Focus Group Description
Student Faciliator: Rachael Anderson
Supervised by: Phillip Thurtle
During Spring 2015 quarter I would like to lead a focus group looking to people who have used their non-normative identities to navigate the dominant society. Identities are a part of how we grow, understand ourselves, understand each other, and participate in the world. The danger in how the multiplicity of identities work, is that some people are at high risk for blocks in their freedom of movement due to certain identities not conforming to larger systems. We live in a racist and sexist society but there are many examples of people who have fought for social justice in non-normative ways. An example of this can be found in Rude Mechanical Orchestra. They are a leaderless cooperative, preforming jubilant protest to oppression because of identities like queer, female, laborer, etc. It is groups like this, which will provide examples of the positive work we will be looking at. By using a method called desire-based reporting we will explore ways in which people can collaborate, using their identities in a community development mindset to make normal the idea that personhood being equal means a better life for (almost) all. Desire based reporting is an important lens because the purpose of this class is to not stop at the problem, but to find solutions. The ultimate goal is for participants to leave with a sense of how powerful the identities we carry are but to also have a richer set of tools in combatting hegemonic norms, which hinder a decent life.
Many mediums will be used including readings, videos, vidoeblogs, local music, documentaries, and podcasts. Themes will include identity, race, gender, power structures, self-understanding, group mentalities and the desire to see beyond oppression to empowerment.