Monday, December 20, 2010

Working toward Change! Call for Solidarity!!

Professor Devika Chawla from Ohio University graciously sent me an email after having read my blog on "Eurocentric Disciplining," citing the piece that she and Professor Amardo Rodriguez co-authored, titled "Locating Diversity in Communication Studies" (Amardo was an assistant professor at Purdue and had left the department right before I joined the department here). Chawla & Rodriguez put forth the notion that the lack of diversity in Communication is fundamentally epistemological and ontological, privileging certain ways of knowing the world, and simultaneously foreclosing alternative visions of Communication that begin with worldviews that seek to de-center the status quo. They take to task what they identify as the paradigm of "inclusion, toleration, and accomodation, " and istead propose a new paradigm of "evolution, innovation, and confrontation."

I found this piece both thought provoking and inspiring...something I would like to use and cite in my own work. I also found this piece as an incredible ally to the work that we have been trying to do in our projects with the culture-centered approach. And yet, I wondered how I would have found this piece had it not been for Devika who found my blog and then thought of sending me this piece. You see, I have for a long time quit reading the International and Intercultural Comm Annual because of the ways in which I found the outlet to be incredibly parochial in spite of its focus on intercultural and international communication. And yet, that space had been beautifully disrupted by the Chawla & Rodriguez piece...

This sets up an important and incredible challenge for scholars working to disrupt the Euro-centered hegemony in Communication scholarship...If we are to really work toward making change in breaking down the boundaries of the field, we need to work in solidarity...citing each other, loving each other, and offering each other the nurturing that Chawla & Rodriguez talk about! It fills my heart with joy when I read pieces such as the Chawla & Rodriguez piece...It also gives me incredible hope for the future of our discipline.

At the cost of sounding functionalistic, let me note that I have found new media (FB, blogosphere, twitter...) to be an increadible resource for building such alliances outside of the traditional journal and conference spaces of the Discipline. Both journals as well as our conferences have become so sterile that it is difficult to locate works of others who are making similar arguments toward de-centering the status quo (and yet I am confident as I hear from many of you, that this de-centering is happening in major ways)...So I wrap up my blog today with a question for those of you that are reading this blog and thinking about the politics of change: How can we use social media as a tool for networking and solidarity building in working toward creating alternative epistemologies of Communication? Are there specific strategies that we can use to support each other through these platforms (in ways that projects of social change politics have leveraged resources in new media to work toward creating and reinforcing grassroots solidarities of change)?

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