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Women of Color & The Academy: Exploring Race, Research, Representation, and Positionality is a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop.

This interdisciplinary workshop series at the University of Michigan brings together education scholars and practitioners to examine issues related to race, research, and representation. Participants of this group work in various fields that intersect with education. Our work across these fields provides us varying insights into the representation and positioning of women of color within and outside of the university.

This workshop has two primary objectives:

  1. To expand what is considered to be academic by exposing the larger community to works created by or featuring women of color
  2. To provide spaces where women of color can engage deeply with issues that impact them personally and professionally in a way that is responsive to their identities, time, and energies

This workshop was originally developed in response to a need for space where historically marginalized groups can reflect on their experiences and think deeply about the ways they see themselves contributing to their school and larger communities in ways that are sustaining. Often in academic contexts, women, particularly women of color, have these conversations in contexts where we have limited opportunities to engage with relevant issues in ways that center our experiences and perspectives. This workshop hopes to serve scholars in education and other disciplines by providing space to gather and talk about representation and positionality with participants across race and gender identities where the voices of women of color are centered. Core membership in this workshop includes women, men, students of color, and white students. This group represents a range a of cultural and ethnic identities.

Women of Color & The Academy: Exploring Race, Research, Representation, and Positionality focuses on the interdisciplinary field of education. In addition to examining the intersections of education with content-area disciplines such as math, science, social studies, and English, this workshop emphasizes the connections between education and psychology, sociology, anthropology, legal studies, public policy, and American studies.

This workshop has two primary learning goals. First, we hope that participants will be equipped with resources to support personal and professional development around the topic of race and research. Individual sessions use resources by and about women of color to prompt discussion and collaboration on a particular theme. These resources range in type and include journal articles, documentaries, podcasts, and museum and gallery visits. Our goal is to work as a community to develop knowledge of resources and materials that support rigorous thinking about race, research, and representation. Second, we hope that participants will be prepared to engage with topics of race and research in other personal and professional contexts and communities. This preparation includes practice with both specific materials and general topics and practice developing meaningful questions to employ in a variety of contexts to enrich future learning in other communities. Our goal is to empower community members to continue this work beyond the boundaries of this workshop series.

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