In a special issue of Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, Editor Devika Chawla invited authors examine a recent controversy that erupted at the National Communication Association. Spurring the controversy was a newly revised nomination and selection process for bestowing NCA’s annual Distinguished Scholar Awards—a new process which aimed to break down barriers to advancement for nonwhite scholars.

For a limited time, please enjoy free access to this Special Issue on Merit, Whiteness, and Privilege, sections of which are excerpted and linked to below.

DCQR 8:4: A Special Issue on Merit, Whiteness, and Privilege

Summer 2019 was tumultuous for communication studies, the field that is my academic home. A few morally and ethically sound decisions instituted by the National Communication Association’s (NCA) Executive Committee triggered a fierce debate about the relationship between academic merit and identity politics. The idea of what counts as legitimate, rigorous, and thus meritorious work is not unique to communication studies. Determining what counts as “good research” in any discipline is contested. What determines the worth of an academic idea in any field is controlled by its gatekeepers, and in disciplines in the West, they have always been white. Academic gatekeepers control borders by deeming what is and what is not anointed as “knowledge.” Moreover, the question of “what” counts is inevitably and inextricably linked with the question of “who” counts. Indeed, this question was central to the explosive conflict that has shaken the foundations of communication studies. Read more…

From the special issue

Editor’s Introduction
Devika Chawla

Introduction to Special Issue on Merit, Whiteness, and Privilege
Amardo Rodriguez, Mohan J. Dutta, Elizabeth F. Desnoyers-Colas

Nine Meditations on Difference and Repetition:
Reflections Inspired by Questions on Merit and Distinction

Sarah Amira de la Garza

Provincializing Whiteness:
We Are All Calibans

Priya Kapoor

The Imperative of Dissecting Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous Meritocracy in Communication Studies and Beyond
Luis M. Andrade, Deven Cooper

Merit, Diversity, and Resilience:
An International Faculty Perspective

Ahmet Atay

Departures in Critical Qualitative Research publishes peer reviewed, innovative, experimental, aesthetic, and provocative works on the theories, practices, and possibilities of critical qualitative research. We welcome and showcase state of the art work in performative writing, performance texts, fictocriticism, creative nonfiction, photo essays, short stories, poetry, personal narrative, autoethnography, and other arts-based critical research. We are deeply committed to publishing interdisciplinary qualitative work that engages postcolonial and transnational perspectives in both local and global contexts. To this end, DCQR seeks to publish critical and innovative qualitative work on contemporary political and social justice issues such as climate change, food insecurity, the refugee crisis, #BlackLivesMatter, #metoo, immigration, DACA, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, among others. We actively solicit and invite participation from minority, international, women of color, and immigrant scholars who are doing innovative, poetic, autoethnographic, decolonial, fictional, and other creative work from their various contexts, positions, and locations. We welcome and encourage informal queries.