One of UCRF’s goals is to create an ‘activist knowledge ecology’, and as part of this we wish to to also acknowledge the ‘path breakers’ of our field. However, while it is tempting to “stand on the shoulders of giants,” we also want to stand, sit and lie down elsewhere, and in so doing acknowledge the multitude of ways sustainability in fashion must be studied and practised. The landscape of sustainability is rich and diverse, and UCRF wants to push for a variety of paths to experience and explore these vistas. We want to put special focus on marginalised and silenced voices and perspectives. If we only have an epistemic monoculture that cuts through the field, this will neither answer the many needs of diverse cultures nor the needs of the planet.
We need a multitude of paths and journeys led by local guides. And so UCRF is launching an initiative to acknowledge the many voices who have inspired and guided our collective work over many years.
In celebrating path breakers, we want to avoid the programmed tendency to have a reading list where men cite men about men, or NGOs and government agencies writing reports about other NGOs or government agencies. We want to challenge citation practices as a narrow reproductive technology of our field, centring the whole world around certain normative behaviours, bodies, cultures and consumption habits. This is what Sara Ahmed has pointed out as “Creating Feminist Paths”. In Living a Feminist Life, Ahmed points out; “Citation is how we acknowledge our debt to those who came before; those who helped us find our way when the way was obscured because we deviated from the paths we were told to follow.” (2017: 17)
We must cite accurate sources, but references and citations can also petrify a discipline. Acknowledging and establishing more inclusive genealogies is crucial for addressing a more diverse development of a field. Living and promoting a sustainable life must also mean performing pluralist and convivial academic practices.
To make your contribution to Path Breakers — Path Finders, write to the UCRF Board: email@example.com.