P R E F A C E
Critical Ethnic Studies Editorial Collective:
nada elia, david M. hernández, jodi kim, shana l. redmond,
dylan rodríguez, and sarita echavez see
The canvas is dripping with blood. The abstraction suggests a decolonization with-
out guarantees, meaning its goals, strategies, and imaginings of alternative futuri-
ties in multiple sites and scales are unpredictable, contingent, and stubbornly dif-
ficult. The corporeality of blood, on the other hand, makes concrete decolonization
a proj ect that is urgent, agonistic, and structured by vio lence. This dialectic of de-
colonization is also evoked by what is rendered in black— billowing featheriness
versus piercing bolts of lightning.
Critical ethnic studies is a proj ect saturated with the pasts of our making and
the expectations for our futures yet to come. Our efforts to render that proj-
ect here is, like the painting Decolonized by the Puerto Rican– born artist So-
phia Maldonado, a narrative that is not singular but part of a larger oeuvre of
thought that is instructive but not exhaustive. This anthology might be read
as emblematic of a time, a place, and a group, but we encourage readers to
consider it a meditation rather than a symbol. As such we begin with our
meditations on this collection— filtered through Maldonado’s art— which
urges us not merely to write and think about but also to see, smell, and feel
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