Eric Tang, who will be a panelist at our Heman Sweatt Symposium panel about the Future of Black Life in Austin this Wednesday and is one of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement’s Faculty Fellows, was featured today on the American Studies blog.
1. What has been your favorite project to work on and why?
I’m not sure that I have a favorite project. I have different projects that each offer moments of profound reward. I guess, then, I have favorite moments. And those moments are when the exceptions prove the rule: when seemingly unlikely racial alliances explain a community’s resilience; when what seems like social disorganization and disjuncture is in fact the generative force of political movements; when what is misunderstood as hopelessness, despair and ambivalence among oppressed peoples is rather an expression of a profound political critique.
My work looks at the poetics of displacement–from third world refugees to the African American communities throughout Austin. Why poetics? Because the violence of displacement necessarily produces among the displaced a specific way of knowing the world–a theory and a form. Some scholars refer to this as a methodology of the oppressed. My goal as a scholar is to ensure that contemporary society does not squander their vision/theory/method.
You can read the rest of the interview here.