Keep it Clean.  I.E., Puns Welcome

Professional academic researchers in the social sciences of many colleges and universities exploit the struggles of oppressed peoples. Oppressed peoples are left stranded with little to no resources after researchers leave their communities high and dry.

Researchers steal value from oppressed peoples by making them the subjects of theoretical research without lending them access to information that could better help their communities. Articles, books, and dissertations written about marginalized populations are written for academics, not working people, and as such have little impact on the people whose lives are the subject of this research. Liberal academics and social scientists are more concerned about developing the wealth of academic literature than addressing the immediate material concerns of the communities they research.

Some of the responses to the "Welcome to Our Lawn" series asked me to write about the sources of our ideas about essentialism in creative writing--the idea that writers should only write about characters who share, in some way, their own identity profile.  The above quote is from an article by Nicole Ouimette on the website [Click on this link to read the full piece.]  Ouimette's article critiques a "drive-by" academic culture that takes what it needs from communities it researches without sticking around for anything resembling genuine engagement.

This strand of thought had early roots back in the critique of Margaret Mead and other old-school cultural anthropologists, out of which developed techniques that mandated more in-depth engagement by  researchers in the communities they studied, out of which developed a methodology that involved engaging the community in doing its own work--including setting the research agenda and developing its own techniques and owning the products of this work.

Which, appropriately or not, got applied to the world of the arts.

Here's Hitler's favorite photographer, Leni Riefenstahl, making art with the friendly natives.



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