Originally circulated May 9, 2022
We, the Advisory Board of SMFS, in every respect condemn the recent online harassment of Dr. Mary Rambaran-Olm (@ISASaxonists).There is no room for race-policing or misogynoir–as these attacks are clearly misogyny in action and undermine the intersectional field of medieval studies we aim to cultivate. As an intersectional feminist community, we deeply respect and value Dr. Rambaran-Olm’s expertise, experience, and activism. She is dedicated to anti-racist work and the mentoring of graduate students and early career scholars of all backgrounds. She has strongly advocated for survivors of sexual harrassment, and has done much to transform the profession at large. We reaffirm our support for Dr. Rambaran-Olm.
This is not the first time Dr. Rambaran-Olm has faced a wave of racist attacks (we encourage you to read our statement of support from 2019). These racist attacks, however, came from many directions, beginning with white or white-adjacent scholars, who attempted to discredit her review and scholarship, intimidate her into silence, and question her ethnic heritage and identity. Such attacks are not only harmful to Dr. Rambaran-Olm, but to all Black, Indigenous, people of color, both inside and outside academe, who also experience sexism, racism, and other forms of harassment and abuse. When our BIPOC colleagues are mocked, blocked, and harmed, we must intervene, provide crucial support to our colleagues, and hold perpetrators accountable.
Additionally, we co-sign and amplify the statement of support issued by the postmedieval editorial board found here, especially their reminder that “structural inequities, and ugly prejudice, pervade both academia and publishing. Dr. Rambaran-Olm’s scholarship and activism have made visible the latent power dynamics that structure medieval studies and crucially have made those dynamics available for critique and contestation.” As an organization, we will continue to defend, protect, and mobilize efforts to build a stronger and safer space for marginalized people.
The SMFS Advisory Board