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Race and education

A drawing of a woman of colour holding up her mobile taking a photograph

Today, read about an interview with me on the social construction of race and a forthcoming presentation on vocational education and training.

Race

I was interviewed by Metro (UK) for their series, The State of Racism:

“…Race is a social construction,” says Dr. Zuleyka Zevallos, Adjunct Research Fellow at Swinburne University. “Race is a system of classification and stratification, based on perceived biological differences. Race is stratification because these categories rank some groups as superior to others. It’s not based on some innate and immutable scientific fact.”

Read more on Metro UK.

Continue reading Race and education

The Rest of You Can Go Next

A yellow sign with a black arrow points to the right. It is hung on a wooden fence, with three plants of variable height in the forefront

On 6 February, I presented at the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA) Conference. My paper was titled, ‘The Rest of You Can Go Next: Using Intersectionality in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Programs.’ The distinguished keynote was delivered by Professor Patricia Hill Collins, author of Black Feminist Thought, and, along with Sirma Bilge, co-author of Intersectionality. It was a wonderful conference. I felt good about my paper. My summary of the event will be on my blog soon.

In the meantime, here is my abstract:

This paper addresses the racial silences that women of colour navigate when developing and managing equity, diversity and inclusion programs. I draw on a critical autobiography of memory and trauma (Thompson and Tyagi 1996), analysing the impact of my career on my life as a woman of colour. Of my two-decades working as a sociologist, I’ve spent 14 years employed across public service, not-for-profit, and consultancy contexts. I reflect on the evolution of managerialism, which is increasingly eager to be seen as responsive to intersectionality, whilst remaining hostile to anti-racism (Ahmed 2017). I outline the barriers, negotiation and resistance strategies used when delivering public programs intended to serve marginalised communities, whilst simultaneously challenging racism, sexism and other workplace discrimination. I show how intersectionality is deployed in corporate branding, and the impact of diluting the race component of intersectionality from ‘equity, diversity and inclusion’ programs. Intersectionality provides a critical framework for exploring how race and gender simultaneously impact legal, economic and other institutional outcomes (Crenshaw 1989). These dynamics are disparately experienced by Aboriginal women and femmes, other Black people, and other migrants (Bottomley, de Lepervanche and Martin 1991; Collins and Bilge 2016; Moreton-Robinson 2000). Here, I focus on the racial, gendered and mental health costs of delivering social change.

I hope to finalise a peer reviewed paper on this soon, and then we can expect the usual glacial delay on a forthcoming publication. Until then, I’m getting ready to publish a resource about evidence-based actions institutions can take using intersectionality, to improve equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Keep an eye on my blog, The Other Sociologist, for this over the coming days.

Scale and Space

I’m going to stop marvelling at how much time has passed since the last time I posted updates about my professional life, as it’s clearly been unforgivably way-too-long! A gentle reminder that my research blog, The Other Sociologist, has more regular posts about my research outside my paid work. My updates here are more about my public sociology.  Nevertheless, I’m eternally sorry that I update here far less frequently than I hope to.

Since we last caught up in February, I wrote about my time living and working in the Central Coast, I talked about why White people shouldn’t tag people of colour in their social media posts about race, how to use intersectionality in collective responses to sexual harassment in higher education, I showed international examples of how White people compare racism ineffectively across societies, and much more. I’ve also reflected on a large project that’s occupied my free time, which was to consolidate my various social media and microblogging into one spot, my research blog. I discussed that blogging carries a huge emotional tax, via public harassment, and why I persevere in spite of this abuse. Continue reading Scale and Space

Feminist Sociology and the Mundane

Writing at the top of graphi says 'Talking feminist sociology.' Image below is the header used by Lady Science. It is a drawing of several women dressed in STEM occupational outfits such as nurses and scientists

 

Happy lunar new year and happy 2019! The end of last year flew by in a whirl. October 2018 was busy as I geared up to leave on a six-week secondment. I worked with Barang Regional Alliance on their Youth Summit and Three-Year Youth Plan. Barang is the backbone for Aboriginal-controlled organisations in the Central Coast of New South Wales. I lived in the Central Coast from the end of October to early December. You can see some of my adventures on my Instagram and hopefully more soon on my research blog.

After some lovely rest and interstate travel, it’s been back to work on scaling up our vocational education trials and scoping other exciting new projects.

In January 2019, Lady Science published a podcast about my career and feminism. I talk about what sociology is and how Indigenous and other minority sociologists continue to challenge Western and colonial methods and ideas in sociology and in social policy. I also discuss the concept of ‘otherness,’ which unpacks how ideas of difference position dominant and less powerful groups. Take a listen to see how we can improve societies by being more aware of power and fighting institutional inequality.

A new textbook on Social Deviance lists my research blog as a resource for the sociology of mundane deviance. This is not quite how I would categorise what Professor Philomena Essed calls ‘everyday racism.’ This is the connections between routine interactions which reproduce racism and institutional discrimination. Still, Professor Henry sees a connection between microaggressions and social deviance.

When the Journal of Mundane Behaviour closed down in 2004, it left a gap in the field, which was filled in 2011 by Zuleyka Zeallos, an applied sociologist of Latin-Australian background, and her blog site: https://othersociologist.com. This site is worth exploring for the everyday, unremarkable practices in which humans engage that are “common, unexciting or ‘humdrum’ and provides a glipse at mundane deviance, with which it often overlaps when observing the irreverent aspects of social life. Yet the site also shows how the mundane practices and a series of “microaggressions” can socially construct consequential stereotypical categories sucha as “race.”

Professor Henry lectures in criminal justice and is Director of the School of Public Affairs, San Diego State University.

You can read other textbooks which reference my work under Citations.

Interplanetary and everyday inequality

Photograph of Ai Weiwei's Law of the Journey, 2017. Photo by Zuleyka Zevallos. Features giant boat filled with hunched over black figures with linked arms signifying refugges making the perilous journey for asylum. The artwork is in a giant industrial space on Cockatoo Island, Sydney

It’s almost the end of July; where have the past three months gone? In May, I was interviewed by  Newsweek about the sociological considerations of colonising space. Specifically, the exploitation of human labour required to build new colonies, and the ongoing impact and intergenerational trauma of colonisation that still need attention on Earth.

Last week, I was interviewed by SBS News on how to deal with microaggressions. This is the routine harm done to minorities through so-called ‘jokes’ and comments that undermine, stereotype or belittle differences and make minority people feel excluded.

In case you missed it on my research blog, I wrote up my previous talks I delivered earlier in the year, on women in tech and eliminating racial discrimination.  You can also watch a video of the talk I gave at the Science Pathways conference. I spoke about using intersectionality to make science more inclusive (I’m on from 1:57 minutes onward and again in the last 20 minutes for the panel Q&A).

I’ve also published a few ‘how to’ resources you might find useful:

If you’re wondering about the header image, which shows giant people on a raft, this is the masterful work by Ai Weiwei, Law of the Journey. It is made from inflatable lifejackets that wash up onshore when refugees land by boat seeking asylum. It was the highlight of this year’s Biennale art festival in Sydney. I will put this and my other photos from the festival on my research blog eventually.

 

Path to Inclusion

Update time! Since we last caught up last month, I’ve spoken at a couple of events and given some interviews. I have a panel coming up today that you can join remotely (it’s free!). In case you missed it, on my research blog, I’ve written some reflections on the March for Science and provided tips to make science events and protests more inclusive.

On International Women’s Day, 8 March 2018, I spoke at Redify, a software company, about strategies to increase the recruitment and promotion of minorities and White women in the tech sector.

On 20 March, ahead of Harmony Day, I was one of the speakers at an internal policy event celebrating multicultural inclusion in the public event. I spoke about how to respond to racism in the workplace and in other public places.

In late March, I gave a couple of interviews on Professor Terry Speed, a Fellow of the Academy of Science and sponsor of a gender equity program I used to manage. An investigation found that he sexually harassed a woman postdoc for two years. This case has been handled poorly by many organisations, including his employers and the Academy. I spoke with The Australian about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in higher education. I was also featured in the ABC Radio National’s Background Briefing, in their excellent but chilling expose that detailed the harassment by Professor Speed. I discussed the action I took trying to encourage the Academy to act as soon as the harassment case was made public.

A group of conference delegates stand for a group photo. They are smiling in front of their chairs in a lecture theatre
Photo: EMCR Forum. Adapted by Z. Zevallos

Coming up, I’ll be on a panel at the Science Pathways conference today, on 23 April 2018, in Brisbane, from 1pm to 2.30pm AEST. The panel is titled, ‘Making Science Inclusive.

More on the event and how to watch for free online, check out my blog!

And if you check out my blog just before 1pm, you’ll be able to access a description of the slides (don’t tell anyone else but you can see the post slides on my blog from 1pm, shhhhh!).

Inclusion from Melbourne to Mars

It’s been too long since I updated my movements here! Here’s a summary of what I’ve been up to in the last few months:

Event: Research Equity in New Zealand Aotearoa

Title of event on top banner against blue background reads: Research Equity in New Zealand Aotearoa. Smaller yellow banner with time and address details. Lower half shows large photo of Zuleyka Zevallos on the left and logos of hosts The NZ Association of Scientists, and logos of sponsors: Dodd-Walls Centre; The MacDiarmid Institute; Te Punaha Matatini

On Tuesday, I’m giving a keynote talk for Research Equity in New Zealand Aotearoa: A Suffrage Day Conversation. The event is held at the Royal Society Te Aparangi in Wellington, New Zealand, on 19 September 2017. I’ll talk about how to improve equity and increase diversity in research communities. The event is free to the public. Light refreshments from 5pm. Come along and say hello!

From the event description:

In this Suffrage Day event, Dr Zevallos will reflect on national approaches to improving the hiring, promotion, retention, recognition and participation of all women, specifically including Indigenous and transgender women, as well as other under-represented minorities in science. She will then be joined by panelists for a discussion of the specific needs of the NZ research community.

Dr Zuleyka Zevallos will then be joined by the following panelists (full panel TBC) for a discussion of the specific needs of the NZ research community. Audience questions will also be taken.

  • Chair: Craig Stevens, President of the NZ Association of Scientists
  • Anita Brady, Associate Dean (Teaching and Equity), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington; Queer and Gender Area Chair, Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand
  • Di Tracey, Fisheries Scientist, the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA); Women’s Network Coordinator for NIWA
  • Izzy O’Neill, National Coordinator – Thursdays in Black, NZUSA ­The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations; Researcher of the tertiary student (especially LGBTQIA) experience of sexual violence.
  • Joanna Kidman, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa; Associate Professor, Kaihautū, Te Kura Māori, Victoria University of Wellington, and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Researcher.
  • Richard Blaikie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, The University of Otago, and Vice-President (Physical Sciences) the Royal Society Te Apārangi

Book your FREE ticket.

Details
Tuesday, 19 September, 2017
5:00pm-7:00pm
Royal Society of New Zealand
11 Turnbull St
Wellington, New Zealand.

The event is hosted by The New Zealand Association of Scientists. The event is co-sponsored by the Dodd-Walls Centre, The MacDiarmid Institute, and Te Pūnaha Matatini.

Interview: Many Women Of Colour Feel Unsafe Working In Science

Women of colour sit in a meting room. Above them is the title: Women Of Colour Feel Unsafe Working In Science

I was interviewed by Buzzfeed, about a new study by Professor Kate Clancy and colleagues, showing women of colour scientists are more likely to experience race and gender harassment. Women of colour scientists are also excessively critiqued for being either too feminine or masculine enough, they have their physical abilities questioned, and they are more likely to miss professional opportunities like conferences, fieldwork, classes and meetings because their workplaces are unsafe. My comments from the interview:

“The study really reinforces a lot of what the literature already tells us — that women of colour are more likely to experience multiple forms of harassment and feel more acutely the impact of a hostile work environment in the sciences,” Zuleyka Zevallos, a sociologist at Swinburne University in Australia, told BuzzFeed News.

Although this isn’t the first study to show evidence of the “double bind” of racial- and gender-based harassment, some critics continue to deny that the effect is real.

“A lot of the pushback that we see in the individual scientific communities —astronomy or any other science — is that scientists want data,” Zevallos said. “And even though there’s a plethora of data, it’s like they need to see more data for themselves.”

Continue reading Interview: Many Women Of Colour Feel Unsafe Working In Science

Interview: Sociologist at Work

The following is an excerpt; the second of a two-part interview with me on Mendeley Careers, first published on 17 May 2017. (Find part one here.)

Everyone knows how hard it is to get a tenure track role, but we maintain this illusion that this is the only way we can have a fulfilling job. I advise researchers to look beyond the stigma: once you step off the academic track, there’s a world of opportunities. I’ve done work with government, I’ve led a research team investigating environmental health and safety, I’ve worked with nonprofits. I come to my career with the knowledge that there is a lot of fluidity in what I can do. I may do a lot of consulting for a while, and then go back into working for a traditional research organisation.

Researchers should know: our skills are highly valued outside academia, we need to learn how to market them. We should find a way to show to clients and employers how those research skills can be useful. If you can master that, potential employers and clients will give you amazing opportunities. For example, I once went to a job interview for a role as a researcher, and based solely on the questions I asked, the employers in question offered me a management role on the spot.

A non-academic career role is nothing to be ashamed of; it is a source of pride that strengthens research impact on society, as it brings knowledge to new sectors. There are many, many organisations which are in dire need of scientific skills and expertise; in the process, you can achieve great progress for a variety of communities.

Read more on Mendeley Careers.

Community day out on a sunny day
A non-academic career strengthens research impact