The Engaged Gaze maintains a progressive community of scholars, activists, and individuals from all walks of life seeking to challenge and be challenged through engaged and respectful dialogue, observation, and critical reflection on all things politics & culture with the aim of creating a space that empowers its community to actively dismantle systemic injustice and inequality--one conversation at a time.
WHO WE ARE
The Engaged Gaze is a nonprofit, independent, feminist community dedicated to providing and encouraging an engaged, progressive, and active response to all things mainstream.
We seek to be an active and safe space for progressive voices looking to dialogue and organize, aware of the complex and often uncomfortable nature of dismantling privilege and taking on systemic injustice and inequality.
We are a diverse community made up of different voices, experiences, and identities working together to bring progressive thought to mainstream discussions.
We acknowledge that we are living through a critical moment in history--a moment that requires us to give, listen, challenge, and engage more when it comes to inequality, racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, privilege, power, and so much more.
We are not only a community that dialogues and grows with each other, but also a community that calls itself to action.
We are the resistance.
BECAUSE YOU ASKED
Why did you found The Engaged Gaze and what is its purpose?
Martha Cecilia: Because I was tired of writing for other academic blogs that claimed to be progressive when they could not even agree on basic civil rights. In a way, this space is an act of self-care for those I love who are out there every day in classrooms, philanthropy, politics, and family dinner tables working their souls to the ground resisting.
Also, I have a dissertation to avoid writing.
Sara: Well I suppose the simple answer is that when Marci brought the idea to me, I jumped on it because I was so excited to collaborate with her and John! But I’m also excited to be a part of a space where challenging, kind, thoughtful, and when necessary, uncomfortable engagement is an expectation, not an afterthought.
John: We founded The Engaged Gaze to create that space that we felt as both graduate students and activists both within and outside of the academy to be able to write about applicable issues and topics that were not usually covered by the academic blogs we were accustomed to both reading and writing for. The Engaged Gaze is the space for intersectional conversations to occur between both activists and academics alike to create a more active conversations on applicable issues we face everyday.
Why is the site called The Engaged Gaze?
Martha Cecilia: As a latina woman and first generation immigrant, I want to take back the narrative of living under the white patriarchal male gaze. I want to dialogue with others who are informed, engaged, supportive, and active. I want to challenge the unbalanced power dynamics I see in every aspect of American life--creating space for a more informed, creative, and effective dialogue among scholars and activists. The Engaged Gaze did not take their mission statement lightly. I want to always be able to point back to who we are and say, “We have stayed true to what we set out to do and the voices we wanted to highlight.”
Sara: Recently, I’ve begun to feel like I live in an echo chamber of ideas. I’ve surrounded myself with people who generally hold the same beliefs as I do, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, it has created an environment in which I do not ask the question “why?” nearly as often as I should. Engagement requires critical thinking, it requires examining our culture and our points of view relentlessly, thus The Engaged Gaze.
John: We decided to call it The Engaged Gaze to signify the need to be constantly vigilant on the media and other major sources of information we consume each day. We need to stay not only academically engaged but also in the streets and in community groups in our respectives spheres.
What do you hope to accomplish with the site?
Martha Cecilia: My hope is to have a safe, varied, progressive, and engaged community that not only writes at The Engaged Gaze, but takes that writing and their voice and uses it to create action about the issues they are passionate about with the support of this community.
Sara: I echo Marci and John in their visions. I also hope that this space can inspire people to think about political, cultural, and religious issues in a more complex way.
John: I really hope we can provide a space for new, emerging, and current scholars of various disciplines to be able to freely express views on a variety of topics not normally covered by traditional academic and activist blogs.
What makes The Engaged Gaze different from every other blog/website available today?
Martha Cecilia: My hope is to not only share the many voices and points of the resistance, highlighting both intersectional activism and academic study, but to also have varied approaches to discuss everything from politics to sex. I have always been more interested in conversations that look at our own “pop-culture” and lived experiences to break down heavier topics into the conversations we have everyday in language and narratives we all know and navigate.
Sara: Well, I have to confess that I often passively consume information, especially the information I read on websites and blogs. I don’t actively engage with them, and I hope that this website is different -- I hope that it will inspire people who read our blog to actively engage in the conversation both online with us, and offline with their own circles.
John: A lot of the blogs that I have written for or been a part of like to create a specific niche of the particular subjects it was investigating; although I do not want The Engaged Gaze to be overly broad, I hope The Engaged Gaze gives a voice to the non-traditional blogger to be able to submit and have their voice and point of view be heard and interacted with via our readers.
If you had to describe The Engaged Gaze in one word, what would it be?
Martha Cecilia: Transgressive.