An introductory Q&A with the Indigenous Studies Discussion Group, a new Research Network at CRASSH 2021 – 2022.
Q. How did the Indigenous Studies Discussion Group come about?
The ISDG was founded in 2019. Nishant Gokhale (PhD Candidate Legal Studies) and Oliver Antczak (PhD Candidate Heritage Studies) both met in Cambridge during their intro week, and at that point we shared our experience and research topics and we realised that even though there were many people working with Indigenous topics in Cambridge, there was no space for them to meet and share together. We founded the ISDG soon after with a small grant from the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre. Although it was initially only a reading group, to discuss readings we would do every month, it has since evolved into a larger network that expands beyond Cambridge and organises a variety of events.
Q. By definition, a CRASSH Research Network has an interdisciplinary question at its core. What is yours?
Our aim is to challenge the core ideas of our research with the question: how and why are we doing Indigenous Studies, and what is the best way to do it? In and of itself, Indigenous Studies is an interdisciplinary field, and with our network, we aim to bring everyone together to challenge each other’s methods, justifications, ethics, and goals. We also believe that by engaging with others who are involved in this field, and together reading and discussing Indigenous scholarship, we can gain insights from other disciplines and geographical contexts that we may otherwise miss out on.
Q. Could you tell us a bit more about this year's convenors, speakers and attendees and the perspectives they bring to the discussion?
This year the ISDG is run by a group of graduate students from Venezuela, Poland, India, Australia and Canada, and they aim to use this geographical breadth to reach speakers and attendees from around the world, and to provide access to more diverse perspectives.
Q. What can we expect from the ISDG in 2021/2022?
This year you can expect a termly topic or theme, and a set of events around that theme. We will be running multimedia showings, panels, and in-person discussions. These will cover a range of topics, including Justice and Criminalisation, Pervasive Narratives of Vanishing Indigenous Peoples, Wellness and Personhood, and the roles of non-Indigenous and Indigenous scholars in the development of this field.
Q. How can people learn more about your Network?
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