Master's Tools, Master's House: Decolonizing Academic Enterprise (Roundtable)


Women's and Gender Studies / Pedagogy & Professional

Elif Sendur (SUNY Binghamton University)

When invited to speak in “the Personal and the Political Panel" as a respondent at the New York University Institute of Humanities conference, Audre Lorde begins with indicating the arrogance of feminist theory to assume that black, third world, queer women would have nothing to contribute to the white , non-queer, privileged, first world discussion. When she uttered her now famous – so famous that one can order a t-shirt , a mug, various paraphernalia with this sentence on it- master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house, Audre Lorde is standing in the most controversial of places and times, confronting the very master in their own house.

“Master’s Tools will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” is such a powerful statement that we often forget under what conditions and to whom it was uttered at first: this is a moment of being ,what Sara Ahmed’s calls "a feminist killjoy" where surrounded by academics who seem to have forgotten those who enabled them to be there, Lorde utters that “survival is not an academic skill” (112).

This panel invites you to think about ways to not only survive academia and academic form that is an institutional space embedded in colonizing, powerful, oppressive,patriarchal practices with a destructive urge of competing for hoarding knowledge but also decolonize it with practices that emphasize the common, the queer, the shared populated by feminist killjoys, cooperator, allies and learners.
Topics may include but not limited by:
- centering gender, queer, oppressed and colonized in curriculum- decolonizing texts / practices/media
-being a feminist killjoy in academia
- social justice practices in classroom and beyond-silences and practices enabling oppression, power and violence within academia
-queering spaces, queering academia thought diverse media, practices, texts, actions-ways of undoing power in academia-Literature, film and text resisting appropriation-cyborg writing and its potential for opening a political space-race and racism in literary milieus.







This panel invites presenters to think about ways to not only survive academia--an institutional space embedded in colonizing, powerful, oppressive, patriarchal practices with a destructive urge of competing for hoarding knowledge--but also to decolonize it with practices that emphasize the common, the queer, and the shared populated by feminist killjoys, cooperators, allies and learners. Topics may include: centering gender, queer, oppressed and colonized in curriculum- decolonizing texts / practices/media; being a feminist killjoy; social justice practices in classroom and beyond.