As we indicate in the Introduction, although we will delineate some broad principles and orientations of anti-racist scholar-activism, this book is not intended to be a ‘how-to’ guide. The accounts presented throughout the book show that such an endeavour would not only be incredibly difficult but would belie the nuance, complexity, and multiplicity of what is invoked through the terms ‘scholar-activist’ and ‘scholar-activism’. It is not our intention to present anti-racist scholar-activism as an essentialist entity that can be easily captured
Anti-racist scholar-activism raises urgent questions about the role of contemporary universities and the academics who work within them. As profound socio-racial crises collide with mass anti-racist mobilisations, this book focuses on the praxes of academics working within, and against, their institutions in pursuit of anti-racist social justice.
Amidst a searing critique of the university’s neoliberal and imperial character, Joseph-Salisbury and Connelly situate the university as a contested space, full of contradictions and tensions.
Drawing upon original empirical data, the book considers how anti-racist scholar-activists navigate barriers and backlash in order to leverage the opportunities and resources of the university in service to communities of resistance.
Showing praxes of anti-racist scholar-activism to be complex, diverse, and multifaceted, and paying particular attention to how scholar-activists grapple with their own complicities in the harms perpetrated and perpetuated by higher education institutions, this book is a call to arms for academics who are, or would like to be, committed to social justice.
antagonistic relationships with much of the academy. As Harney and Moten contend in their discussion of the subversive intellectual, ‘the university needs what she bears but cannot bear what she brings’. 2 This tension results in attempts to curtail, dismiss, ridicule, or silence anti-racist scholar-activist work, casting it as not theoretical or objective enough, and too political and threatening. As scholar-activists clash with their institutions, they are habitually ‘pushed to the margins, forced to take risks, situated in
this chapter and for the rest of the book. Building upon these foundations, we consider three elements to working in service: questions of accountability (are anti-racist scholar-activists accountable, and if so, to whom?); usefulness (is our work useful, and if so, to whom?); and accessibility and reach (is our work accessible and reachable, and if so, to whom?) In each of these sections, we conceptualise the notion of working in service as a counter-hegemonic principle. In doing so, we argue that the notion of working in service should be conceptualised as a
morally and ethically justifiable. Thereafter, we look at reparative theft in practice and do so in two sections. The first focuses particularly on the reparative theft of more material resources – for example: money, time, labour, and space. The second considers how social and symbolic capital constitutes a resource that can, and should, be stolen from our institutions. Ultimately, we argue that reparative theft is a key form of praxis – a fundamental component – of anti-racist scholar-activism, one that enables scholar-activists to exploit the contradictions of the
that kills’. 6 It was, by and large, the latter that provided an organising principle for his work and continues to inform the praxes of many anti-racist scholar-activists today. Indeed, liberal misunderstandings of racism provide inadequate foundations for building anti-racist responses. As Gargi Bhattacharyya states: as long as we think that racism happens between you and me – and it's because I didn't know enough about what you like to eat for your dinner, and what your mum
Throughout this book, we have shown that the dominant logics of the neoliberal-imperial-institutionally-racist university are often antithetical to anti-racist scholar-activism – that is to say, higher education (HE) institutions are active reproducers of the very inequalities and injustices that scholar-activists seek to challenge. Despite our dissent both inside and outside of the university, our employment and participation within the academy means that we are implicated in those injustices: we are complicit. This may be an uncomfortable
social justice generally, and anti-racism specifically. As we have come to know the university more intimately, much of our initial cynicism has not only endured but deepened. That said, we have become more attentive to the contradictions in the university system, the pockets of hope and possibility we might exploit. We have also become more aware of, and inspired by, the work and praxes of those who occupy the margins of the university, finding ways to combine scholarship and activism – that is, those who we might think of as scholar-activists. It
In the previous chapter, we considered how the neoliberal-imperial-institutionally-racist university constrains and lashes back against those engaged in anti-racist scholar-activism. Exploring how anti-racist scholar-activists find ways to survive and navigate the abrasive terrain of higher education (HE), we also insisted that the university is not a monolith but rather an assemblage of contradictory and competing forces which give rise to pockets of possibility that we might exploit. 1
potential health impacts on residents who live close to oil wells and to support community organizing around “crude justice.” It also underscores the “epistemic injustice” (Fricker 2007, 1) that occurs “when a gap in collective interpretive resources puts someone at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to making sense of their social experiences.” DAVIES & MAH 9781526137029 PRINT.indd 31 08/06/2020 15:32 32 Environmental justice and participatory citizen science In another excellent community-based study, Sarah Rhodes and KD Brown, together with their scholar-activist