In summer 2019, the field of communication studies imploded, owing largely to a controversy surrounding the yearly Distinguished Scholar Award presented by the National Communication Association (NCA). Of the 80 awardees from the past three decades, only one was an academic of color. My field was a few decades delayed in its rage over this obvious display of structural racism and bigotry, but the rage was overwhelmingly welcomed. As a card-carrying member, I offered to open one issue of Departures in Critical Qualitative Research (DCQR) for a special issue on “Merit, Whiteness, and Privilege” in communication studies and related disciplines. Thanks to the concerted efforts of three guest editors and the editorial team, we showcased a thought-provoking, radical, and rigorous special issue (DCQR 8.4). We received so many thoughtful contributions that we decided to run a partial issue on the same subject in the subsequent issue (DCQR 9.1).
As expected, the NCA annual convention, which takes place in mid-November each year, was much anticipated. After an intensely conflict-ridden summer, with much of the rage playing out on the NCA listserv (CRTNET) and on social media, professors on both sides of the controversy were going to be present, in person, in Baltimore, MD. For many, the 2019 NCA convention was business as usual, for others it was exclusionary as usual, but there were moments of solidarity and episodes of resistance and transformation. One such moment occurred during the Organizational Communication Division's Top Paper Panel. In response to what was described as a shockingly insensitive panel respondent, most panelists and many audience members chose to perform a walkout. Given that organizational communication is an important subfield in communication studies, the matter was once again publicized and debated across various social media platforms.
Immediately after the conference, Jenna N. Hanchey, one of the Top Paper Panel's authors, wrote to ask if she could propose a Critical Intervention forum wherein she and her co-panelists, as well as members of the audience, could engage their experiences of that particular conference moment. They were eager to write “a response to the response” as a form of performative resistance, in this/their ethnographic present. I requested a proposal, which we reviewed, and which I accepted in December 2019. So, in this issue (DCQR 9.2), we present to you, as a continuation of last summer's conversations, an “extra-ordinary” Critical Intervention forum: “No Time for Intersectionality Like the Present: A Response to the 2019 National Communication Association Organizational Communication Division's Top Paper Panel.” We showcase it in a spirit of solidarity with our academic comrades across disciplines who are engaged in the arduous task of courageously resisting to transform and decolonize their fields.