Executive Director and Associate Director Appointed
On Nov. 16, 2021, the Anti-Black Racism Initiatives (ABRI) Project Team and the Provost’s Office at Arcadia University announced the establishment of the Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action. The organization is led by Dr. Christopher Allen Varlack (Executive Director) and Dr. Favian Martin (Associate Director).
Shaped in part by the Anti-Black Racism Initiatives (ABRI) at Arcadia University, the Center has three core goals that it aims to achieve in its efforts to become a leading advocate of antiracist thought and to act towards ensuring racial justice and equity. These goals include 1) pursuing research, 2) building community, and 3) providing resources.
Because the cultures of racism and white supremacy are intersecting and constantly evolving, a central goal of CASAA is to promote the development of scholarship—through an intersectional lens—that contributes to our understanding of race, racism, and antiracism in the past as well as in the contemporary world. CASAA defines scholarship broadly to include discovery, artistic expression, and application. In this pursuit, CASAA will:
- Promote University-wide scholarship related to better understanding racism and antiracist practices.
- Support scholar-advocates’ existing and developing research projects that are related to better understanding contemporary and historical forms of racism, how notions of white supremacy create racism, and other similar foci.
- Encourage community-engaged and action-oriented scholarship as well as research that will lead to the creation of curricula for understanding racism and antiracism.
- Develop, implement, and evaluate best practices for antiracist advocacy and action.
CASAA will foster relationships within and across disciplines, institutions, and communities to generate diverse coalitions. This will involve engagement with colleagues and communities for the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based resources and through advocacy and action efforts. CASAA will:
- Promote and enable the development of diverse coalitions and, by doing so, serve as a model for unifying efforts.
- Be a space that actively engages the insights of those traditionally marginalized and disenfranchised in these important conversations.
- Work with community members to advocate for reform and action to combat racism and promote racial equity.
- Work collaboratively with the community, including colleagues and stakeholders both inside and outside of the University, to develop, test, and implement evidence-based antiracist practices.
CASAA will cultivate a culture of professional and personal learning by providing access to communities of practice, training, conferences, and presentations, some of which will be the outcome of our scholar-advocates’ research. In collaboration with other units on and off campus, CASAA will also create an interdisciplinary repository of resources for faculty, staff, students, and the public that addresses racism, outlines best practices for building racial equity, and shapes an ethic of care. CASAA will:
- Provide funding, grant-writing support and information, and collaborative spaces that support antiracist scholarship, action, and advocacy.
- Support existing faculty and staff scholarly and applied projects by providing opportunities for research dissemination and connecting faculty and staff with networks.
- Provide personal learning opportunities for faculty and staff to 1) increase awareness of positionalities, power, and privilege; 2) increase knowledge of the multifaceted effects of systemic racism; and 3) develop antiracist strategies and practices.
- Support faculty and staff in the development of antiracist, interdisciplinary, and inclusive curricula and pedagogy.
CASAA Programs and Initiatives
Part of the vision for the Center is to offer innovative and thought-provoking programming/initiatives to the members of the Arcadia community and beyond in order to deepen our collective understanding of the systems of racism and the efforts toward building racial equity in the modern world. Through sustained, research-based dialogue and opportunities to support the work of scholar-advocates, both at the University and within the community, we aim to be a catalyst for change.
Promoting interactive conversations on race matters, across time and across the globe, is essential to our mission of fostering a culture of open yet challenging dialogue. CASAA Conversations—a monthly moderated discussion on race, racism, white supremacy, and social justice—is open to all Arcadia students, staff, and faculty.
CASAA Race Matters Forum
Part of the founding mission of CASAA is to create a space in which scholar-advocates from Arcadia University and the local community can engage in critical conversation about issues of race, racism, and racial inequity. We achieve this in part through the CASAA Race Matters Forum, which will promote the exchange of research and perspectives on race.
CASAA Microgrants Program
The CASAA mission includes directly supporting research on race, racism, and antiracism in the past as well as the contemporary world. The CASAA Microgrants Program, which launched in Spring 2022, provides opportunities for faculty and staff to pursue, polish, and present their scholarship with targeted financial support.
Spreading awareness, stimulates conversation, and unlocks the door to systemic change.
Through effective leadership, CASAA promotes research as a gateway to advocacy and antiracist action. Under the leadership of our Founding Executive Director and Associate Director, the CASAA provides a platform to bring together diverse minds across the world to conduct research and develop antiracist practices.
CASAA Advisory Councils
The leadership of the Center is supported by the invaluable work of the CASAA Advisory Councils, which offer guidance and support as we work to achieve the goals established for the Center.
CASAA-Arcadia Advisory Council
The first tier of the CASAA Advisory Council includes faculty, staff, and administration across Arcadia University who will offer expertise in shaping the future of CASAA. The group will stimulate research, programming, and the promotion of faculty scholarship.
CASAA-Community Advisory Council
The second tier of the CASAA Advisory Council includes community leaders, center directors, and philanthropists, all of whom will help building CASAA networks/collaborations, seek funding and donor support for the sustainability of the Center, and guide Center activities.
Fostering Collaborations and Critical Commentary on Antiracism and Social Justice Today
CASAA is dedicated to fostering strong community partnerships, collaborations with other units on the Arcadia University campus, and relationships with organizations/institutions doing important working in antiracist scholarship, social justice, advocacy, and action. Follow us for exciting updates about our programming, research-in-progress, and more.