Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Future of Minority Studies and Postpositive Realism

Via Inside Higher Ed, a report on postpositive realism, a burgeoning movement in minority studies that stresses real world impact of inhabiting specific identities and yields some concrete (if fairly commensensical ) ways to promote a more democratic cohabitation of differences. The quote I'm appending below will make this project seem more simplistic than it actually is, but it does suggest the activist bent of this movement rooted in philosophy of science (see especially the work of Satya M. Mohanty):

Rather, the distinctive quality of FMS [Future of Minority Studies] discourse seems to derive from a certain very clear, but largely unstated, assumption: It can be useful for scholars concerned with issues particular to one group to listen to the research being done on problems pertaining to other groups.

That sounds pretty simple. But there is rather more behind it than the belief that we should all just try to get along. Diversity (of background, of experience, of disciplinary formation) is not something that exists alongside or in addition to whatever happens in the “real world.” It is an inescapable and enabling condition of life in a more or less democratic society. And anyone who wants it to become more democratic, rather than less, has an interest in learning to understand both its inequities and how other people are affected by them.

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