Scholars Explore Intersections Between Activism and Academic Work

Margot Weiss, assistant professor of American studies, assistant professor of anthropology, and Naomi Greyser at the University of Iowa organized a symposium on Academia and Activism Feb. 11 in Russell House.

The event brought together nine interdisciplinary scholars for two open roundtable discussions on the possibilities and difficulties of bridging academic and activist work. Panelists on the two roundtables reflected on a series of questions: “What are the intersections and gaps between activist and academic work?  How is activist labor intellectual and when is intellectual labor activist? How might we historicize dichotomies of theory and practice, ‘ivory tower’ and ‘real world?’ “



The Academia and Activism Symposium brought together interdisciplinary scholars for two open roundtable discussions on the possibilities and difficulties of bridging academic and activist work. The panelists, pictured from left, are Dylan Rodriguez, professor and chair of ethnic studies from the University of California-Riverside; Jeff Maskovsky, associate professor of urban studies at Queens College, CUNY; Purnima Bose, associate professor of English and director of Cultural Studies at Indiana University; Janet Jakobsen, professor and director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Margot Weiss, assistant professor of American studies, assistant professor of anthropology at Wesleyan.

The Academia and Activism Symposium brought together interdisciplinary scholars for two open roundtable discussions on the possibilities and difficulties of bridging academic and activist work. The panelists, pictured from left, are Dylan Rodriguez, professor and chair of ethnic studies from the University of California-Riverside; Jeff Maskovsky, associate professor of urban studies at Queens College, CUNY; Purnima Bose, associate professor of English and director of Cultural Studies at Indiana University; Janet Jakobsen, professor and director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Margot Weiss, assistant professor of American studies, assistant professor of anthropology at Wesleyan.





Students listen to a roundtable discussion on "The Politics of the (Neoliberal) Academy." Panelists on this roundtable considered the demands for relevance and usefulness imposed by new configurations of knowledge and power, especially neoliberalism and the corporatization of the university. The symposium was open to students, faculty and the public.

Students listen to a roundtable discussion on "The Politics of the (Neoliberal) Academy." Panelists on this roundtable considered the demands for relevance and usefulness imposed by new configurations of knowledge and power, especially neoliberalism and the corporatization of the university. The symposium was open to students, faculty and the public.





Matthew Garrett, assistant professor of English, and Aimee Carrillo Rowe, associate professor of rhetoric at the University of Iowa, discuss the theme "Intellectuals as Activists/Activists as Intellectuals." In this roundtable, the scholars explored the ways in which academic work constitutes or contributes to activism, alongside the obstacles that can keep activism and academic work from meaningful dialogue or mutual intervention.





The symposium was sponsored by the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life and co-sponsored by the American Studies Program, the Ethics in Society Project and the Department of Anthropology. (Photos by Emily Brackman ’11 and Olivia Drake)