Bridging the Ivory Tower and the Streets: Academia and Activism in Times of Crisis Ordinariness
Workshop to take place June 8-10, 2023 at Ca’ Foscari University and Venice International University. Contribution deadline: April, 10, 2023
The colloquium of Prof. Klaus Benesch is pleased to announce a new iteration of its annual workshop to take place June 8-10, 2023 at Ca’ Foscari University and Venice International University.
Titled “Bridging the Ivory Tower and the Streets: Academia and Activism in Times of Crisis Ordinariness,” the workshop takes Noam Chomsky’s seminal 1967 essay “The Responsibility of Intellectuals” as a starting point and seeks to interrogate the relationship between academics and activism as well as the particular relevance of the resulting questions to American Studies and the humanities at large.
Within the current international political, economic, social, and environmental climate, Chomsky’s questions have lost nothing of their urgency: Which kind of “intellectuals” are we? Are we “responsible” in upholding current systems of power, or do we rather become “wild men in the wings”? Contrarily, scholars have also argued that scholar-activism undermines academia’s credibility. If “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” as Audre Lorde famously stipulated, can we as academics engage in dismantling work from our privileged position within the ivory tower at all? And if so, how?
Possible objects of investigation and perspectives may include (but are not limited to):
- The concept of scholar-activism in general
- Activism in the university classroom and activist pedagogy
- The position of experts in today’s political climate and crisis ordinariness
- The imagination of academia in contemporary discourses
- Observations on the role of activism, power structures, and responsibility in one’s own research
- Reflections on personal positionalities within the academic complex
- Activist and academic collaborations in the streets and in the digital sphere
- The future of the humanities and their engagement with the public
International guest speakers
International guest speakers include Burcu Toğral Koca (Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION), Paul Reitter (Ohio State University), Maryna Shevtsova (University of Ljubljana), and Michael Wutz (Weber State University). Presentations will further be held by Amerika-Institut faculty, colloquium members, and students from Ca’ Foscari University.
We cordially invite advanced and motivated students from the American Studies BA and MA programs to join our conversations!
Students may contribute to the workshop by holding a presentation or documenting the workshop proceedings and can receive credits for their work through an independent study project. To register, please send a short abstract on your intended contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Deadline: April 10, 2023. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have!
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