We explore issues of social privilege, oppression, and positionality to identify inequities and opportunities for meaningful action.
We strive to incorporate social justice activism into our endeavors as clinicians, researchers, and community members.
We are committed to approaching our work through the lens of decoloniality and investigating the role of coloniality in our scholarship, professional work, and personal lives.
- We assert that the contemporary system of privilege and oppression are rooted in a colonial mentality resulting from history colonization. We encourage the cultivation of a critical consciousness of the colonial legacy in clinical psychology. We believe that collaboration and explicit power acknowledgment is a form of liberation.
- We assert that oppression and privilege are two sides of the same coin (Goodman, 2015) and are interdependent in nature. We observe a tendency for psychology education to emphasize the experience of oppression versus the ownership of socially-conferred privilege. Using the ADDRESSING model (Hays, 2016), we assume that most individuals have experienced both sides of the coin. When facing issues of oppression, we ask “who benefits” in order to discern our own privilege.
- We explore the forms of dysconsciousness, defined as “uncritical habits of mind that justifies inequity and exploitation by accepting the existing order of things as given” (King, 1991, p. 135). We are committed to articulating the various forms of dysconsciousness using a multidisciplinary approach.
- We strive to take a developmental approach to privilege awareness, acknowledging that understanding the interplay of oppression/privilege, and its impact on our own lives and relationships, is an ongoing process. In addition, we attempt to balance a sense of empathy for this process while also insisting that it is the responsibility of those of us with privilege to address oppression.
- We promote an educational model of ally-advocate-activist (Melton, 2018) that pushes the field of clinical psychology to challenge the current medical model and address the systemic inequities that often contribute to individual psychological suffering.
- Goodman, D. J. (2015). Oppression and privilege: Two sides of the same coin. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 18, 1-14.
- Hays, P. A. (2016). Addressing cultural complexities in practice: Assessment, diagnosis, and therapy (3rd ed.). American Psychological Association.
- King, J. E. (1991). Dysconscious racism: Ideology, identity, and the miseducation teachers. Journal of Negro Education, 60(2), 133–146. https://doi.org/10.2307/2295605
- Melton, M. (2018). Ally, Activist, Advocate: Addressing roles complexity for the multiculturally competent psychologist. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 49, 83-89.
The Decoloniality and Social Privilege Awareness Institute began in 2017 with a qualitative research project constructing a developmental model of privilege awareness headed up by Dr. Bergkamp in collaboration with two committed doctoral students, Lindsay Olson and Abi Martin. Interest in this project drew students from incoming cohorts and resulted in two additional projects exploring citizenship privilege and the role of privilege in psychotherapy. Newer projects include decolonization of doctoral psychology curriculum, privilege in social media, experiences of South Asian Diaspora, and clinical implications of immigration law. This, again, drew further interest with our current membership of around a dozen students. Our members represent a wide diversity of agent and target ranks as well as unique backgrounds. The group also serves as a dissertation incubation lab, providing support to over half a dozen projects so far. In addition, we recently welcomed Dr. Melissa Kennedy, with her passion for decolonial perspectives.
Our group has engaged in a variety of activities that expand scholarly research, writing, and presenting. These include advocacy and activism work addressing the oppression of Sikh farmers in India and the financial compensation for BIPOC faculty teaching diversity/social justice courses. In addition, Dr. Bergkamp serves as a faculty coordinator of two groups for doctoral BIPOC students. He also consults with doctoral programs across the country regarding the infusion of social justice throughout the curriculum. We collaborate with other researchers both inside and outside of Antioch. Our main partners from Antioch New England, are Drs. Kate Evarts Rice and Dean Hammer.
Guided by our principles, groups usually focus on member’s lived experience of their social privilege, using our academic study to interpret and increase our shared awareness. We discuss current events and political movements with a decolonial lens. We interrogate our chosen field, untangling the legacy of coloniality. We collaborate on research projects, emphasizing collaboration and influences from the margins. Our influences include feminist psychology, liberation psychology, indigeous psychologies, critical-race theory, intersectionality theory, cross-cultural psychiatry, Power-Threat-Meaning framework, among many others. We review research and share resources and ideas that can inform our projects. And we offer mutual support across membership.
Our group is open to new members who have ideas for new projects or a willingness to join projects currently in conceptualization or active data collection stages. We usually meet Thursdays from 10-noon PST.