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ASTR’s José Esteban Muñoz Targeted Research Working Sessions
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ASTR’s José Esteban Muñoz Targeted Research Working Sessions

The late performance theorist José Esteban Muñoz once described the limits experienced by minoritarian knowledge producers (including, especially, scholars of color) in the academy thus:

Within majoritarian institutions the production of minoritarian knowledge is a project set up to fail. Mechanisms ensure that the production of such knowledge ‘misfires’ as it is misheard, misunderstood, and devalued.... The need to produce minoritarian knowledge is a mode of utopian performativity, a certain striving that is both an ideality and a necessity.

Recognizing this dynamic and this imperative, the Executive Committee of ASTR is establishing competitive, funded, three-year working sessions in order to support, promote, and feature the production of research by and about people of color at ASTR. The EC places particular emphasis on these working sessions as an opportunity to foster and forward intersectional work that also attends to and includes LGBTQ communities, disability communities, and scholars without regularized institutional support. Each working session will constitute one cycle of three continuous years, with a final count of three complete cycles. The first session will commence its three-year cycle at the 2016 conference, with the second and third sessions beginning consecutively in 2017 and 2018. The organizers of each working session must commit to the working session running for a continuous three-year period, though the leadership may change or rotate (with the approval of the ad-hoc committee for selections).

Funding: Each selected working session will be granted a $3,000 budget each year to support its work. Organizers will propose a budget in the application but are left with wide latitude regarding the utility of funds. Organizers might, for example, use funds to subsidize the travel and lodging of working session participants or use the money programmatically. In addition to the funding grant, ASTR conference registration fees will be waived for the organizers of the working session. With the exception of graduate students, however, organizers may not use funds to pay for their own travel and lodging for the conference. Graduate student organizers may use up to $500 each to defray such costs.

Proposal and Selection Process for ASTR’s Muñoz Targeted Research Working Sessions

  1. Deadline for applications: The deadlines for applications should be set as the same date as the ASTR deadline for all working session applications. For 2016, that deadline is February 1st. Applications will be submitted through the Muñoz Targeted Working Session online form available here.

  2. The ad-hoc committee will review proposals immediately after the deadline with deliberations concluding within one week of that deadline. The ad-hoc committee will then notify the recipients, the VP for Conferences, and the Program Chairs. Recipient(s) will have one week to confirm participation.

Proposal Form: View the form here. Applicants will submit the same information as included on the standard working session proposal form with the addition of the following:

  1. A short statement of no more than 500 words explaining how the proposed session addresses the mandate of the Muñoz targeted working session.

  2. A budget featuring a rationale of no more than 500 words for the proposed use of funds.

  3. Applicants should also specify whether they want their working session proposal to be considered for the yearly conference if it is not selected as a Muñoz Targeted Research Working Session.

Additional Guidelines

  1. Each working session may have a maximum of three organizers.

  2. The session organizers must have an open call for submissions to the session; they cannot have a predetermined list of participants for the session.

  3. The call for papers can include language such as, “this session comes with $3000 in funding from ASTR. The organizers will determine how to use that funding once the participants have been finalized.”

  4. The session organizers must submit a final report on the working session to the EC that includes a detailed summary of how the funds were used. This report is due no later than December 1st of the conference year.
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