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Ordinary Intimacies in Emerson, Du Bois, and Baldwin

This essay reads James Baldwin in conversation with two unexpected interlocutors from the American nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Ralph Waldo Emerson and W. E. B. Du Bois. What draws these historically distant and intellectually different thinkers together, their differences making their convergences all the more resonant and provocative, is a shared mode of attention they bring to the social crises of their eras. It is a mode of attention foregrounding how the often unobserved particulars and emotional registers of human life vitally shape civic existence; more specifically, a mode of attention provoking us to see how “a larger, juster, and fuller future,” in Du Bois’s words, is a matter of the ordinary intimacies and estrangements in which we exist, human connections in all their expressions and suppressions. Emerson names them “facts [. . .] harder to read.” They are “the finer manifestations,” in Du Bois’s terms, “of social life, which history can but mention and which statistics can not count”; “All these things,” Baldwin says, “[. . .] which no chart can tell us.” In effect, from the 1830s to the 1980s these thinkers bear witness to what politics, legislation, and even all our knowledges can address only partially, and to the potentially transformative compensations we might realize in the way we conduct our daily lives. The immediate relevance and urgency this essay finds in their work exists not in proposed political actions, programs for reform, or systematic theories of social justice but in the way their words revitalize the ethical question “How shall I live?” Accumulative and suggestive rather than systematically comparative or polemical, this essay attempts to engage with Emerson, Du Bois, and Baldwin intimately, to proceed in the spirit of their commitment to questioning received disciplines, languages, and ways of inhabiting the world.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

spirit of 1970s direct humanitarian action was fabricated from a deductive process of knowledge formation framed by narratives of history, causation and reciprocity. Reflecting the rise to dominance of a cybernetic episteme, this register has been replaced by a reliance on inductive mathematical data and machine-thinking for sense-making ( Rouvroy, 2012 ). Thinking has been transformed into calculation ( Han, 2013 ). 1 The current dominance within the academy of empiricism and behaviourism reflects this change in world-experience. What is often

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
From the Global to the Local

‘privatised’, not in the sense of private institutions providing education or health care, but in the sense of these processes taking place within the private sphere of the home, and depending on the skills and knowledge of family members. 15 In essence, the ‘privatisation’ of health and learning emerges as a prime example of refugees being expected to fill the gaps created both by international funding cuts and operational responses to these. In turn, if relatives do not have these skills, knowledge, or indeed time or energy, the implications

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Community–university research partnerships in global perspectives

This book is based on a three-year international comparative study on poverty reduction and sustainability strategies . It provides evidence from twenty case studies around the world on the power and potential of community and higher education based scholars and activists working together in the co-creation of transformative knowledge. Opening with a theoretical overview of knowledge, democracy and action, the book is followed by analytical chapters providing lessons learned and capacity building, and on the theory and practice of community university research partnerships. It also includes lessons on models of evaluation, approaches to measuring the impact and an agenda for future research and policy recommendations. The book overviews the concept of engaged scholarship and then moves to focus on community-university research partnerships. It is based on a global empirical study of the role of community-university research partnerships within the context of poverty alleviation, the creation of sustainable societies and, broadly speaking, the Millennium Development Goals. The book frames the contribution of community-university research partnerships within a larger knowledge democracy framework, linking this practice to other spaces of knowledge democracy. These include the open access movement, new acceptance of the methods of community-based and participatory research and the call for cognitive justice or the need for epistemologies of the Global South. It takes a particular look at the variety of structures that have been created in the various universities and civil society research organizations to facilitate and enhance research partnerships.

Open Access (free)

27 Agenda for the future Budd L. Hall, Edward T. Jackson, Rajesh Tandon, Jean-Marc Fontan, Nirmala Lall As partners in the study that led to the creation of this book, we are encouraged by what we see as increased visibility for a knowledge democracy movement. In this volume, we have documented the emergence of new practices and new theory that highlight the relationship of knowledge and its construction to issues of local and global social justice. Community–university research partnerships can be critically important locations of transformative energy in the

in Knowledge, democracy and action

transformed.14 In this respect, knowledge is considered a genuinely historical phenomenon. The central issues have nothing to do with certain forms of knowledge being good or bad, useful or useless, but simply with how, when, and why a certain type of knowledge appears and possibly vanishes, and, ultimately, what effects it has, in what contexts it appears, who are its bearers, in what forms it is manifested, and so forth. In studying the history of knowledge, one must therefore take into account what was considered to be knowledge at a given time and in a given context

in Humboldt and the modern German university

. More than any other academic field, cultural studies provides the potential for new forms of teaching, learning and knowledge that are local-based and people-led. I would go further and suggest that cultural studies also provides the potential for new forms of cultural production and policy. South African cultural studies could provide an institutional matrix in which the traditional distinctions between academic and aesthetic production, like those between theoretical reflection and policy development, are deliberately interrogated, challenged and transformed. The

in Postcolonial contraventions
Open Access (free)
Consultation and conditions

to lose what Diana has been doing for us’. When Brenda Hoggett, a Lecturer in Law, became pregnant, Professor Wortley lamented: ‘What a pity! She’s such a clever girl and she’ll never make anything now.’ His fears were misplaced, for his junior colleague went on to become a Law Commissioner and to join the high court bench (Family Division) as Mrs Justice Hale. During the 1970s little appeared to have come of the 1960s dream of transforming the University into a workplace democracy, rather than a chap 3 23/9/03 1:15 pm Page 67 The academics: consultation and

in A history of the University of Manchester 1973–90
Experts and the development of the British Caribbean, 1940–62

This book produces a major rethinking of the history of development after 1940 through an exploration of Britain’s ambitions for industrialisation in its Caribbean colonies. Industrial development is a neglected topic in histories of the British Colonial Empire, and we know very little of plans for Britain’s Caribbean colonies in general in the late colonial period, despite the role played by riots in the region in prompting an increase in development spending. This account shows the importance of knowledge and expertise in the promotion of a model of Caribbean development that is best described as liberal rather than state-centred and authoritarian. It explores how the post-war period saw an attempt by the Colonial Office to revive Caribbean economies by transforming cane sugar from a low-value foodstuff into a lucrative starting compound for making fuels, plastics and medical products. In addition, it shows that as Caribbean territories moved towards independence and America sought to shape the future of the region, scientific and economic advice became a key strategy for the maintenance of British control of the West Indian colonies. Britain needed to counter attempts by American-backed experts to promote a very different approach to industrial development after 1945 informed by the priorities of US foreign policy.

Open Access (free)
British Army sisters and soldiers in the Second World War

Negotiating nursing explores how the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Q.A.s) salvaged men within the sensitive gender negotiations of what should and could constitute nursing work and where that work could occur. The book argues that the Q.A.s, an entirely female force during the Second World War, were essential to recovering men physically, emotionally and spiritually from the battlefield and for the war, despite concerns about their presence on the frontline. The book maps the developments in nurses’ work as the Q.A.s created a legitimate space for themselves in war zones and established nurses’ position as the expert at the bedside. Using a range of personal testimony the book demonstrates how the exigencies of war demanded nurses alter the methods of nursing practice and the professional boundaries in which they had traditionally worked, in order to care for their soldier-patients in the challenging environments of a war zone. Although they may have transformed practice, their position in war was highly gendered and it was gender in the post-war era that prevented their considerable skills from being transferred to the new welfare state, as the women of Britain were returned to the home and hearth. The aftermath of war may therefore have augured professional disappointment for some nursing sisters, yet their contribution to nursing knowledge and practice was, and remains, significant.