After Epistemicide: Building Relations, Imagining Futures

Michelle Raheja
UC Riverside

“After Epistemicide: Building Relations, Imagining Futures” proposes to employ environmental humanities, critical race theory, and speculative narratives to imagine how the academy will live through the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased racial violence. Coping with unprecedented feelings of disengagement and demoralization has galvanized our interest in fostering new institutional formations that posit different ways of relating and making meaning of our work as faculty, community members, and administrators. At the same time as we scramble to adjust to rapidly changing protocols, we are challenged with unique opportunities to reconceive research, teaching, and service at our respective institutions. What we propose is a collaborative rethinking of new structural forms of relationships, community building, and knowledge production as we take up both the uncertainty and the possibilities offered during this period of upheaval in order to imagine different futures. Our project seeks to learn from universities that have worked against what Boaventura de Sousa Santos and others term “epistemicide.” In the service of deep changes in the structures of the academy, we seek to reimagine what possibilities might exist for new forms of research, teaching, and service that draw from, extend, and creatively manifest decolonial, feminist, anti-racist theoretical and experiential frameworks.