Osterweil, Michal. "Collaboration: Translation." Correspondences, Cultural Anthropology website, October 2, 2016.



Created date

July 3, 2018

Critical Commentary

Abstract: As Davis aptly writes in her Provocation, we cannot assume that “collaborative research is a sure path to harmony or justice.” But what if it is precisely at points of tension and disharmony—even in the limits and endings to relationships—that our collaborations are most productive and politically transformative? I want to suggest that frictional or conflictual moments can become important sites of collaborative knowledge production, even if, at the time, that collaboration feels more like conflict than co-laboring. This, in turn, requires that we recognize that knowledge and theory production are key sites of political practice and struggle and constitute a terrain that activists themselves work in, precisely because theories and knowledges can either constrain or enable effective work for more just worlds. In fact, our collaborations exist within broader fields that traverse or encompass both activist and academic worlds.