Author(s): Nicholas Raffoul
Editor(s): Ra’anaa Brown, Koby Rogers Hall, Karina Roman
This post marks the third week of our newfound Afrofuturism-BLM research group under the supervision of Dr. Ming Wai Jim. While we continue to work on administrative tasks for our project, these past few weeks have been fundamental to assembling a stable and ethical foundation for our forthcoming research. Our team has been discussing important details about how we will be organizing, managing, and presenting our prospective academic scholarship and assessing best practices for an ethical research process.
More specifically, we are evaluating reference management softwares to manage our bibliographic data, looking into several options for ethical and efficient citation management that would be most suitable for our long-term research process. We are also considering the different streams to present updates on our progress, looking into options to curate and put forward our research, including social media platforms and a website.
This early stage of our research project includes tasks spanning from planning out best practices for recording meeting notes to effectively communicating between our team of research assistants and our project supervisor, Dr. Ming Wai Jim. Our objective for these preliminary weeks of the research process is to build a functional archive of our progress, and a framework for academic scholarship on Black Lives Matter and Afrofuturism taken on with care and mutual understanding between the members of our team.
This week, Ra’anaa, Koby, and Karina attended an insightful workshop, “The Dangers of Everyday Oral History Interviewing: Building and Breaking Trust in the Field,” led by Dr. Stacey Zembrzycki, an oral and public historian of immigrant and refugee experience, who has published and co-edited several works including According to Baba: A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury’s Ukrainian Community and Oral History Off the Record: Toward an Ethnography of Practice. Dr. Zembrzycki posed crucial questions regarding intimacy in an oral history context, and what roles intimacy plays in the ethical processes of oral history interviewing and research, drawing on her own fieldwork experiences.
The workshop was a critical introduction to the ethics of oral history and it brought up several important considerations for us to evaluate before embarking on groundwork research, including intimacies in interviews as well as questions of safety for both the interviewer and interviewee. Dr. Zembrzycki raised important questions on the research process, such as accommodations to make when interviewing colleagues of marginalized backgrounds, and situating the interviewer herself, including, BIPOC, women, and those identifying as LGBTQ2S.
I am looking forward to continuing our work and reflecting on our research practices as we build a framework of ethics and care for this research project. As Willie Ermine aptly puts it, “inevitably, we come to the realization that the ethics of research are all about empowerment,” (Ermine 203). While we continue working on administrative tasks and building a strong base for our upcoming weeks, I am honoured to be working with Ra’anaa, Koby, Karina, and Dr. Ming Wai Jim, who I have already learned so much from these past few weeks. I am eager to continue working with the team and attending more relevant workshops in order to build trustworthy research that brings awareness to Black Lives Matter and Afrofuturism within the Canadian context.
Nicholas Raffoul, MA Candidate in Art History