Interdisciplinary Studies Department

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ISD Statement Post-Election 2016

To KSU students and all others affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Studies Department:

Faculty and staff in ISD are aware that many students are feeling vulnerable and unsafe as a result of last week’s election. We want students to know that we will do everything we can to address these feelings (which many of us share) in the days to come, not just with words but with actions. In light of the recent upsurge in hateful rhetoric and outright violence aimed at vulnerable populations, ISD is more committed than ever to inclusiveness and equitable, safe learning environments. We reaffirm the values that guide faculty and staff in our department, which are listed below (and that appear on our web site). There is no place for hate and violence in our classrooms or on our campus. We are here for you. ISD faculty and staff are committed to the following, among other values: • Appreciating diverse points-of-view • Exploring from multiple perspectives • Collaborating in innovative ways • Engaging communities locally and globally • Teaching critical thinking skills and research methodologies • Encouraging ethical relationships I also wanted to share with you an excerpt from a powerful essay by Dominican American writer Junot Diaz after the election: So what now? Well, first and foremost, we need to feel. We need to connect courageously with the rejection, the fear, the vulnerability that Trump’s victory has inflicted on us, without turning away or numbing ourselves or lapsing into cynicism. We need to bear witness to what we have lost: our safety, our sense of belonging, our vision of our country. We need to mourn all these injuries fully, so that they do not drag us into despair, so repair will be possible. And while we’re doing the hard, necessary work of mourning, we should avail ourselves of the old formations that have seen us through darkness. We organize. We form solidarities. And, yes: we fight. To be heard. To be safe. To be free…. But all the fighting in the world will not help us if we do not also hope. What I’m trying to cultivate is not blind optimism but what the philosopher Jonathan Lear calls radical hope. “What makes this hope radical,” Lear writes, “is that it is directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is.” Radical hope is not so much something you have but something you practice; it demands flexibility, openness, and what Lear describes as “imaginative excellence.” Radical hope is our best weapon against despair, even when despair seems justifiable; it makes the survival of the end of your world possible. Only radical hope could have imagined people like us into existence. And I believe that it will help us create a better, more loving future. Here’s to fighting and hoping for a world of justice and peace. Robbie Lieberman, Chair Interdisciplinary Studies Department

Posted: November 17, 2016