07. 26. 2022
Spark Volume II Cover

The Community of Scholars Program Writing Initiative and the SPARK Editorial Board are excited to announce the publication of the second issue of SPARK

The SPARK eZine was created to generate conversations about the scholarship of graduate researchers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC). Each of the research stories, shared in this issue, stimulates new ways of making academic scholarship relevant to our communities and beyond. Collectively, these research stories are animated by the multifaceted ways COSP Scholars are transforming what scholarship looks like, how knowledge is produced, and for whom scholarship is directed.

Initiated by the COSP Writing Initiative in 2020 and led by the SPARK Editorial Board, SPARK is committed to developing BIPOC writers through a collaborative approach to publishing research. The editorial process is intent on not reproducing the systemic violence(s) often encountered by writers who come from underrepresented identities in predominantly white academic institutions. The SPARK Editorial Board holds a fierce respect for the writers’ intentions, and the integrity of ideas, experiences, and creative form each writer brings to the community.

What’s in This Issue

Truth-telling and social justice for Indigenous peoples is at the heart of TRUTH: Parts I & II. As graduate leaders in the Towards Recognition and University-Tribal Healing (TRUTH) Project, An Garagiola and Audrianna Goodwin challenge readers to reflect deeply on the origins of the University of Minnesota as a land-grant institution. TRUTH: Part I provides a historical context of the ways the University of Minnesota acquired tribal lands and profited from the dispossession of Indigenous peoples in the founding of the institution. TRUTH: Part II provides a reflection on their work as Anishinaabikwewag graduate researchers for the TRUTH Project. Entering into the cavernous archives held at Elmer library, Garagiola and Goodwin emerge to discuss issues around recognition of past harms, ongoing violences perpetrated against Indigenous peoples, data sovereignty, and the future possibilities for University of Minnesota-Tribal relations. 

Hannah Jo King’s chapbook, Poems in Black Water Ecologies, draws from the personal and political. Inspired by King’s experiences with Indigenous land rights and water activism, and a constellation of Black Feminist Thought, King’s tactile and embodied poetry explores the relationship between Black life and Water.    

Sean Golden’s piece, The Practice of Nonviolent Editing, offers compelling insights into the ways nonviolent editing shows up in his practice as a SPARK editor working with BIPOC writers. Focusing on the ways nonviolent editing resists the extractive nature of predominantly white institutions and language toward BIPOC knowledge, Golden’s essay provides a jumping off point to discuss the ways  the editing process can build community, collaboration, and nourishment for BIPOC writers publishing their work.     

Nisma Elias’s piece, I’ll Meet You Where You Are: Research During a Pandemic, offers a reflection on the ways the coronavirus pandemic disrupted data collection for her doctoral research on private tutoring centers in Bangladesh. Moving between her pre-pandemic field notes in Bangladesh to the virtual space of the Zoom classroom setting, Elias speaks to the range of emotions and re-envisioning she underwent to adapt and succeed as a researcher during the pandemic.   

Bobby Kava’s piece, Some Kind of Monster, uses Victor Turner’s concept of liminality, the state of in-between-ness, and the figure of the “monster” to explore key stages during his life journey. Addressing Kava’s multiple experiences as a Tongan-Samoan, an American military commander deployed to the Middle East, and his present-day life as an MBA student at the Carlson School of Management, Kava explores how embracing the challenge of liminality can open a door to strength, self-renewal, and freedom.

Visual storytelling and public scholarship intersect in Teresa Mccarrell’s graphic comic, Astrobiological Analogues: Take a Tour of the Solar System Without Leaving Earth! In her piece, Mccarrell depicts the world of astrobiological analogues, the study of how certain sites on Earth resemble life on other planets in our solar system, revealing how biological microbial signatures found at different geological sites on Earth offer potential clues about life on other planets.  

We hope you enjoy this issue!

Learn more about the SPARK eZine