Monday, March 9, 2009

Response: March 9, 2009

From Responses: March 9, 2009

Below is the third email sent out to the dance majors student list-serve as well as the dance staff, musician and faculty listserves, once again by Dr. Ananya Chatterjea; director of the dance program. It was sent out in the morning, before Part 9 was up.

Sub: [Dancemajors] TOWN HALL FRIDAY
Date: 3/9/2009 3:25 PM

Dear all,

The exhibit that has been mushrooming over our building has provoked very interesting questions: What indeed is privilege and how does it play out in institutions like academia? How do our everyday practices reflect ingrained social prejudices? There is great momentum here to ask really powerful questions and ready ourselves for change.

There are more complex questions to be asked as well: No space is uniform, because no population/community is uniform. What transformative possibilities exist in this building, or can be eked out from the practices that reside here? What ways might there be to dismantle such prejudice as exist here? How can we build on the energy generated through this exhibit and reflect on our practices?

To this end, I am calling a mandatory Town Hall on Friday from 1:30-3:30 in 100. While I am aware that this will not resolve all of the questions that have been brought up, I do hope we can all attempt together to begin to create a safe space to ask questions and have a productive dialogue around issues of difference. I also want to urge us all to think about how certain projects might be performative and very successful in drawing our attention to certain questions, but they do not always offer opportunities to work towards a specific set of goals. The goal of this Town Hall is to get us to outline goals and move us towards certain parameters. This is only the first of such Town Halls this semester.

Once again, while this exhibit has been personally very enriching to me, I doubt that, if the safety either of the individuals involved in the exhibit or of the building in which we all work--many of us with a rich history in anti-racist work--is compromised, then we are moving towards some vision equity or justice.

I look forward to seeing everybody at this event.

Thank you so much for your attention.