Blog Post for January 22nd
After listening to the TED talk about the dangers of a single story and reading about the dangers of damage-centered research I found myself reflecting upon my experiences from my teaching abroad in China this past summer.
For the TED talk, I agreed with a lot of what the speaker said. Even traveling around China for only two months I was able to see that there are a variety of different stories to be told of the Chinese people. There are vast differences between the urban dwellers and the people in the countryside of China. Thus it was easy for me to understand the dangers of a single story - how it create stereotypes and limits people's understanding of one another. I thoroughly enjoyed this talk because I felt it confirmed a lot of my thinking about how stereotypes get started and how people gain pre-convieved notions about others. It also confirmed my belief in the importance of seeing and experiencing things first-hand.
However, where I struggled with this week’s reading was in the "Suspending Damage: A Letter to Communities" article by Eve Tuck concerning damage-centered research. After I had returned from China, my semester was spent researching the structural violence that led to educational disparities in China, which in turn resulted in income and health disparities. Thus in reading the definition of damage-centered research, I found myself wondering whether or not I had commited any 'crime' by doing the (damage-centered) research I had done. “[Damage-center research] looks to historical exploitation, domination, and colonization to explain contemporary brokenness, such as poverty, poor health, and low literacy. […] but the danger in damage-centered research is that it is a pathologizing approach in which the oppression singularly defines a community” (413, Tuck). Moreover, I am struggling with what the author meant by shifting towards desire-based interpreptations, and am currently wondering how that would look in terms of revising the research I had done. In looking at the goals Tuck proposes in her moratorium for damage-centered research, I agree that its necessary to take time to reflect before researching to make sure our actions are aligned with our purposes for the community. Nonetheless sometimes situations are so complex much research should be done first so that reckless action is not implemented ignorantly. In terms of establishing tribal and community human research guidelines and creating mutually beneficial roles for academic researchers in community research, I also agree with the author because I belive this will lead to more positive, forward-looking, culturally sensitive research to be conducted. Overall this article definitely opened my eyes to looking at our intentions as we do research as well as how we frame our research.