Agenda 26 January, 2023, 9pm-11pm UTC
Emma Kowal called the meeting to order at 9:05PM UTC.
ITEM 1 Greetings and Apologies
In attendance: Emma Kowal, Aneesh Aneesh, Vivian Choi, Anne Pollock, Shiv Issar, Vivette García-Deister, Chihyung Jeon, Vivian Choi, Lucy van de Wiel, Barkha Kagliwal (6S), Misria Shaik Ali (6S), Marko Monteiro, Yelena Gluzman, Gene Richardson, Zheng Li, Pouya Sepehr, Michal Nahman.
Special Attendance: Grant Otsuki and Aya Kimura 4S2023 Co-Chairs.
Apologies: Canay Özden-Schilling, Maka Suarez, Amanda Windle.
ITEM 2 Welcome and introductions for new council members
Emma thanks everyone for taking the time for the special meeting.
ITEM 3 Discussion of 4S 2023 in Honolulu
Three documents were circulated: (1) first document was prepared by executive council and conference co-chairs; (2) document on para-conference was prepared by 6S Representative Misria Shaik Ali; and (3) a final document sharing concerns and issues of hosting in Honolulu prepared by Murphy and Kristen Bos.
Aya Kimura and Grant Otsuki both reiterated their commitment to doing what it takes to make the conference happen and look forward to discussion and guidance from council.
Emma Kowal reminded everyone that the decision to have the conference in Honolulu was made two years ago with former 4S president Joan Fujimura as the local organizing committee chair – two years being fairly recent in terms of 4S’s conference sites. Conference sites have been decided through 2028. In light of this, Kowal stated that the goal for this meeting’s discussion is to affirm 4S’ investment and efforts to put in resources and time into particular actions for the conference. Kowal also says that another goal would be to learn from this experience as part of future conference planning and eventually develop a policy on conference planning.
Marko Monteiro said Honolulu will not be a unique instance and that this conference is an opportunity for 4S to become attuned to issues and concerns raised and to address big questions around colonialism, sovereignty. . . He suggested engaging with local leadership, scholars, Indigenous communities. This would be an opportunity to reflect on these issues, not just in the title or theme but in the working of the conference itself.
Kowal asked 6S Representative Misria Shaik Ali to discuss the Para-Conference Proposal. Shaik Ali also commented on how this is an opportunity to further think through future conference locations, citing a harm reduction approach. A harm reduction approach would also include creating networks of solidarity for environmental justice groups. And that is where the idea of the para-conference came from, in addition to inquiries from concerned graduate students. Inspired by Prof. Mike Fischer’s call in Cholula to create a living archive of the many conference papers and environmental justice work being done around the world. Considering the concerns about colonialism and environmental justice in Hawaii alongside Fischer’s comments, she proposed that the para-conference would be a space or an exhibit to gather all the EJ-related papers from the conference, including roundtables and Making and Doing for people to make connections and establish solidarity. Shaik Ali also explained how the para-conference comes from George Marcus’ notion of paraethnography.
Anne Pollock asked if there would be the possibility of public engagement with the exhibit or would it be more narrow? Shaik Ali thought opening to the public would be a great idea especially inviting local EJ groups and that coordinating with Kimura and Fujimura for local groups would be most helpful. Kimura agreed that inviting the public and local groups is a good idea and a larger local committee will be put together. Kimura also mentioned that there are local groups with transnational solidarity working on water contamination on American bases. Grant suggested local school programming as well. Shaik Ali inquired as to how to collect the various papers, automatically or through self-nominating. Kowal suggested that coordination happen ASAP and discussed different spatial possibilities at the convention center. Yelena Gluzman asked how might 4S make ourselves available, and to consider asking questions and being led by local groups and communities and then being accountable to them. And what would it mean to be less parasitic? Is the convention center the best space for that? How do we make meaningful connections? Kowal surmised that there are two groups for outreach: conference delegates and local communities/public. She suggested that Shaik Ali, Kimura, and Otsuki meet and discuss. Kimura is happy to liaise with local groups and figure out how to collaborate with 4S, donations may be preferred or even publicity and media attention around contamination issues. Gene Richardson shared that he used to live in Hawaii and pointed out that issues around decolonization, EJ, and reparations are complicated and multifaceted, meaning different things to different people. Richardson shared that he also has friends working in governmental and legal positions who are allies and could help. Lucy van de Wiel recalled that in New Orleans there was a reproductive justice talk by a local organization and that the conference could be a space to amplify voices and to create more of a back and forth relation than an extractive one. Kowal reiterated that doing so requires outreach to conference delegates. She referred to one of the documents which highlighted the potential role of Kamanamaikalani Beamer, a professor and colleague of Kimura’s. He could be a potential keynote speaker or part of a keynote panel. Kowal called for any more comments. Aneesh adds that sovereignty needs to be considered carefully given its complexity and its potential co-option by nativist movements. Michal Nahman added that it could be nice to have a keynote or panel on EJ with local groups and others across the world, to share conversations that are already happening (for example Palestine), with the type of nuance and attention to the complexities Aneesh discussed. Kowal closed the conversation by saying that based on the discussion that Council has endorsed various measures and ideas brought up in the documents circulated. Kimura said that with Council providing direction they will try to turn the conversation into practice working with the History department and Fujimura’s local organizing committee. Otsuki said it was nice to see how many people can help build connections, with the conference and people in Hawaii and he has much to consider as conference co-chair and sees that the conference will be a condensed and intense time with interruptions such as the Para-conference to interrupt or create a jumping off point and he is happy to support these potential activities. Emma Kowal moved to voting on Council’s endorsement of the conference and its commitment to support the social and environmental justice struggles of Kanaka Maoli. Some discussion ensued to tweak the endorsement, Lucy van de Wiel asked for clarification about the statement and where it might be. Kowal clarified that it will be shared in Technoscience. It won’t be on the conference website which will open soon, and there will be a specific section on EJ and travel to Hawaii. Otsuki shares the new conference theme to also think with the endorsement statement.
VOTE: The motion to approve 4S Council’s affirmation of the 2023 Honolulu conference and commit to action that support the social and environmental justice struggles of Knaka Maoli/Native Hawaiian people was moved by Vivian Choi and seconded by Aneesh and approved (13) votes, with zero (0) against, and (0) abstention
Emma Kowal referred back to Garcia Deister’s questions regarding future conferences. Shaik Ali quickly asked for approval for the Para-conference so she can get started on organizing. Emma Kowal expressed her excitement for it. Shaik Ali is happy to hear it. Otsuki also expressed excitement to work with Shaik Ali. Kimura also reiterated looking forward to working with Shaik Ali and appreciated the discussion. She and Grant left meeting to continue with their own discussion. Kowal went back to discussion about future conferences and deferred developing a policy to February’s Council meeting. Garcia Deister asked if there was a site selection committee already. Kowal responded that the Executive Committee is the selection committee, though the next 5 years of conference sites have already been decided. Kagliwal asked if there is a policy about when the conference is held. Asked what decisions are made, by whom, and who benefits from the timing. Kagliwal also asked about whether there would be a policy about making the conference hybrid. Kowal responded that she had raised these questions with Council in the past and this will be a good time to recirculate them, including spaces (convention centers versus universities).
ITEM 4: 4S/EASST 2024 conference in Amsterdam
Kowal segues to 2024 conference in Amsterdam which will be in July. Kowal will meet with Teun Zuiderent-Jerak who is the conference organizer. She shared the proposal by EASST. Further discussion was had about timing and how it would impact flight prices and lodging, especially an issue for students. Van de Wiel provided information and insight into Amsterdam and explained that the University is outside Amsterdam proper. The importance of more funding for graduate students was brought up by Aneesh and Gluzman. Choi shared that the 4S NSF travel grant was awarded and will receive $100,000 over 5 years ($20,000/yr). Pollock asked whether the NSF application to support early career or writing workshop would be submitted again. She also mentioned that in previous years, satellite conferences were organized due to prohibitive costs. Kagliwal also brought up 6S workshop and asked if they would happen again. Anne Pollock provided a brief synopsis of the 4S-funded writing workshop in Cholula. Garcia Deister was not at the workshop but did hear that it was successful in demystifying the publishing process. Pollock confirmed that NSF funding had been sought for a publishing workshop in Honolulu. Shaik Ali described the 6S mentoring workshops that happened all last year and culminated into a meeting in Cholula. Kowal suggested that 6S present a proposal to the next council meeting for any support needed for more mentoring activities.
Kowal then closes the meeting at 11:02PM UTC.