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SQIP Podcast #1: Michelle Fine and Zenobia Morrill on Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR)

SQIP Episode 1 with Michelle Fine on Critical Participatory Action Research

This fascinating discussion with Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Critical Psychology at CUNY, marks the first episode of SQIP’s podcast series with distinguished qualitative researchers. This podcast series, a new initiative directed by student members of SQIP, features interviews with qualitative researchers about specific qualitative methods, their philosophies, and the realities of their application and implementation. Graduate students and early career professionals with interest and curiosity about these methods are invited to conduct an interview with a distinguished researcher who has pioneered or been actively involved in a particular qualitative approach. Then, the podcasts are uploaded here for the learning and enjoyment of others!

We are pleased to launch our very first episode wherein Michelle Fine is interviewed by SQIP student representative and third-year doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Zenobia Morrill. In this episode, Michelle Fine delves into her personal history and the influences that shaped her passionate pursuit to define work in Critical Participatory Action Researcher (CPAR). Dr. Fine describes CPAR beautifully when she states that it involves the methodological process and philosophy of “telling the story of injustice from the point of view of those who have been most excluded,” most critically wounded by it, and who, subsequently, have the most astute analysis of it. It uniquely poses the following question:

  1. Who has expertise?

  2. Who gets to produce knowledge?

  3. Who has legitimacy?

  4. Who owns the material we have to offer?

As Dr. Fine says in this interview, CPAR asks: “Who is most wounded, and carries the silences, the loss, the critique…and can we bring that wisdom to the table to center research questions without just flattening the circuits that connect them to everything else that’s going on around them?”

She continues to elaborate on the primary commitments of CPAR, the epistemologies that guide it, methodological pluralism, and the trials and challenges she has faced in her endeavor to inclusively engage collaboration. The work she has done alongside Muslim American youth, school push outs, New Jersey students researching the racial/class/disability impact of high stakes testing, the impact of college on women in prison (and then out), the children of women and men in prison, the consequences of restorative justice in schools and beyond, the struggles and gifts of foster youth at CUNY, young women with disabilities navigating academia and activism, and LGBTQ youth of color, has received national and international recognition.

To learn more about CPAR and the public science project, go to

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