Doctoral Candidate Julio Covarrubias is in residence at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the 2019-2020 academic year as part of the Arnold L. Mitchem Dissertation Fellowship Program. The Mitchem Fellowship is a competitive national fellowship intended to increase the presence of underrepresented ethnic groups by supporting doctoral candidates in their final dissertation year with a stipend, benefits, research and travel funds, and a formal mentoring program.
Julio's dissertation explores "the ways in which race and colonial power(s) impact our commonsense, preconceptual, and everyday felt social experience." While his focus is on Latinxs, he proposes "that distinct harms accrue to Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples across three key social spheres: that of (i) our relationship to available forms of identification (racial, ethnic, national); (ii) our sexual and romantic relations with intimate others; and (iii) our relationship to our bodies in a racialized economic system." The upshot of this project is that "race and colonial power(s) shape more than the material distribution of public goods and rights—the concern of traditional political philosophy—but the very sociocultural backdrop that structures and makes possible the realization and recognition of particular human relations, projects, attachments, actions, and activities." As he puts it, "rather than rehashing the feminist slogan that the personal is already political, I am claiming that there is a form of intimate violence at the level of the social forms/lifeworlds we inhabit and which are shaped by colonial capitalist practices of accumulation and ethnocide: Racial oppression is not simply an economic, social, political, or personal condition, but an existential condition."
As part of the residency, Julio also has the opportunity to teach a course related to his research. He will be teaching a class titled "The Hidden Injuries of Race and Colonial Power," which he describes as follows:
"In the wake of the colonial violence that gave rise to modern racial systems, how do we and how ought we relate to each other? Centering the perspectives of the descendants of those whose lives and lifeworlds were disrupted or destroyed by the colonialism, slavery, and genocide that birthed the modern world, this class uses recent and classic texts to excavate what we will call the 'hidden injuries of race and colonial power'--the ways that racial violence makes its appearance in the most intimate spheres of social life. Possible topics of consideration will be: the ethics and politics of racial, ethnic, and national identities; of sex, love, desire, and friendship; of death, loss, and mourning; the racial politics of the body; of anger as a response to injustice; among other issues (topics may vary)."
Only 1-2 doctoral students each year are chosen for this fellowship. We are proud of Julio's achievements and look forward to the continued development of his innovative and important work.