Statements from the CVPA EDI
The CVPA EDI Committee considers diversity to mean the variety of identities with which individuals and groups identify. These identities include, but are not limited to race, gender, sexual orientation, class and socio-economic status, ability/disability, religion, veteran status, tribe, and national origin. We regard identity as intersectional, and recognize that individuals and groups may contain many facets of identity at once. We also acknowledge and respect that some modes of diversity may be invisible and private, while others may be visible and public.
The CVPA EDI Committee is committed to fair and just practices and behaviors in the College, and ensuring equal access and opportunity. The support of equity in the College includes learning and understanding the historical and contemporary inequalities that shape our systems and interactions, and ensuring fair and equal access to opportunity for individuals and groups who identify as diverse. We respect diverse individuals and groups for who they are and encourage them to flourish.
The CVPA EDI Committee is committed to creating a sense of belonging and community where individuals are represented, and feel welcomed and heard. We recognize that inclusion requires respect for others, and listening to and fully understanding diverse perspectives and modes of communication. It is our intent to share power and encourage transparent decision-making. Every person is valued, and we welcome their participation in collective decisions and processes within the CVPA.
To Decolonize and Decenter:
The CVPA EDI Committee recognizes that to decolonize place, space, education, curriculum, and behaviors requires many steps that must be made by individuals and communities. To decolonize something is to acknowledge and understand the history of colonization and its impact on cultures. The process of decentering is related to, and a part of decolonization. It takes as its task to decenter commonly privileged positions, practices, and traditions. Decentering thus overlaps with decolonization, with decentering being more of an action that responds to privilege, practices, and traditions that have largely resulted from systems of colonization.
For our purposes, decolonizing and decentering involves understanding the impact of the histories of Western European elite systems, and the presence of those systems throughout the world, including North and South America. To redress the inequities in those systems, we should strive to critically engage these traditions in their full contexts and as part of an integrated global system that has historically disenfranchised minoritized groups. This understanding can lead to creating space for diverse global cultures and subcultures, and then changing colonial systems to fairly include and integrate heretofore marginalized and minoritized voices. In so doing, the dominance of a Western European, and implicitly, a white, cis, able-bodied, male, and colonial tradition would be challenged, and previously ignored contexts and histories would emerge in concert with other global and cultural traditions.
Creating space is part of the action of decentering. To continue that action, we strongly encourage every professor, student, and staff member to do the individual work of 1) assessing coloniality in the systems of their work; and 2) redressing those systems in concrete ways within their own sub-cultures and activities (Schools, departments, units, classrooms, research, teaching, service, etc.). The following are a series of tutorials and websites that may assist individuals in their decolonizing and decentering process.
- Keele Manifesto for Decolonizing the Curriculum
- Decolonizing the Music Room
- Project Spectrum: A graduate student-led coalition committed to increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in music theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology
- Max Liboiron, “Decolonizing your syllabus? You might have missed some steps.”
- National Council for Teachers of English: “Decolonizing your Classroom: Step 1”
- Critical Ethnic Studies (Univ of Minnesota): Nayantara Sheoran Appleton, “Do Not ‘Decolonize’ . . . If You Are Not Decolonizing: Progressive Language and Planning Beyond a Hollow Academic Rebranding”
- Crenshaw, Kimberlé Williams, ed. Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness Across the Disciplines. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019.
- hooks, bell. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994.
- Manathunga, Catherine. “Decolonising the curriculum: Southern Interrogations of Time, Place and Knowledge.” SOTL in the South. Volume 2, Issue 1 April 2018, pp.95-111.
- Robinson, Dylan. “To All Who Should Be Concerned.” Intersections, volume 39, number 1, 2019, p. 137–144.
- Tuck, Eveand K. Wayne Yang. “Decolonization is not a metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. 1, No. 1, 2012, pp. 1-40.