Wednesday, January 27, 2010

on academia and activism


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via guerrilla mama on 1/26/10

the thing is i know that a lot of academics are also activists and vice versa. thank god. there is that exchange. but to gloss over some of the real power differences between the titles does a serious disservice to finding a way to social justice and liberation. i say this because a lot academics are not only activists but act as managers/gatekeepers in the activism world. actually i am trying to think of one time that i have worked as an activist that my superiors were not college graduates. i cant. and ive been doing this work for over a decade. most of them had multiple degrees. and flitted back into academia every few years for another course, certificate, etc. this is not to say that some of them did not do good work. they did. and some of them - well a lot of them - frankly did shoddy work. what i have noticed is that the ones who seem to be the most effective and honest and aware are the ones who are least concerned with their academic credentials. somewhere along the line they learned that their best teachers werent in a college setting. that being able to walk and sit and drink tea with people was a skill that you didnt learn in a classroom. but was way more necessary in the work than what classes they took to get those letters beside their name. shite i dont hear: wow. im really glad that i took that identies and ethnography class. it really helped deal with this situation of listening to a few women talk about being tortured. ok. thats not true. i have heard that once. but it was from the worst boss ive ever had. what bothers me is that academics do often become managers with more classroom experience than any other kind. some folks might think that means that we ought to reform the collegial experience so that it is more focused on teaching young folks to be good managers. i think that it means that we ought to start teaching young folks that spending a few years of college does not automatically make them good managers. even if they have volunteer/activism experience. i really hope that kids are in college because they love learning. and they want to pay to spend all of their time or a lot of it in that mode. i think we need to break this- institutional education is the key to success- meme. the life of the mind is a beautiful life. plain and simple.


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