Over the course of the semester, Allies has continued to open up its study group sessions to invited faculty and staff guests. This has resulted in some lively discussions that have offered unique and diverse points of view.
In October, we discussed the ramifications of hate speech and its intersection and interaction with the freedom of speech. We also examined the concept of censorship and its similarities with cancel culture, which we discussed in detail in an open discussion earlier this semester. Four guest participants from the staff were able to share their opinions, particularly as they related to their roles on our campus. Our later conversation on language and decolonization allowed us and six faculty and administration guests to more deeply consider the role language(s) play in our lives and how they contribute to our experience at MIIS.
Most recently, we discussed the book The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This collection of essays from different writers from various contexts provided us with multiple lenses to view and investigate the refugee experience. The discussion forced us to grapple with tough questions including what to make of the expectations we place on refugees, and how to preserve the memory of refugee experience. While we came to no definitive conclusions, it was important for us to contemplate these questions, especially as the issue grows increasingly politicized in the United States.
In the spring semester, Allies at MIIS will build on the experience we have gathered in the last three years and offer some concrete resources to higher education campuses. Stay tuned to learn more about our projects.