Reclaiming Our Time and Labor: Contesting and Reframing Productivity Narratives in Political Science
By Jenn M. Jackson, Syracuse University, and Melina Juárez Pérez, Western Washington University
Many emerging scholars from the barrios, hoods, fields, reservations, and other sites of both living in and through oppression struggle for access to higher education. Yet, the academy also signifies compulsory assimilation into Western epistemologies and work modes that often limit the impact of our work (e.g., through the narrow conceptions of race, politics, and productivity). Ultimately, assimilation into Western academic practices renders scholars of color complicit in our own oppression and that of Black and Indigenous peoples all over the world (Moreira and Diversi 2010). These experiences take a toll on our bodies, minds, and spirits in addition to introducing (or deepening) precarity in our lives. Moreover, the academy often demands those who deviate from gender, sexuality, ability, and class norms to resituate themselves with respect to peers and students to be more digestible to white Americans and assimilable into the dominator culture. In these ways, ideological diversity is discouraged unless it bolsters “diversity and inclusion” initiatives at the institutional level or tokenizes scholars at the margins.
Thus, conservative disciplines, including political science, often reproduce notions of respectability and scarcity.