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Attending Knowledge on Revolutionary Grounds: Anti/De-Colonial Futures in Higher Education

Attending Knowledge on Revolutionary Grounds: Anti/De-Colonial Futures in Higher Education


I came to the Graduate Center a year ago to begin my PhD in Geography. Excited about walking into, what I identify as my indisputable calling, I found out very quickly that there is a universe of things to learn. There remained to be so many books (and other texts) that I would need to both read and re-read and paradigms I would need to study, merge, operate within, shift, unsettle and even shatter. Additionally, I had to be mindful of all the relationships. Relationships that I will need to erect, strengthen, disengage from, and perhaps even at times, dismantle, as I carry out this long journey.


Thinking about all of this was engulfing, but I found power in converting the above--along with the expectation of utter perfection, into both the character of not only my thrilling intimidation, but also my insatiable motivation and impatience. While I must resist the intimidation lodged within perfection, contrarily embracing it’s motivational command, its assistance on the fueling of my excitement is energy. I remain steadfast in articulating a dream-led, restless solace, as the liberation-concerned Black woman visionary that I have been called to be. I see, and I also feel that I am finding grace in knowing that one must attend the various sorts of knowledge in order to grow. I am learning, that it is this very attendance, and not solely the production it may eventually yields, might actually be the thing that proximates us to this idea of "perfection." I’ve showed up, to the “Ivory Tower.” I am also attending the vast and prismatic assemblages of all forms of knowledge and knowing that are unbounded. With this, I am joyfully compelled to move forward in my balanced optimism, notion of abundance into the future and all other timescapes.


With these sentiments, I join the Futures Initiative as a research fellow, ready and excited to begin the work of revolutionizing how we currently experience, not only formalized education, but also how we radically attend all knowledge. Holding a spirit of collaboration, I will be working closely with the larger community in an anti-colonial and critical posture. As an ardent believer that knowledge production occurs at various sites and also one who relentlessly respects that these various productions and formations occur indirectly or unaffiliated with the academy, I am excited about possibly collectively finding ways that the academy and academics can further resist the trend of colonial appropriation and tendencies towards extraction. Firmly rejecting these urges will allow others to question the limiting notions of academic productivity. Resisting this gross inclination towards the accumulation of non-academic knowledge(s) and their products, means that we have to honestly and boldly scrutinize the structure of higher education on very revolutionary terms. This is why I am excited to have been chosen as a Futures Initiative research fellow. I am elated to have an opportunity to question the equity within higher education, think alongside and in partnership with the larger community, all while upholding that education is a public good and to that end, tackle questions about academic labor as it relates to shallow definitions of scholarly production.


Thus, the academic year that waits is already stirring and I am enthused about the renewedness that is coming forth from an impending and co-contributed network. It is my pleasure to be apart of this Initiative. See original post here:



Allison Guess is a PhD student in the program of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography) at the Graduate Center at CUNY. Her research interest include Black peoples’ relationships to land, migration, anti-Black racism and capitalist structures. You can follow Allison on Twitter at @AllisonGuess1


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