Racism, Resistance, and Remembering: A Trail across the American South
In this photographic voyage across the American south, Victor explores America’s history of slavery and racism.
We, the editorial team, welcome you to the 2022 online edition of The Scholar.
This year’s publication centres “Place” as the area of interdisciplinary inquiry amongst our scholars and alumni. As we emerge from mandatory quarantines and mask mandates and as we grapple with new and continuing wars, we have come to realise that our sense of place has radically shifted in embodied, communal, and environmental ways. The breadth of conversations included in this edition complicates what Community, Physical Space, the Body, and Home can mean and their importance in helping us formulate a sense of “Place”. We tackle “Place” through these sub-themes as we redefine what it means for each of us to live in and relate to the world around us and within us.
Our team felt it necessary to engage in multimodal storytelling, a first for The Scholar, to honour the virtual realities we all have become proficient in navigating and to acknowledge the complexity of how we understand and represent “Place”. We sought to include scholars from a variety of disciplines and encouraged them to play with form in their pieces. As a result, we are proud to showcase many firsts for this magazine: the first scholar commentary videos, the first inclusion of a scholar podcast, and the first inclusion of scholar poetry. Current scholars and alumni have also submitted compelling photo essays and articles addressing our theme of “Place” and its sub-themes.
While we have organised this magazine by sub-theme, many of these contributions address more than one of the categories. This serves as a reminder that community, physical space, the body, and home can be co-constructive of each other and of our sense of “Place”. Iryna Shuvalova’s poetry and commentary, focused on the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, viscerally illustrate the impossibility of disentangling these phenomena in the context of war and trauma. Victor Roy shares a photo essay exploring community through the physical remnants of the enslavement and segregation of African Americans in the southern United States. Madeleine Ary Hahne’s first-person essay on air conditioning in Abu Dhabi highlights the bodily experiences of a rapidly heating environment and argues that Abu Dhabi shows us how imperative it is to centre equity as we adapt physical spaces to impending climate change. Sabrina Anjara complicates our notions of the body and identity through her video on meta-identity and living life through virtual spaces and communities. Adaiah Hudgins-Lopez, Meena Venkataramanan, and Jillian Sprenger engage in cross-disciplinary discussion on migration and “Place” in a podcast that reveals how (im)migrant experiences challenge how we define and articulate community, physical space, the body, and home.
As Gates Cambridge Scholars, we are also redefining “Place” for our own community and how we relate to the world. Our current Council President and Vice President, Ariel de Fauconberg and Anwesha Lahiri, discuss the Gates Cambridge community and our activities over the past year in the Presidents’ Letter. Anna Guasco, Emma Soneson, and Shalom Henderson describe the significance of the Gates Teach-a-Thon as an enduring part of our commitment to serving others. Our alumni are also a key part of this conversation. The Co-Presidents of the Gates Cambridge Alumni Association (GCAA) reflect on their work to bring our community together and what expanding our reach may look like over the next fifteen years. Additionally, we caught up with Simone Haysom to hear about her work on transnational environmental crime, her conceptions of “Place”, and how her experience as a Gates Cambridge Scholar shaped her trajectory. Our alumni continue to accomplish a great deal while contributing to their communities all over the world. We celebrate them and their achievements in Alumni Updates.
This edition of The Scholar is exploratory. It does not give definitive answers, but, instead, poses questions and opens discussion. As we explore new questions, definitions, and modes to communicate our thoughts on “Place”, we invite you, the reader, to join us in this exciting journey. We would like to thank all of our contributors and The Gates Trust for making this diverse edition possible. We hope these discussions resonate and that you all will find inspiration as we did.
The Editorial Team