Research Justice: A Symposium Exploring Community Engaged Scholarship

Research Justice: A Symposium Exploring Community Engaged Scholarship

The American Cultures Engaged Scholarship program, the Public Service Center and the DataCenter hosted the Research Justice: A Symposium Exploring Community Engaged Scholarship on April 24, 2014 at the Anna Head Alumnae Hall, University of California, Berkeley.  The Symposium held a critical conversation about university-community partnerships that take the form of community engaged scholarship, particularly on how this work can support movements for social justice.  

Community engaged scholarship can re-shape how we view the university and “the public” and contribute to shaping the relationship between the two in favor of movements, such as environmental justice, prison abolition, indigenous movements, the fight for K-12 education, and the arts in social justice.  At the same time, these partnerships confront many barriers, including funding for community organizations, the ability to sustain community engaged scholarship as valued knowledge supported by academic policies like tenure and promotion or the academic calendar, and organizational capacity.

Please see the four below videos below to view the events on April 24, 2014 including the welcome by Director Victoria Robinson, the presentations by the first and second panel, and the closing.


Panel 1

Panel 2

Roundtable Discussion Reflections & Closing

Presentations addressed one or more of the following questions:

·         How can research be used to serve community?

·         How can community engaged scholarship challenge the dominant research paradigm, and how can research for justice be similar or different?

·         How does research via community engaged scholarship interrupt or upset the balance of power and inequitable relationships? What are some ways to sustain the change in balance of power?

·         How is success defined for community engaged scholarship and how does that contrast with success defined in conventional research?  What are successful methods for assessing impact?

·         How does community engaged scholarship contribute to strengthening the social justice movement? How does it deepen solidarity?

·         What are the practical and philosophical questions and obstacles that arise in university-community partnerships?

·         What are different models of community engagement in the undergraduate curriculum?  (structures, disciplinary perspectives, etc.)

·         How does race get articulated in community-engaged scholarship?

A panel of conversations and interactive small group sessions were held following the presentations.  After the Symposium, selected submissions, with the permission of the presenters, may be published on the University of California’s open access archive:  Community members, faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to submit proposals that contribute to the exploration of innovative research partnerships (e.g., via approaches, models, principles) that advance social justice and community self-determination.

About the Sponsors

The DataCenter is a national research and training organization that supports social justice movements and grassroots organizing.  They unlock the power of knowledge for social change, using research to move the knowledge and solutions of communities of color and the poor from the margins to the center of decision-making.

The American Cultures Engaged Scholarship program at the University of California, Berkeley is a partnership of the American Cultures Center and the Public Service Center.  Rooted in working toward racial and social justice, ACES supports faculty in creating community engaged scholarship courses in American Cultures, the university’s “diversity requirement” in the undergraduate curriculum.