groups within my own department? 

After searching the   CUNY Digital History Archive , I came across the below picture of a student sit-down at Hostos for increased campus funding.  The caption stated that the student veterans club was a central component to the Hostos Unidos movement and leadership that fought to establish their second ever campus building.  Regardless of funding this is the type of Hispanic student veteran resiliency that I choose to celebrate within my own office: