Critical studies is a lens that transcends established academic disciplines to question the social, political and cultural practices that shape reality. To help Boise State faculty and students further their own critical studies research goals, John McClellan, an associate professor of communication has started the Critical Studies Research Community with support from the Division of Research and Economic Development and Albertsons Library.
“Every academic field of study has a different way of being critical,” said McClellan. “So we’re bringing that all together with a collaborative forum.”
This community offers a monthly opportunity for participants to meet and present research they are conducting (or are considering pursuing) to a panel of respondents and participants who offer constructive, personalized feedback. The goal of this community is to offer different perspectives from varied disciplines that will result in elevated critical studies, publications and outcomes, as well as build a community of support and collegiality. Interested faculty and graduate students are encouraged to join or simply attend meetings to see the thriving community at work.
McClellan, who collaborated with Gautum Basu Thakur, an associate professor of English, and David Gabbard, a professor of education, to launch Boise State’s critical theory minor in 2019, was motivated by the number of critically-oriented scholars at Boise State to create a community for faculty and graduate students to come together and collaborate. Inspired by a similar research cluster McClellan experienced while on sabbatical at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, he approached the Division of Research and Economic Development seeking to make this community a reality. There, he joined efforts with research development coordinator Jana LaRosa.
“I have never had a group come to me and ask to engage in this way,” said LaRosa. “It was really exciting to have interest, and to be able to work with a group of social science and humanities scholars. And when we put it out there, I was stunned by the response. We have at least 25 active participants.”
The growing community also received support from Albertsons library, which provides a set meeting room for participants every month to engage in discussion.
“I really appreciate how the Division of Research is helping to support us,” said McClellan. “And I think it’s important that the library is becoming a space where we can collaborate as faculty.”
The community is open to all faculty and graduate students who wish to either attend or present topics related to critical studies, and McClellan is eager to see the community continue to grow and bring together campus members around critical studies scholarship.