Natchee Barnd is a comparative and critical ethnic studies scholar and Associate Professor in the Ethnic Studies program at Oregon State University, the author of Native Space: Indigenous Strategies to Unsettle Settler Colonialism, and new Editor of UC Press’s journal Ethnic Studies Review. In this post, we sit down with Dr. Barnd to talk about his work and plans for the journal.

UC Press: Welcome to the helm of Ethnic Studies Review!

Ethnic Studies Review Editor Natchee Barnd

NB: Thank you so much. I am excited and humbled to serve in this capacity. We hope to start a bold and new direction for the journal, and to create a valuable resource for those engaged in Ethnic Studies and Indigenous Studies, and larger efforts of social justice.

UC Press: Ethnic Studies Review is the official journal of the Association for Ethnic Studies—the “oldest ethnic studies association in the United States”—and your annual meeting is scheduled for the fall. What’s happening at the meeting this year?

NB: This year’s meeting will be hosted by Bowling Green State University in Ohio, on November 5-6, 2021. The meeting will mark the 50th anniversary of Ethnic Studies at Bowling Green, one of the few programs east of the Mississippi. That program was headed by one of the founders of AES. So it will look back to our lineages for lessons, and with an eye on the “changing nature of activism in the 21st century.”

The organization is planning for an in-person meeting, but is also preparing for a digital format-—so I hope folks will register and share space together. This conference will be especially important since AES had paused their conference for a couple years, and there are no other comparative Ethnic Studies conferences out there right now.

From the journal’s perspective, the conference is a rich opportunity for identifying and recruiting potential submissions. So, we are excited to see what kinds of research, activism, roundtable discussions, and pedagogical conversations will take place this year. I expect to flip some of those presentations into published articles and journal contributions.

UC Press: You’ve been involved in a wide variety of research, writing, and activities coalescing around race, space, and indigenous geographies, and including a series of social justice tours of Corvallis, Oregon (home to Oregon State University). How did these social justice tours come about, and what do they involve?

NB: Thanks for asking about the tours. They actually offer a great example of what Ethnic Studies often looks like in practice, and remind me how much we often need to translate this work for those who lack familiarity but would absolutely fall in love with it if they knew more!

The tours came about as my way of teaching a research methods course. The tour is the major assignment for the course. It is a collaborative experience designed and led by the students. They conduct archival research and craft what I call speculative non-fiction narratives about people, places, and events from our community. The stories focus on Indigenous peoples, people of color, and LGBT experiences. We usually have an audience of 50 or more people with each tour, and these tours have been offered many dozens of times over the past several years. Each tour is unique. But, for each we produce a high-quality booklet of our stories that we give to our guests and then submit to the university and county archives.

There is so much to say about the project, so I am also happy to point folks toward my writings on the project which give more details and explain how to implement this kind of project in your own course or community.

“For the upcoming issue we have several timely reflections; on the dangers of conflating Arab and Muslim peoples, on the capitol insurrection, and on Martin Luther King’s legacy in the context of Black Lives Matter”

UC Press: Your first issue as Editor of ESR will be out this spring. What are some highlights of the issue?

NB: Well, I have been working intensely on this journal since 2018, so a number of our previous pieces have my fingerprints on them, just as our previous editor has his fingerprints on much of this upcoming issue. So, it is hard to divide it quite that neatly, but I do think the upcoming issue will offer another slice of the kind of work I am hoping we will continue to highlight and enhance. For the upcoming issue we have several timely reflections; on the dangers of conflating Arab and Muslim peoples, on the capitol insurrection, and on Martin Luther King’s legacy in the context of Black Lives Matter. We have a wonderful interview with Indigeneous Mexican actress and activist Yalitza Aparicio. Finally, we have three research articles tackling issues of ethnicity and race across the globe, in Nigeria, Myanmar, and France. These reflect our continued efforts to understand racialization and oppression in the global context and in circulation, while holding true to our need to address local conditions.

UC Press: Can you tell us more about your vision for the journal more generally? And what type of submissions would you like to see?

NB: I would like to see meaningful scholarship rooted in comparative Ethnic Studies and Indigenous Studies. My editorial team is also hard at work looking for ways to add other forms of knowledge-sharing, pedagogical guidance, and lively conversational opportunities. In short, we are looking to show the full depth and value of Ethnic Studies research, activism, community engagement, collaboration, and holistic ethics. We would love to see more art and poetry, more sound and audio, more creative work in all forms that further support and enliven the academic scholarship we will continue to publish. Really, we want this journal to be an important academic outlet as well as a venue that recognizes the wide range of often devalued activities Ethnic Studies that scholars engage in, and supports our continued growth. And if someone is not sure whether it fits, I invite them to just ask. I love having conversations with people to hear about their work and ideas. 

UC Press: Thank you, and best wishes for Ethnic Studies Review In 2021!

Ethnic Studies Review is the official publication of the Association for Ethnic Studies. From its inception, Ethnic Studies Review has provided a venue and forum for all interested in and committed to Ethnic Studies, and remains committed to this inclusivity. ESR is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary journal. As such, the journal publishes peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, commentary, and creative works by artists, educators, community leaders and organizations, independent scholars and researchers, on all aspects of Ethnic Studies. Topics and subjects addressed by the journal include, but not limited to social movements, migration, media and communication, and issues of importance to disparate communities.