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Multiply Marginalized & Underrepresented Scholars: MMU Scholars

This guide explains who Multiply Marginalized and Underrepresented (MMU) Scholars are, how and why you should incorporate these scholars into your own research, and provides you with some tips and places to start when searching for work by MMU scholars.

Special Thanks

This guide was made in collaboration with the USU Department of English. We want to give special thanks to Cree Taylor, Cana Itchuaqiyaq, and Rachel Quistberg for their help in creating this guide. Their input proved to be invaluable as they shared expertise, resources, and vocabulary that helped frame the content of this guide.

Who are MMU Scholars?

MMU stands for multiply marginalized and underrepresented. An MMU scholar is a scholar who identifies as part of a group or multiple groups that are frequently marginalized in their field of study. To better understand who identifies as MMU scholars, let’s break the term down word by word.

Multiply

People have multiple identities that influence their perspectives. Rather than existing as separate bubbles, our identities and perspectives overlap and influence each other forming a whole person. Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw developed the term “intersectionality” to capture this idea.

gender identity, class, education, (dis)ability, sexuality, religion, nationality, political views, age, race & ethnicity

Multiply recognizes that scholars often have numerous intersecting identities.

Marginalized

The experience of being marginalized is the social process of being confined or relegated to a lower or outer edge of mainstream society, thus preventing individuals and groups from full participation in cultural, social, economic, and political life enjoyed by dominant society.

Some groups that have been marginalized include People of Color, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, as well as many more.

Underrepresented

Underrepresentation occurs because scholars are insufficiently represented and often lack the recognition they deserve in their fields of study. This underrepresentation happens even though MMU scholars can speak to any topic with just as much or more authority than their more commonly recognized colleagues.

Scholars

Scholars are experts in a field or area of study. An MMU scholar’s expertise may or may not tie directly to their identity as marginalized as scholars from minority groups are often interested in more than their minority status.

MMU scholars are individuals who identify as members of one or more marginalized group leading to their consistent underrepresentation in scholarly conversations.

Citing MMU Scholars

Citing MMU scholars in your research helps scholars get the recognition they deserve for their work and makes your research and writing more comprehensive and well-rounded. Watch the video to learn more about citing MMU scholars. 

Incorporating MMU Scholars

There are many ways to incorporate MMU scholars into your work, but here we’ll discuss two: using MMU scholarship directly in your work and focusing on MMU perspectives.

Using MMU Scholarship

When doing research, using MMU scholarship means you are intentionally and meaningfully reading, including, and citing MMU scholars in your work. You can include works by MMU scholars by quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, and referring to their research. It’s vital that you cite whatever research you use, but it’s especially important to cite MMU scholars, so they receive the credit they deserve for their work. Check out this citation guide for information on how to cite.

Tip:

Incorporating MMU Scholars

  • Look at who you are representing and reading. If you notice you are missing diverse representation or perspectives, find works by MMU scholars who have done research on your topic.
  • Recognize that MMU scholars can speak to any topic that does or does not tie directly to their identity as marginalized. Minority groups are interested in more than their minority status.
  • Avoid tokenism. Tokenism occurs when someone decides to include an MMU scholar just because they are an MMU scholar. Work by MMU scholars should be meaningfully incorporated into your work and not merely placed in there to check an “MMU Scholar” box. You can do this by engaging with MMU scholars’ ideas and exploring what they have to say in your research. 

Focusing on MMU Perspectives

Another way you can include MMU scholarship in your work is by focusing on MMU perspectives. You can do that by looking at your topic from the point of view of MMU groups. For example, if a student is doing research on how stress affects college students, the student could think about how stress affects LGBTQ+ college students or how Latinx college students experience stress.

Tip:

Incorporating MMU Perspectives

  • Allow MMU voices to speak for themselves. MMU groups have the right to speak about their perspectives, and it’s important to remember that an individual’s experiences shape how they view certain topics.
  • Beware of stereotyping. Stereotyping occurs when someone gets insight from one individual and believes the individual represents the whole group. One individual doesn’t represent or speak for everyone with that particular identity.

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