The Vision of Just Scholarship

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Maisha M. Auma Appointed First Audre Lorde Visiting Professor of the Berlin University Alliance

No 108/2021 from Jun 10, 2021

Joint press release issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin along with Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

The diversity network of the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) DiGENet has launched a visiting professorship for diversity studies. The "Audre Lorde-BUA-Guest Professorship for Intersectional Diversity Studies" is intended to shape Berlin as a research hub on a par with the reality of urban society. The education scholar Maisha M. Auma will be the first researcher to accept the guest professorship. In the public seminar series "Yallah Diversity" she is seeking to enter into dialogue with Berlin stakeholders.

As an education scholar and gender researcher, Maisha M. Auma bundles and updates research approaches that deal with unevenly distributed social power, privilege structures, and barriers to participation. "Gender studies have already made a huge difference in Berlin as a research hub," says Maisha M. Auma. But there is still a need for action: Only when existing patterns of exclusion are identified can those who have been discriminated against not only participate, but also become involved on a permanent basis - and help steer the fate of research institutions.

"So far, Berlin research has not yet reflected the hyperdiverse, postmigrant reality of Berlin society," says Maisha M. Auma. Multiperspectivity in research and teaching is the task of current and sustainable diversity policies and research. "The aim is to transform homogeneous social spaces so that the diversity of society can be institutionalized scientifically." As a black woman, Maisha M. Auma has experience of belonging to the academic world that is not a matter of course: "I have worked on and sharpened this knowledge within the framework of German-language educational science, gender studies, and childhood studies in a power-critical and reflexive manner." The researcher analyzes social reality intersectionally, from the perspective of those groups that have little social power. She consistently works transnationally, both on topics of diversity pedagogical research and intersectional-racism-critical theory and practice.

The DiGENet guest professorship is named after the black Caribbean-American writer, library scientist and English professor Audre Lorde. She worked as a visiting professor at Freie Universität Berlin and between 1984 and 1992 was repeatedly in Berlin for longer stays. The Audre Lorde guest professorship is intended to shape contemporary, future-oriented diversity studies for and from a hyperdiverse, postcolonial metropolis. Its aim is to make this research visible - locally as well as transnationally - and to open it up to a broader debate.

"New and important social issues, debates and research objectives in the Berlin area are, for example, diversity-oriented restitution research," emphasizes Maisha M. Auma. "The fact that Berlin, as a former colonial metropolis, is now assuming political responsibility to address colonial injustices such as the genocide against the Namaqua and Herero or the return of stolen objects gives rise to hope that racially marginalized groups and post-migrant realities in Berlin, including academia, will become institutionally visible in Berlin. The Berlin University Alliance takes on a central role in establishing these contemporary issues.

The DiGENet guest professorship in the cross-cutting theme Diversity and Gender Equality of the BUA structures partial aspects of these debates and the research questions generated from them in the form of public lecture series, seminars, and colloquia. The first of these is "Yallah Diversity." In this public series of seminars, Maisha M. Auma discusses theoretical terms such as "postmigrant," "decolonial," and "critical of racism" with actors from the Berlin academic landscape. The series of seminars started on May 27 and will run until July 15, 2021.

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