Introducing the Race and Racism Sub Group

Following the first virtual conference of the CIS Network, Dr. Chrystal George Mwangi and Dr. Kumari Beck volunteered to convene a sub-group on race and racism within the context of critical internationalization studies.

The group was convened for a first meeting on October 26th, where some 28 members of the network showed up! The main purpose of this meeting was to generate ideas for what members of this sub-group wanted to accomplish, how often they wanted to meet, and what they wanted to do at meetings. Both Dr. George Mwangi and Dr. Beck emphasized the idea of a ‘flat’ group, which organized more as a cooperative or a collective rather than a hierarchical, or ‘leader’ based one. Their role was to bring everyone together and take care of logistics. Dr. Christina Yao also volunteered to participate in this facilitator capacity.

On December 1, our group met again to discuss the constructs of race and racism, specifically how we define these terms, what informs the way we think about them, and similarities and differences across our country contexts. We didn’t expect to develop a common definition of race or racism; however, it was important that we not assume as a group that we’re looking at these terms in the same way, and to co-develop some common ground for the group broadly in order to work together moving forward. We also developed a shared folder for group members to drop in journal articles, media pieces, or any other relevant materials about race and racism within specific countries, regions, or globally.

After checking in with the group about how often we’d like to continue coming together, we scheduled a few dates for 2021 monthly meetings:

  • Wednesday, January 6, 2021
  • Thursday, February 4, 2021
  • Friday, March 5, 2021

Future meetings will focus on learning from one another about theoretical frameworks employed to research and discuss race, methodological approaches for research, opportunities to collaborate politically and across regions and countries, seeing commonalities of issues and approaches to address them, establishing a community of practice, and in general, valuing the richness of diversity that everyone brings to the space.

If you are interested in joining our group, please complete this interest form: We’ll add you to our mailing list, send you the Zoom link and times for meetings, and add you to our shared resources folder. 

Authors: Dr. Kumari Beck, Dr. Chrystal George Mwangi, and Dr. Christina Yao

Kumari Beck, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Co-Director for the Centre for Research on International Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her research focuses on university internationalization including student, faculty, staff and administrator experiences. She is Editor for 
Comparative and International Education, the journal of the Comparative and International Education Society of Canada. 

Chrystal A. George Mwangi, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her scholarship centers on (1) structures of opportunity and inequity impacting trajectories of minoritized students into and through college; (2) higher education internationalization and the use of higher education as a tool for international mobility/migration; (3) African and African Diaspora populations in higher education, emphasizing the impact of race, racism and coloniality. Dr. George Mwangi was a recipient of NAFSA’s Innovative Research in International Education award and is an Associate Editor for the 
Journal for Diversity in Higher Education.

Christina W. Yao, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Program Coordinator for the Higher Education and Student Affairs Master’s program at the University of South Carolina. She is a qualitative researcher who primarily studies student engagement and learning in higher education. She operationalizes her research focus through three connected topical areas, including: international student mobility, scholar-practitioner preparation, and transnational education.

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