Shange, Savannah. "Collaboration: Implication." Correspondences, Cultural Anthropology website, October 24, 2016.

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July 3, 2018

Critical Commentary

In this essay, I cast a critical eye on the reception and circulation of our published work. In my research on the racial politics of progressivism, I work with and in state agencies and NGOs that fancy themselves an intrinsic part of activist movements, with phrases like “social justice,” “equity,” and even “decolonize” emblazoned on walls and in mission statements.  However, just as universities can appropriate activist scholarship as a selling point, state-funded institutions compete against one another for funding by marketing themselves as collaborative, community-accountable, and in left-liberal Northern California, even liberatory. And even when our collaborative ethnographic work is explicitly aligned with projects of justice and liberation, our texts can develop lives of their own—appropriated for ends we cannot predict.