Weekend Reading: Academic Activism

Weekend Reading: Academic Activism

January 19, 2017

Weekend Reading - Orange tabby cat wearing glasses reading from an open book

This Friday marks the inauguration of our 45th president. It is a time of change for all, fear and distress for many. It is a time when notions of community, solidarity, diversity, and even safety are in flux. Now more than ever, those of us in academia need to understand—and value—our work as activism.

With the new semester beginning, we are mapping ways to assure dynamic classroom discussions (more on that next week), making plans to write regularly, and preparing to land that job. All of this labor fosters meaningful dialogue and furthers knowledge in a time when radical thought is vitally important. Academic work, particularly work that dismantles the exclusivity of the ivory tower and brings intellectual and material resources to communities beyond the university, is political. If we want our work to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, we need to acknowledge its value and, in this climate, recognize the radicality of acknowledging that value. For your weekend reading, we’ve put together some compelling recent reads on activism in the academy and its relationship to our communities, our labor, and our self-care.

Being a faculty member and being a political activist are not and should not be mutually exclusive roles. Dennis Deslippe chronicles scholars bridging the worlds of academia and activism.

How can we as progressive academics help navigate the challenges to come? Scholar, lawyer and trans* activist Dean Spade provides a framework for solidarity and resistance in the age of Trump.

In a capitalist culture that sees your worth as solely a reflection of your productivity, it is a radical act to affirm that you are more than your work.

Especially at the new year, many of us feel pressure to make bold, sweeping resolutions. Many of us also feel like failures when we don’t live up to our impossible expectations. In the spirit of affirming your worth beyond your work, embrace an approach to productivity that hinges on accessibility. It’s (always) ok to start small.

Salary negotiations can be one of the biggest challenges of landing a job, particularly for women and people of color, who are routinely paid less for their labor. In an effort to change the status quo, academics should talk openly and honestly about what we make.

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