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Building the Fugitive Academy: Dr. Srivi's talk on Thriving as a Scholar of Color

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

As promised in a previous blog post, Dr. Srivi Ramasubramanian led a workshop on Friday, March 19, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CT) over Zoom. Moderated by UT Austin Faculty Member Jo Hsu, the recorded workshop, titled "Thriving Against Whiteness," featured University of Memphis Associate Professor, Dr. Andre E. Johnson.

The event was hosted by Boston College's Institute for the Liberal Arts in its impactful conference called Building the Fugitive Academy (BFA), as a part of the international virtual series, “Communication, Culture, Media, & Rhetoric Scholars on the Work of Transformation.” BFA's series is running from March to May of 2021. Moreover, the series features experts who teach participants about how U.S. American professional and academic culture should change to be more inclusive, said BFA's Organizing Committee.

"In this ongoing moment of global consciousness and uprising about racism, classism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of oppression, collaboratively creating theories and tactics to dismantle violent institutions and create liberatory worlds is necessary and urgent work," said BFA's Organizing Committee. "[The series] is intended to respond to multiple exigences, including ongoing conversations about structural whiteness across disciplines."

Though the event was branded with the name "Thriving Against Whiteness," Dr. Srivi said she felt that she preferred the idea of thriving despite whiteness. In fact, much of Dr. Srivi's presentation focused on reframing mindsets through linguistic training.

The workshop included skill-building around two deliverables: developing strategies for navigating whiteness in the academy and developing communities of care.

Dr. Srivi spoke on her upbringing in India contrasted with her experience in Texas. Moreover, she underscored the vitality of psychology and well-being by mentioning her expertise as a yoga instructor. Dr. Srivi's talk offered assistance for attendees to think about how they might navigate their own institutions and create strategies of self-care outside of them.

"I think that aligning my life with my scholarship has been one of the most joyful things that I'm able to do so I can connect all of these aspects of my culture and lived experiences," said Dr. Srivi.

In summation, Dr. Srivi spoke on the following subjects in regards to how one can succeed despite intersectional oppression. Some of the topics that were highlighted in her talk were as follows:

  • Holistic approaches to wellbeing

  • Her three-pronged strategy to achieve strong self-compassion

  • Distinguishing between adaptive/maladaptive coping mechanisms

  • Communication in collective healing

  • The idea of embodying a “Warrior-Healer” hybrid identity

The full webinar was recorded and is available to watch below.

Written by Riley Farrell, student journalist.


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