Activism and the Academy

Contributors include Abigail Boggs, Lindsay Caplan, Molly Crabapple, Debanuj DasGupta, Hope Dector, Roderick A. Ferguson, Reina Gossett, Janet R. Jakobsen, Anne Jonas, Jesse Kadjo, Stephanie Luce, Rachel Mattson, CeCe McDonald, Tami Navarro, Tavia Nyong’o, Ali Rosa-Salas, Catherine Sameh, Sandra K. Soto, Dean Spade, and Robyn Wiegman.

This issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online affords the opportunity to reflect on 40 years of feminist social justice work within and, importantly, across academic and activist communities. The contributors to this issue, many of whom—like BCRW itself—exist at the nexus of activism and scholarship, came together around two powerful moments: BCRW’s 2011 conference, “Activism and the Academy: Celebrating 40 Years of Feminist Scholarship and Action” and the 2013 Scholar & Feminist Conference entitled “Utopia.” Amidst the backdrop of the then-emergent movement “Occupy Wall Street,” the contributors here grapple with questions such as how to organize effectively in the wake of the ongoing corporatization of the academy and how to build solidarity across constructed borders. As they engage with the attack on public education, the rising load of student debt, increasing precariousness and economic insecurity, and the dehumanizing prison-industrial complex, the authors in this issue insist that the creative work of social justice lies not merely in the production of knowledge. Rather, they insist upon the importance—the necessity—of imagination, optimism, and the continued ability to dream a better, more just world in the face of continued oppressions.

This issue is organized around continuing the conversations that took place between scholars, activists, and scholar/activists at these conferences. In their writing, the contributors take up the discussions begun at the panels and included here in video, so as to shed light on the complexity of oppressions in the current moment—and remind those committed to a more just world to celebrate the good times we’ve had, and imagine those we might create.

The Barnard Center for Research on Women engages our communities through programming, projects, and publications that advance intersectional social justice feminist analyses and generate concrete steps toward social transformation.

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