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saida grundy discusses her experience with attacks on faculty

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In the special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies on Black Lives Matter, Saida Grundy discusses here experience when scandal broke over her social media posts:

This article examines attacks on black academics as an analytical apparatus for connecting histories of U.S. racial violence to the current state of white backlash against black advancement. Through an anatomy of these attacks – of which the author herself was targeted – this essay explores two processes: First, what these attacks do to blackness and, second, what this violence does for whiteness. In the former, this work explains that attacks on black academics are first and foremost anti-black attacks, not dissimilar to attacks on visible African- Americans in other arenas. The intention is to terrorize black progress on the whole. In the latter process, the generative nature of these attacks reproduces collective white identities across region, age, and newly digitized spaces. In the current political moment this digitized mob violence ritualistically reaffirms white hegemony. This essay concludes with an explanation for why the author believes these attacks will continue with regularity.

Required reading in the era of attacks on free speech.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 27, 2017 at 4:31 am

catholicism and black lives matter

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More from the special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies – Kevin C. Winstead provides a fascinating ethnography of how religion and social movements come together in Black Lives Matter:

This ethnographic study examines how Black Catholics identify with and respond to the Black Lives Matter movement. The study follows several national Black Catholic gatherings since the death of Mike Brown. Using an adaptation of Scott Hunt, Robert D. Benford, and David Snow’s social movement frame analysis, I explore how Black Catholics define and construct the ongoing political issues within the Black Lives Matter movement. I discuss the conditions which contribute to Black Catholic’s participation, or lack thereof, in this social movement through the processes of diagnostic framing, prognostic framing, and motivational framing. I position the larger Black Catholic belief system within frame analysis, examine the relevance of the frames with the Black Catholic community, and analyse the frames’ timing with the Black Lives Matter cycle of protest. This research has implications for intragroup meaning making as Black Catholics start the process towards identifying with the Black Lives Matter social movement.

Recommended.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 26, 2017 at 12:28 am

Posted in fabio, social movements

morricone/theremin

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Written by fabiorojas

July 23, 2017 at 4:35 am

on inequality and academic publishing (and how google scholar is like the sat)

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How does our publishing define us?  And why is publishing the way professors are defined?  Chad Wellmon* and Andrew Piper have a really interesting paper that combines historical work on the changing definition of a professor alongside some nice quantitative work on who winds up publishing where:

 In the case of contemporary university assessment, the relative value and authority of individual scholars and institutions are directly linked to “research outputs.” Publications are discrete objects that can be counted and compared. They have become the academy’s ultimate markers of value, especially in the humanities and humanistic social sciences where other markers of quantifiable value such as grants and private funding are less prominent.

Wellmon’s a professor of German and has written a book about the invention of the modern university, so it’s no surprise the article takes a deep dive into the German roots of what we modern academics do. Then we get to the article’s quantitative second half, which comes out of Andrew Piper’s really interesting work on the digital humanities (like text mining the novel!)

So what do they find?  It turns out where you work matters for where you get published, but even more important is where you went to school. My one criticism of this finding would be that humanities professors at non-elite schools just don’t need articles for tenure or status: the humanities they’re looking at are still mostly monograph games. My hunch is you’d find a bit more parity if you looked at monographs, especially as correlated with where people work (though where they went to school might look about the same as Wellmon and Piper find in reference to articles).

Yet the irony of a focus on publications is that it was supposed to make things more equal! As Wellmon and Piper tell the tale, to be a professor in days gone by was to depend on patronage networks and relatively arbitrary methods of evaluation. So then we say, wait, okay, we’ll look at publishing.  That will even things out!  Yet it turns out the rich still just get richer, and we haven’t replaced patronage networks so much as changed the patronage sources and forms.  It’s a weirdly similar story to the SAT, which was intended to make a smart kid from a public school in Kansas commensurable with a prep school kid from Rye, New York.  Yet the SAT didn’t quite work like that, for reasons sociologists of education have been studying for some time.  And it turns out Google Scholar doesn’t work like that either.  Yet one of the biggest problems here is that both Google Scholar and the SAT seem to work.  After all, professors X and Y can both submit to the same journal with an equal shot, just like students X and Y can take the same SAT on the same day. And to go back to “incalculability” wouldn’t work either:

For many in the humanities, it is precisely the process of Weberian rationalization, embodied above all in counting mechanisms like the REF or Google Scholar, that have contributed to the ills of the current system. Only an emphasis on the “incalculable” or ineffable nature of humanistic practices and objects of study can preserve the health of intellectual inquiry into the future. And yet the history of scholarly publication that we have tried to outline here tells us a different story: the recourse to measurability in exercises like the REF is not something administratively new but part of a much longer attempt to undo ensconced systems of patronage and loosen forms of institutional favoritism and cultural capital. The recourse to accounting for publication was implemented in the spirit of transparency and intellectual openness. The urge among some humanists to resist this tradition absolutely and as a matter of principle would only retard attempts to redress longstanding patterns. The invocation of incalculability has to date served as a highly effective means of maintaining hierarchy and the concentration of power, prestige, and patronage––cultural capital of all sorts.

So what do we do? They’ve got a modest suggestion:

What we need in our view is not less quantification but more; not less mediation but mediation of a different kind. It is not enough to demand intellectual diversity and assume its benefits. We need new ways of measuring, nurturing, valuing, and, ultimately, conceiving of it. We need alternative systems of searching, discovering, and cultivating intellectual difference. We need platforms of dissemination that don’t simply replicate existing systems of concentration and patronage, just as we need new metrics of output and impact that rely less on centrality and quantity and more on content and difference.

Read the whole thing (it’s free for now).

*I looked at an early version of this paper for Chad (he’s a fellow at the IASC where I did a post-doc).

Written by jeffguhin

July 22, 2017 at 2:24 am

“distributed framing” in social movements

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In the special issue on Ethnic and Racial Studies on Black Lives Matters, BGS* Jelani Ince, Clay Davis and myslef break down hashtag networks:

This paper focuses on the social media presence of Black Lives Matter (BLM). Specifically, we examine how social media users interact with BLM by using hashtags and thus modify the framing of the movement. We call this decentralized interaction with the movement “distributed framing”. Empirically, we illustrate this idea with an analysis of 66,159 tweets that mention #BlackLivesMatter in 2014, when #BlackLivesMatter becomes prominent on social media. We also tally the other hashtags that appear with #BlackLivesMatter in order to measure how online communities influence the framing of the movement. We find that #BlackLivesMatter is associated with five types of hashtags. These hashtags mention solidarity or approval of the movement, refer to police violence, mention movement tactics, mention Ferguson, or express counter-movement sentiments. The paper concludes with hypotheses about the development of movement framings that can be addressed in future research.

Check it out.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 20, 2017 at 4:25 am

ethnic and racial studies covers black lives matter

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Ethnic and Racial Studies has a special issue on Black Lives Matter. From the lead article, an analysis of counter-protest and collective identity:

Recent events related to police brutality and the evolution of #BlackLivesMatter provides an empirical case to explore the vitality of social media data for social movements and the evolution of collective identities. Social media data provide a portal into how organizing and communicating generate narratives that survive over time. We analyse 31.65 million tweets about Ferguson across four meaningful time periods: the death of Michael Brown, the non-indictment of police officer Darren Wilson, the Department of Justice report on Ferguson, and the one year aftermath of Brown’s death. Our analysis shows that #BlackLivesMatter evolved in concert with protests opposing police brutality occurring on the ground. We also show how #TCOT (Top Conservatives on Twitter) has operated as the primary counter narrative to #BlackLivesMatter. We conclude by discussing the implications our research has for the #BlackLivesMatter movement and increased political polarization following the election of Donald Trump.

From “Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown on Twitter: #BlackLivesMatter, #TCOT, and the evolution of collective identities” by Rashawn Ray, Melissa Brown, Neil Fraistat and Edward Summers.

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Written by fabiorojas

July 18, 2017 at 4:22 am

the root of things

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Written by fabiorojas

July 16, 2017 at 4:37 am