Radical Academics an oxymoron?

Aaron (aaron@burn.ucsd.edu)
Sun, 17 Nov 1996 03:23:41 -0700

Comrades, friends, and others,
For those who haven't seen the post that I'm responding to, I've
included the whole thing as I received it (less useless header lines). Even
if you are not in one of the categories of persons for whom it is intended,
you may find it interesting for the light it sheds on left academia.
My comments are interspersed with the original post.

>From: "E.M. Durflinger" <bc05319@binghamton.edu>
>Organization: Reunite Pangea Colaition
>To: "Alternative BUSI 411"<bc05319@binghamton.edu>
>Date: Sat, 16 Nov 1996 08:48:24 +0000
>Subject: (Fwd) Universities as a Space of Resistance (fwd)
>------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
>Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 00:33:20 -0500 (EST)
>From: "J.C. Garcia Ellin" <bf20632@binghamton.edu>
>To: "Alternative BUSI 411 (TAZ)" <bc05319@binghamton.edu>
>Subject: Universities as a Space of Resistance (fwd)
>Hi Connor. I received this post and thought some people on the list might
>like to hear about it. Could you post it in the TAZ. Thank you.
>*****************STOP THE EXECUTION, FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL*****************
>********************VIVA PUERTO RICO LIBRE Y SOCIALISTA*******************

Right on!

>To All Recipients:
>A number of disturbing conservative trends and events have coalesced in
>the academic arena in campuses across the nation over the past few years:
>the eradication of affirmative action at UC, the erasure of diversity
>representation and diversity course requirements at SUNY Binghamton, the
>rush to privatize university systems in a number of states, the State's
>attempts to reduce large percentages of students loans, the failure of
>many disciplines to address the problem of the job market, the lack of
>student coalitions and activism on many campuses, the dismissal of what
>student-professor protests in the sixties accomplished, the pedagogical
>trend to teach radical ideas as commodifiable knowledge, and more.
>These issues need to be thematized at length--and now.

So far so good, even if a bit of the language is unnecessarily stilted.

>To this end, I'd
>like to invite concerned graduate students in all humanities disciplines
>to submit full-length articles to a new counter-disciplinary journal of
>philosophical, cultural, and literary resistance called _Crossings_.

Only concerned GRADUATE STUDENTS? Not even an UNDERgraduate student qualifies?
You may want Mumia Abu-Jamal to get out of jail, but he can't write for
your magazine unless some ruling-class university admits him as a Graduate

>_Crossings_, an international journal published twice a year, is edited
>and managed by an interdepartmental collective of graduate students at
>SUNY Binghamton and supported by an advisory panel of progressive faculty

Are there property qualifications for members of the advisory panel? {;->}

>We're still looking for a few more articles for our first issue, which
>focuses specifically on the topic of "Universities as a Space of
>Resistance." How can university communities influence sites of cultural
>production and the future of education in order to offer alternatives to
>apparatuses of the State and to the dominant culture's prohibitive modes
>of knowledge production: economic struggles, philosophical issues,
>political agendas, literary theories, etc? What is at stake in the move
>to privatize education? How might different disciplinary fields form
>communities with other disciplines: postcolonial studies with gender
>studies, neo-Marxists with Heideggerians, gay/lesbian/bisexual studies
>with rhetoric programs, medieval studies with twentieth-century studies?
>What would be the philosophical and historical character of these
>communities? Ultimately, upon what "ground" would a counter-disciplinary
>community of resistance be based and how would it differ from communities
>grounded in "identity politics"? And what would be the role of these
>communities as set against the background of contemporary economies of
>meaning and reality?

One of the things you're apparently resisting is the breakdown of the
separation between academic and working-class intellectuals.

>_Crossings_ invites submissions from both graduate students and

Professors, too! That's white of you! But I don't think Mumia will qualify
that way, either!

>The deadline for our first issue is Dec. 20.
>All correspondence should be sent to the English Dept. at Binghamton
>University, Binghamton NY 13902-6000.
>Web Site: "http://english.adm.binghamton.edu/crossings/crossngs.htm"
>Robert P. Marzec, Editor Crossings
>English Department
>Binghamton University

Maybe J.C. Garcia Ellin and Connor Durflinger, the forwarders of the above
letter, didn't read it carefully or give it much thought before sending it
out. If so, I sympathize with their present embarrassment.

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>Temporary Autonomous Zone at Binghamton University
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