Session: Doctoral Students' Reflections on Social Work's Response to Violence (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

68 Doctoral Students' Reflections on Social Work's Response to Violence

Friday, January 18, 2019: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Union Square 3/4 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Research on Social Work Education (RSWE)
Diana Melendez, MSW, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Gilbert Nick, LMSW, MPA, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Gleneara Bates, MSW, The Graduate Center, City University of New York and Tiffany Younger, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
As emerging leaders in the field of social work and social welfare, doctoral students seek to design, evaluate and actualize innovative strategies to address the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work. Responses to the Grand Challenges call for a liberatory perspective and an intersectional framework that examines power, privilege and oppression and creates opportunities for more accountable, more just and more equitable ways of knowing, healing and being in the classroom and in practice. As students navigate institutions of power, they need ways to reconcile experiences of privilege and oppression while actualizing their commitment as accountable agents of change. This is particularly true for historically underrepresented students who may struggle to maintain their sense of integrity, identity, and health intact as they work towards completing their doctorate goals.

This presentation will draw from scholarship, theory and practice on liberatory perspective and intersectionality to give language to the experiences of doctoral students in Social Work as they examine the misuse or abuse of power. Students will speak truth to power regarding the ongoing challenges they have experienced while navigating systems and institutions that continue to operate in ways that tolerate or promote violence based on white supremacy and cisheteropatriarchy. Students will share some of the tensions they have experienced and will speak from their direct experiences across both privilege and resistance to oppression. The students will share an analysis of violence, as it is understood at the individual, family, community or global levels. This systemic analysis links the replication of epistemic violence in Social Work higher education to the personal experiences of students representing multiple locations across intersecting sociopolitical identities.

The integration of scholarship, practical and lived experiences has the potential to bridge knowledge, teaching and research. In particular, participants will be engaged in a critical dialogue of how doctorate programs have the opportunity to be the source of innovation and movement towards justice or, by default, will continue to be complicit in maintaining the status quo of colonial subjugation. Barriers and suggested strategies for change will be identified, with a focus on addressing the ways in which multiple dimensions of privilege and oppression manifest through interpersonal, structural, historical and epistemic violence.

Questions to be addressed during dialogue:

How can we develop a shared analysis of the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work through a liberatory perspective and intersectional framework?

What barriers are doctoral students facing as they navigate power, privilege and violence?

In what ways does research in higher education perpetuate violence?

How can doctoral students demonstrate a commitment to activism beyond studying it?

How does research (and the research process overall) promote a disconnection between the researchers' identities and the types of questions and methodologies they engage?

Are students indoctrinated and trained to maintain or resist the status quo in the institutions they are a part of? How does this effect what is studied and researched?

Do we as students, scholars and teachers have a responsibility to decolonize our work, on individual and collective levels? How do we do it?

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