Gallego named Boldt Distinguished Teaching Professor, launches new podcast
As the new Boldt Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities, St. Olaf College Associate Professor of English Carlos Gallego is launching a podcast on antiracism theory and practice.
The Identity Paradox: Inside the Racial Pharmakon will feature Gallego’s expertise as well as conversations with other St. Olaf faculty members, scholars from other institutions, activists, journalists, and artists. The podcast is currently available on SoundCloud, and will be available on iTunes, Spotify, and Twitch, as well as other platforms in the future.
Gallego earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and his doctorate in English literature from Stanford University. His research interests include Chicanx studies, 20th century American literature, comparative ethnic studies, philosophy and critical theory, and cultural studies. His book Chicana/o Subjectivity and the Politics of Identity: Between Recognition and Revolution was published in 2011, and his most recent book, Dialectical Imaginaries: Materialist Approaches to U.S. Latino/a Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism (co-edited with Marcial González) was published in 2018. His current book project examines psychopathy and identitarianism in contemporary American culture.
The Boldt chair is a three-year appointment offered to a current St. Olaf faculty member whose scholarship and professional endeavors advance the teaching and learning of the humanities. Gallego took a moment to share what he hopes to accomplish through the podcast and his work as the Boldt Chair.
What will the podcast focus on?
The primary focus of the podcast is to engage critically with antiracism as both a theory and a practice across various disciplines in the humanities and beyond. Not only is this meant to complement the college’s ongoing efforts to address antiracism through training, but it also offers an opportunity to highlight faculty, students, activists, artists, and community leaders whose work directly or peripherally addresses this complex topic. My hope is that, by engaging various disciplines in the humanities (as well as related disciplines “beyond” the humanities), listeners will become better acquainted with the wide range of antiracist ideas and practices that have been established throughout various cultures around the world for centuries.
My hope is that, by engaging various disciplines in the humanities (as well as related disciplines “beyond” the humanities), listeners will become better acquainted with the wide range of antiracist ideas and practices that have been established throughout various cultures around the world for centuries.
Exploring the complex dialectic between racism and antiracism from antiquity to the 21st century allows for a deeper understanding of the different intellectual, cultural, and national traditions and historical practices that inform our contemporary knowledge, demonstrating that there is no one “correct” approach to antiracism, a fact that history has confirmed as true. We know that a model that is implemented in one place at a specific moment in time may not have the same success elsewhere or during a different historical moment; and yet, sometimes a model does prove successful. In exploring this truism, we hope to highlight efforts and ideas that have proven successful in promoting an understanding of antiracism that still applies — and can prove useful — to our contemporary moment, perhaps even ideas and practices that may not be that well-known outside specific disciplines or cultures.
Will each episode of the podcast feature a guest?
Not every episode will feature a guest, but I do hope to have at least one guest per month. My intention is to have two episodes a month, one featuring a guest and another with just myself (and possibly help from a co-host) that would focus on a particular text or theme.
There will be plenty of St. Olaf guests, including faculty, staff, and maybe even students and alumni. However, I will also feature other guests who are non-St. Olaf affiliated but doing important work around the general concept of antiracism. I’m hopeful that hosting a wide range of participants — including artists, journalists, independent researchers, and educators — will reflect the scope and complexity of antiracist theory and practice.
Can you provide a few examples of upcoming topics?
The first episode is already available (readers can access it through theidentityparadox.com, which includes useful episode notes and links). It’s an interview with St. Olaf Visiting Assistant Professor of German Adrienne Merritt, in which we discuss her work with Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures, “an arts/research collective that uses this website as a workspace for collaborations around different kinds of artistic, pedagogical, cartographic, and relational experiments that aim to identify and de-activate colonial habits of being, and to gesture towards the possibility of decolonial futures.” It’s a great project and Adrienne does a wonderful job of explaining the main concepts behind such collaborative endeavors. Future episodes will also — hopefully — feature interviews with leaders on the frontlines of the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the more local fight against Line 3 here in what we call Minnesota. That’s just for this summer!
Is this geared toward faculty colleagues and peers, or a more general audience?
I’m hoping that the format — including the website, the attached notes to each episode (that will include definitions and resources), links, and lots of explanations during the episode — will be inviting to a general audience without sounding elementary to faculty colleagues who are experts in some of these areas. I realize going into this project that this will be a difficult balance to achieve, but that’s my aim.