Statement of Core Values
WiG is committed to anti-racist feminism and is taking concrete steps to ensure that WiG spaces (conferences, co-sponsored panels, the WiG-List, social media, and collaborative spaces) reflect those practices and values. A renewed commitment to work against injustice and discrimination within our organization and beyond is long overdue.
WiG acknowledges the ability of the organization and its members to push the boundaries of feminist scholarship and action in the field of German Studies by employing an antiracist politics of care with a deep commitment to feminist coalition- and community-building.
WiG is committed to making interventions in the field of German Studies and contributing to structural change, while addressing inequities and imbalances of power. The organization has the potential to serve as a collaborative, supportive, self-reflective, and accessible space that is able to respond to the needs of its community. Members’ scholarship and practice aim to address and challenge manifestations of antisemitism, anti-queer, anti-trans, anti-Muslim, xenophobia, classicism, and ableism, as well as anti-Indigenous, anti-immigrant, anti-Roma, anti-Asian, anti-Black and other forms of racism in creative, compassionate, productive, and intersectional ways.
WiG continues to be a majority-white space and has failed in the past at being a welcoming space for Scholars of Color. WiG is a community overwhelmingly comprised of tenure-track and tenured faculty, and thus the positions of those with the “most security” and power in the academy disproportionately represent the organization. WiG has not done the work of decolonizing its spaces and structures, nor has it done an adequate job of confronting its own structural and systemic racism.
Given our values and recognizing the context of our organization, WiG is committed to take the following actions:
Mitigate the violence and discriminatory potential of language
- WiG condemns the use of derogatory language because it perpetuates harm to BIPOC, members of the LGBTQIA community, noncitizens, people with disabilities, and others and has the potential to lead to re-traumatization.
- WiG also considers the impact that the use of vocabulary and the use of examples from a text can have on differently-situated individuals.
- At WiG and in WiG-affiliated spaces, it is inappropriate to use the N-word in any context or in any language. If the word is in the title of the work, simply say “N-word.” If it’s in a citation, do the same.
- In recognizing WiG values, concerns about censorship do not take priority over concerns about the well-being of our communities.
Create inclusive scholarly and professional spaces that challenge white supremacy
- WiG is committed to feminist anti-racist citation practices.
- Scholarly integrity includes acknowledging and highlighting the work of junior scholars, Scholars of Color, and scholars in more vulnerable positions.
- As an anti-racist feminist organization, WiG values contributions of BIPOC scholars across disciplines and recognizes that some of our members have been doing groundbreaking anti-racist feminist work for a long time.
- WiG promotes scholarship and teaching practices that disrupt and decenter traditional “Western/white,” heteronormative, and ableist academic knowledge production.
- WiG encourages mentorship and understands that mentorship needs to be a trust-building practice. Power structures and hierarchies need to be acknowledged, confronted, and broken down whenever possible, which includes marking whiteness and working towards undoing marginalizations.
Address structural inequalities
- As an organization, WiG aspires to promote equity, access, and representation for its members.
- WiG conference sessions and affiliate WiG sessions at other conferences should generally be organized by a more experienced and a less experienced WiG member (e.g. a graduate student or someone at the early stages of their career, whether it be within or outside of academia).
- Our members are called on to remain self-reflective, critical, and conscious of their positionalities and potential positive and negative impacts when presenting, mentoring, collaborating, or working on committees together.
Repeated intervention is key. Preventive measures, though often successful in mitigating harm, are not enough to ensure full inclusion nor to ensure that everyone in WiG spaces has full access to the tools necessary to co-create the organization. WiG is committed to taking action to address individual, collective, and structural issues that have arisen and may continue to arise. The leadership team encourages all members to work together to find constructive ways to adhere to these guidelines and promote WiG’s core values.
All members of WiG, including all conference participants, commit to co-creating a space and experience for every participant that is enriching, productive, and fulfilling, and that is not hostile, threatening, or exclusionary.
These Community Guidelines will be:
- sent to panel organizers upon acceptance of a panel at the WiG conference;
- sent to participants upon acceptance of a paper or poster, with particular focus on panels with content that could generate harm in any way;
- sent to registrants upon registration for the WiG conference;
- reviewed by the WiG President or conference organizer(s) at the beginning of the WiG conference annually;
- and, posted on the WiG website.
It is the responsibility of the leadership team to update these guidelines to reflect on the ways in which WiG as an organization can be an ever-more inclusive and safe place for scholars invested in feminist anti-racist German studies.
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