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Call for Chapter Proposals!

Call for chapter proposals! How do transnational power systems affect research practices? How can these projects be decolonized? A new edited volume on transnational research, decolonization and power structures is accepting abstracts until July 15.

Reframing Transnational Researcher Positionalities: Critical Decolonization of Resistant Border-Crossings in Dynamic Practices of Knowing and Unknowing

The question of a researcher’s positionality and its subsequent impact on knowledge production has been central to feminist theorization and methodological development, within and across borders of disciplines and social contexts (e.g. Smith 1987; Harding 1992, 2004; Haraway 1999; Edwards 2002, Beck & Lau 2003). In particular, this question has recently been brought up for discussion by both feminist scholars, as one inherent part of their theoretical and empirical inquires (e.g. Cockburn 2007, Lapina 2017, Liinason 2018, Lovrod 2017, Zhao 2015) and by scholars of transnational migration studies, in particular those who, being migrants themselves, have challenged methodological nationalism through their critical reflections upon their insider/oursiderness (e.g. Carling, Erdal, and Ezzati 2014; Nowicka &Cieslik, 2014; Matejeskova 2014). In a global context, the question of researcher positionality has been closely linked to post- and decolonial critiques of the imperialist power structures that undergird prevailing Eurocentric hegemonies and persistent investments in Orientialism, othering, exceptionalisms, and therefore, binary constructions of the superiority/inferiority of ways of knowing among subjects located by hemispheric and global maps of West/East, North/South and Indigenous/non-Indigenous (Mohanty 1984, 2003, Walia 2013, Mignolo & Walsh 2018, Tlostanova et al. 2019). These dualistic understandings of knowledge positions/locations, which maintain vestiges of Cold War Area Studies, are seemingly challenged and confounded by different forms of transnational scholarship, as more and more scholars are doing research transnationally, either as a consequence of mass global migrations, or to meet the norms of scholarly mobility in an international regime of knowledge production that is entangled with neoliberal reforms in higher education and research. Therefore, this book intends to further address the question of researcher positionality and knowledge production from the perspective of researchers with experiences of travelling across different geopolitical locations, not only between East and West (Orient and Occident), South and North, but also across continents, such as Eastern/Southern Europe and Western/Northern Europe, or North/South Americas or East/West Africa. In other words, we intend to address diverse liminal spaces (as distinguished from the so-called marginal sites addressed in the earlier literature), as shaped by various forms/routes of transnational scholarship and how they are mutually shaped by larger forces, resources, and discourses. By doing so, the book will shed light on multiple historical and emergent hierarchies, new forms of inequalities/exclusions, and neocolonial practices of intersecting exceptionalisms.

More concretely, the book aims to expand, both theoretically and empirically on the following questions:

1) How are transnational researcher positions situationally constructed and institutionally conditioned as “different”? Which sets of power relations are at stake in such positionings and how do they operate both within and beyond the frameworks of coloniality and neo-liberalist knowledge regimes (Mohanty, 2013; Koukkanen 2011)?;

2) What does claiming transnational positionality entail in accounting for the ways power systems inform and influence our research practices? What are the related methodological consequences/implications for knowledge production as abyssal (de Sousa Santos 2006) and/or interwoven situated practices?

3) What can critical engagement with knowledge production regimes as situated through transnational researcher and participant positionalities offer in rethinking/framing the politics of knowledge as a decolonizing project that imagines alternative destinations for all kinds of social, material, scholarly and artistic capital?

This call for papers seeks empirical as well as theoretical contributions which explore one or several of the above-mentioned questions. We seek contributions that shed light on the shifting directions of migration and mobility flows, and the many conditioning transnational experiences that are involved in research practices. We also welcome contributions from different disciplinary, theoretical and thematic lines of inquiry, but particularly invite scholars of Indigenous, feminist post-colonial/decolonial, and migration studies to contribute.

Interested authors are invited to send an abstract (two versions: one extended abstract of maximum 750-1000 words and one shorter version of 250-300 words) of the proposed chapter to Yan Zhao, Magdalena Nowicka and Marie Lovrod before July 15th, 2020. The abstract must clearly state the title, question(s) for discussion within the framework of the book, theoretical or/and empirical ground, and include short bio(s) of up to 75 words per author.