Discussion on Scholarly Conversation, Criticism, and Controversy
Friday, April 5, 2019 9-11 a.m.
The purpose of this gathering was to discuss the issues involved in the types of conversations, criticisms, and controversies that can arise given the particularities and demands of scholarly work and communication. We are doing the scholarly enterprise a disservice if we do not add our voices to difficult conversations, yet we also need to be prepared for how to respond to and start these conversations when they arise or are needed. Women scholars and scholars of color are more likely to face criticism (and harassment) from the broader public on social media, and tend to become examples of when scholarly criticism becomes controversy. Furthermore, universities vary in their response when scholars are part of or brought into controversy. These phenomena have implications for who is heard and who is silenced in the moment and in the future. Topics discussed included how these issues play out structurally, within our disciplines and institution; how these issues play out interpersonally, within moments of communication (on social media, in writing, in email, at conferences); and how to start and respond within each of these scholarly Cs: conversation, criticism, and controversy.