This talk investigates the benefits and burdens of positionality, or the disclosure of how an author’s racial, gender, class, or other self-identifications, experiences, and privileges influence research methods. A statement of positionality in a research article can enhance the validity of its empirical data and its theoretical contribution. However, such self-disclosure puts scholars in a vulnerable position, and those most likely to reveal how their positionality shapes their research are women, ethnic minorities, or both. At this stage of the field’s methodological development, the burdens of positionality are being carried unevenly by a tiny minority of researchers. Drawing in part on my own empirical research and professional experience, this talk invites scholars to redress this imbalance by embracing expressions of positionality.
Mark Fathi Massoud is Professor of Politics and Director of the Legal Studies Program at UCSC. He is the author of two books that address the interplay of law, politics, and religion. Law’s Fragile State (Cambridge University Press 2013) won awards from the American Political Science Association and the Law and Society Association. Shari’a, Inshallah (Cambridge University Press 2021) won awards from the Socio-Legal Studies Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, and was a finalist for the PROSE Award for the best book in government and politics published last year, from the Association of American Publishers. He is currently editing a volume on positionality.
Venue | Location
Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz
Free and open to the public