The Critical Ethnic Studies journal, is a site for multiple ideological conversations and productive and synergistic dialogue. The journal is committed to providing a space for insurgent critique within ethnic studies. Critical Ethnic Studies will explore the guiding question of The Critical Ethnic Studies Association: how do the histories of colonialism and conquest, racial chattel slavery, and white supremacist patriarchies and heteronormativities affect, inspire, and unsettle scholarship and activism in the present? By decentering the nation-state as a unit of inquiry, focusing on scholarship that expands the identitarian rhetorics of ethnic studies, engaging in productive dialogue with indigenous studies and making critical studies of gender and sexuality guiding intellectual forces in ethnic studies, Critical Ethnic Studies will form a unique and unparalleled venue for emerging ethnic studies scholarship. By staking a unique interest in interdisciplinary scholarship that repositions the guiding assumptions of other fields, this journal will appeal to scholars interested in the new methodologies, philosophies, and discoveries of this new intellectual formation.
A critical number of scholars are reshaping the field, linking and productively expanding the rubrics of what has been called "identitarian" scholarship (e.g. Asian American Studies, African American Studies, etc.) Their work un-tethers Ethnic Studies from the limitations of liberal multicultural institutionalization within the academy, which often relies on a politics of identity representation that is diluted and domesticated by nation-building and capitalist imperatives. We envision the journal as a venue for the formulation of new analytical languages and paradigms, which shed insular nation-bound criteria, and are instead shaped by larger systems of racial formation with trans and extra national histories. The new moment asks: how can we take seriously the very comparative and internationalist origins of the field as at once important points of departure and productive retrospection in charting an emergent Critical Ethnic Studies project for the 21st century?
The Journal encourages and enacts several related, multilayered lines of inquiry. First, this journal reflects the inadequacies of the nation state model, paying attention to the extra-national effects of globalization and privatization, as well as structural redevelopment programs on people of color. We can no longer think strictly within nation state boundaries. However, unlike global studies models, the priority here will be to mark the ways in which these new structurations put racialized subjects positioned at different historical geopolitical locations in relation to each other, as well as how resistance to these rearticulated forms of oppression are being created between disparate populations.
Second, the delinking from a nationalist analytic puts Ethnic Studies into a productive dialogue with native/indigenous studies. These two fields, even as they have often been institutionalized together under the multi-racial umbrella of Ethnic Studies, have often been vexed by the ways in which discussions of race, civil rights, immigration, labor exploitation, and the discourse of inclusion and exclusion tend to presume settler colonialism as the transparent, taken-for-granted, and therefore uninterrogated ground or terrain. For example, the focus on immigration exclusion in Asian American Studies neglects to ask how and why Asians are juridically allowed into - or barred from - the United States in the first place. In other words, settler colonialism is the condition of possibility for the "United States"; there would be no United States without it.
Third, the journal includes current analyses of white supremacy, analyses that gesture beyond understandings of "race" as a descriptive (sociological) category. Such understandings attempt to explain race and racism, but often simply describe them. By explicitly foregrounding white supremacy as a logic and social formation intimately abetted by race and racism, we hope to provide trenchant critiques of how and why race and racism persist and not merely state or describe their persistence. In doing so, the stakes of this work are not delimited by questions about the racialized distribution of rights and resources, though of course such questions are important. In addition, we also ask how and why race and white supremacy produce and are productions of knowledge, fields of representation, subjectivity, and uneven proximities to life and death.
Fourth, the journal reflects and helps produce important new scholarship integrating feminist and queer studies with Ethnic Studies. Critical Ethnic Studies is marked as an intersectional project, one that sees categories such as race, class, gender, and sexuality not as additive modes of identity, oppression, or discrimination, but rather as constitutive, as robust analytics for critically apprehending and theorizing alternatives. The journal would be a crucial place for the specific interventions being made to counteract the lack of gender and sexuality studies in Ethnic Studies, as well as the lack of attention to race theory within feminist, queer and sexuality studies.
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