Friday, April 10, 2009

Smith and Collins

I enjoyed all of the readings for this coming week. I found Smith and Collin's work to be particularly useful. Let me tell you how:

As someone who is vested in the investigation of social issues for groups that are often categorized as "minorities," particularly women and Latina/os, I have struggled to describe and discuss what I mean when I use the label "women" or "Latinas." I NEVER want to appear as an essentialist.

Just as Smith and Collins point out, it is the voice of women and/or Latina/os that I interview that I aim to represent, to put forward in an attempt to make space for a different kind of theory. As I read Smith and Collins carefully, I began to understand how discussing and describing the "Latina family" experience or the condition of "women in higher education," is a way of recognizing and validating both the similarities, but perhaps, more importantly the rich differences that characterize the women and Latina/os that I work with in my research. I am deeply appreciative of Collin's discussion on essentializing (presented in Appelrouth et al., 2008) where she writes:

"Black women's collective standpoint does exist...Because it both recognizes and aims to incorporate heterogeneity in crafting Black women's oppositional knowledge, this Black women's standpoint eschews essentialism in favor of democracy.." (pg. 616). Collins provides the language to help me elaborate my own work in which I explore the experience and perspectives of Latinas in higher education or Latino families, as they are involved in school-family partnerships, etc....

Can you think of other ways that Collin's and Smith's work helps us to reconnect the sociological discipline to matters of practical, democratic purpose? And what do you make of Butler's response to Collin and Smith?

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