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research justice:

knowledge by and for the 99%

For too long, people of color, indigenous communities, people with disabilities, incarcerated people and other disenfranchised communities have been subjected to research, but have had no say in the research agenda, how it is carried out or how the findings are interpreted. This leads to social science that too frequently views our communities as pathological, inherently flawed or in need of rescue by outsiders. Our strengths, resilience and ability to find our own solutions are ignored. Research becomes a mistrusted process that disempowers and sometimes harms the individuals being used as research subjects.


Research Justice means putting research skills and capabilities in the hands of the communities impacted by social injustice, with the understanding that those who are directly affected are in the best position to determine what research will be useful and how it should be carried out. It means upending the traditional unequal relationship between the “expert” researcher and the research subject, so that academic researchers become partners and facilitators of a community-led process. It also means understanding that research is relational, and that the act of sharing intimate knowledge should be honored as a sacred ceremony.


Read more about Research Justice from the  DataCenter and the Research Justice Track at the Allied Media Conference here


Want more? Check out my essay on challenging the prison-academic-industrial complex in my co-edited book Activist Scholarship. Read Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda Tuwihai-Smith and Research is Ceremony by Shawn Wilson.  And stay posted for my chapter in The Imperial University forthcoming in 2014.


Learn about the painful history of research injustice in James Jones’ Bad Blood, Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid and Allen Hornblum’s Acres of Skin. And listen to a first hand account of resistance to research abuse by African Canadian and Mi’kmaq former prisoner Dorothy Proctor here.


Get Involved!: Submit a proposal for the National Association for Ethnic Studies conference in April 2014 - Research as Ceremony: Decolonizing Ethnic Studies.

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