The Women of Color in Conflict and Collaboration (WOCC) Graduate Research Cluster includes an exploration of the ways in which women of color (re)configure their identities by resisting, reclaiming and reinventing their collective selves; these (re)configurations inherently challenge various cultural hegemonies of race, gender, class that continue to (en)force the objectification and invisibility of women of color. We propose two research questions, both empirical and theoretical. Empirically, we ask: in what ways does collaborative work impact academic performance for women of color? This question addresses our interests in learning how interdisciplinary work and intercampus connections may benefit women of color graduate students who may otherwise feel isolated. Furthermore, it develops and puts into practice, alternative methodologies that challenge dominant epistemologies. Theoretically, we ask: in what ways does working in collaboration make visible our lives and experiences, and thus challenge the erasure of us as women of color scholars in academia? This question enables and facilitates a multidimensional framework for examining identity-formation, as well as political and personal practices.
Our primary concern is the experience of women of color and the destabilizing of static understandings of these categories, inside and outside the academy. We will utilize storytelling and testimony as a decolonial feminist methodology, while being attentive to the ways in which women of color reflect on and creatively contest oppressive systems that seek to control and restrict women of color, and black and brown bodies. Privileging our testimonies and personal stories as a decolonial feminist methodology allows for the understanding, (re)creating, and (re)framing of our identities, which may not fit neatly into binary or normative categories. To this aim, we tell our own histories in order to deconstruct oppressive colonial histories as a form of collective resistance— a necessary form of survival in a white supremacist, heteronormative and patriarchal society.