Inspired by a deep commitment to understand the interrelationships between race, racism, and the possibility for change we are a collection of researchers, teachers, and scholars who strive to bring a critical race theoretical perspective to the University of Tennessee. We define critical race scholarship broadly, but maintain that a continuing effort to dismantle institutional/structural racism requires an intentional program of action that confronts racism, prejudice, and discrimination at multiple levels and in a variety of sociocultural settings. Members of the Critical Race Collective adhere to the five central tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which include the following:
- Centrality of Race and Racism in Society: CRT asserts that racism is a central component of American life.
- Challenge to Dominant Ideology: CRT challenges the claims of neutrality, objectivity, colorblindness, and meritocracy in society.
- Centrality of Experiential Knowledge: CRT asserts that the experiential knowledge of people of color is appropriate, legitimate, and an integral part to analyzing and understanding racial inequality.
- Interdisciplinary Perspective: CRT challenges ahistoricism and the unidisciplinary focuses of most analyses and insists that race and racism be placed in both a contemporary and historical context using interdisciplinary methods.
- Commitment to Social Justice: CRT is a framework that is committed to a social justice agenda to eliminate all forms of subordination of people.
Given that at its most basic level, education is a forward looking and transformative exercise, we believe that the institutional setting of the University of Tennessee is a crucial space to engage in critical race scholarship, pedagogy, and social justice activism. As a Critical Race Collective (CRC) we strive to create a space where support, community, and solidarity is fostered; collaborative critical race scholarship can thrive; and where active participation in social justice organizations on and off campus is furthered. This includes fostering a production of knowledge process constituted through the experiences of communities of color, critical scholarship, and transformative change. Members of the CRC are focused on several aspects of critical race scholarship in interdisciplinary fields such as geography, psychology, sociology, education, Africana Studies, and the arts & humanities, such as philosophy.