[Marxism] call for papers

George Snedeker george.snedeker at verizon.net
Fri May 30 08:29:30 MDT 2014


 

 A Call for Papers for a special joint issue of

 

               *Works and Days  *

 

                     &

 

*            Cultural Logic*

 

                 on the question of

 

 

*        SCHOLAR ACTIVISM: *

 

* Reflections on Transforming Praxis*

 

*Inside and Outside the Classroom*

              Edited by Joseph G. Ramsey

 

 

 

Proposal Deadline: August 30, 2014

 

Paper Submissions Deadline: Jan. 30, 2015

 

To appear in the Winter of 2015

 

 

 

Where do radical scholarship, teaching, and activism connect?  Where should

they? How do academics at present engage in activism?  How ought we to?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of prevailing modes of

scholar-activist political praxis-from union efforts, to conference

assemblies, from summer seminars, to party-building efforts, to various on

and off-campus coalitions? What do scholars and teachers in particular have

to contribute to activist campaigns beyond the classroom? How can the

classroom itself be understood as a site of activism? In what ways do the

"educators need to be educated" today?

 

 

What should effective activism produce?  What can we learn, both positively

and negatively, from past attempts at transformative intellectual-political

praxis?  What positive models, past or present, local or distant, can we

point to in terms of scholar or teacher activism that have opened new

radical possibilities? What pitfalls threaten such academic-activist

interventions? In what sense does the intellectual, scholarly, or

pedagogical production taking place on or around university, college, of

K-12 campuses today become a "material force" in the world in which we live?

To what extent does it enable or become an obstacle to genuine movement for

radical social change?

 

 

What opportunities for transformative praxis are being opened up in the

current conjuncture of crisis-racked neoliberal capitalism? Which are being

shut down?  How is the shifting terrain of the "post-welfare state

university" -with its decreasing state support for the humanities and its

increasing reliance on super-exploited "adjunct" faculty and high stakes

testing-creating new chances and new dangers for radical praxis? Which

avenues of activism hold the most promise for us in the present period?  Which

appear to foreclosed or blocked?  Which appear to be fundamentally

exhausted and why?  What modes of activism today in fact play a negative

role in dissipating, confusing, or ensnaring radical political energies,

preventing them from pursuing more productive avenues?

 

 

How should we to relate to the experiences, the legacies, and the cultural

productions of previous eras of activism?  To what extent do we see our

present scholarly and activist, intellectual and political commitments as

extensions of these prior efforts?  To what extent do we see our own praxis

as representing a rupture from these past moments' work?   What are the

positive and what are the negative lessons that can be critically

abstracted from these prior moments, and how are they of value for us

today?  For instance: What are the correct critical lessons to be derived

from the rapid rise and fall of the Occupy Movement in the US?  From recent

labor movements on and off campus?  From other mass mobilizations across

the world since the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2008?

 

 

In our writing, our teaching, our conversations, and correspondence: how do

we relate to the notion of 'activism' in theory and in practice?  What is

the unconscious political content of the scholarly and pedagogical forms in

which we are engaged?   What is the message that our activism sends out,

and to whom is it addressed?

 

 

In recent years Slavoj Zizek has invoked the need for a kind of "Bartelby"

politics-a preference for not acting-against a liberal blackmail to "act"

in ways that are fundamentally inadequate to the systemic contradictions

and crises of the present situation (understood as structurally embedded in

contemporary capitalism). Sometimes, he has warned, the injunction to "do

something".anything, right now functions, deliberately or not, as a means

of deferring the conversations and investigations that are necessary for a

subject's discovering the correct thing that in fact needs to be done.  At

the same time, there are plenty on the left who would chastise Zizek and

company for theorizing in ways that perpetually defer the necessity for

some sort of outward oriented radical action, action that transforms the

conditions of conversation and analysis by engaging people who are not

usually so engaged.  In what ways are left public intellectuals such as

Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, David Graeber, or Arundhati Roy, making

material contributions to movements for social liberation?  What are the

strengths and what are the weaknesses of these scholar activists' theory

and practice?

 

 

*We welcome contributions of any form or length* that address any of the

above questions or that contribute to any of the following tasks.  In this

2015 special issue, help us to:

 

*Assess the role of scholars, teachers, and cultural specialists in

activist communities, and social movements, past or present;

 

 

*Sum up the role played by academics, teachers, scholars, librarians and

others in the Occupy Movement; from "Free University" efforts to "People's

Libraries" to attempts to bring Occupy discourse into classrooms (or union

meetings);

 

 

*Engage the legacies, lessons, and limits of Labor Education in the United

States;

 

 

*Sum up first-hand experiments with radical pedagogy, inside or outside the

classroom; reflecting on attempts to expand or sustain student critique and

community beyond the confines of the classroom, in time and/or space;

 

 

*Reflect on attempts (failed as well as successful, recent as well as more

distant) to create new spaces for critique, new critical collectivities

that transgress and transcend dominant divisions between "academia" and

"activist," from attempts to bring activist groups, methods, or

perspectives onto campus or into classrooms, to efforts to bring academic

work to the public, and to existing or emerging social movements and

activist organizations;

 

 

*Critically analyze the role played by organic intellectuals in past

struggles;

 

 

*Offer reports from the field of contemporary social struggles, including

but limited to: Contingent Labor and Unionization efforts, Ecological

Justice and Sustainability, Feminism, Prisoner and Immigrant Solidarity,

and others.

 

 

*Reflect on the role of artistic production and its relationship to

scholarship and/or activism. What productive examples of a mutual

enrichment of radical politics and creative arts exist in the present?  In

the past?  What are the lessons positive and negative to be grasped

practically from a critical study of previous encounters of Art and

Politics?

 

 

*We welcome*: Testimonials, Credos, Manifestos of Academic and/or Activist

practices, and Reports from the Field, as well as more traditional essays

and scholarly papers.  We seek first-hand accounts of attempts to overcome

particular obstacles to engaging social struggles and radical political

issues in the classroom or in other academic contexts, in all their mix of

positive and negative results.  We also welcome personal accounts of

struggles to overcome the various forms of alienation that characterize

academic labor in the humanities today, and that confront academic

activists in particular.  How have you sought to reconcile your commitments

as activist and as scholar and as teacher in the current environment?  What

insight or advice can you offer others facing similar struggles?

 

 

*We also welcome*:  Poetry as well as prose, photography, graphic art, and

other creative forms, as well as reviews of recent critical or cultural

production (books, films, blogs, etc) that thoughtfully engage any of the

above topics.

 

 

*Please submit all proposals (250-500 words) by August 30* to: Joseph

Ramsey at jgramsey at gmail.com .

 

 

 

The print edition of the volume will appear in *Works and Days* in 2015.  An

expanded online open-access version will appear in *Cultural Logic: an

electronic journal of Marxist theory and practice*   www.clogic.eserver.org

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