<%BANNER%>

Uncovering our work

University of Florida Institutional Repository

PAGE 1

UNCOVERING OUR WORK: THE PRO DUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE IN ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM By ANNA LEE GUEST A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

PAGE 2

Copyright 2005 by Anna Lee Guest

PAGE 3

For the best fianc with one e.

PAGE 4

iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Dr. Susan Hegema n for giving me the encouragement and space to begin and finish this project. Her questions and suggestions help me think more critically about both my work and my future, and for that I am forever grateful. I would also like to thank Dr. Apollo Amoko for his in sightful critique with this project. I must thank my academic partner-in-crime, Sarah Bleakney, for seeing me through the past two years. Michele Sampson, Chri stine McIsaac, Kachina Domenick, and Nora Spencer (the notorious sewing circle) have provided me with so much happiness, even (and especially) on days when I'm "over it." Deepest thanks go to my parents, James a nd Linda Guest, and to my sister, Julia Guest, for their unfailing support. Finally, I thank my fianc, Nic Jelley. His listening during the many phases of this project has been more crucial than anything else. His encouragement and love remind me that the po ssibility I hope for is already within my reach.

PAGE 5

v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv ABSTRACT......................................................................................................................v ii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Saving the World through Gradua te School: "Hey, Why Not?"..................................2 Where Could We Go From Here?................................................................................4 2 "WE WANT TO BE TAKEN SE RIOUSLY AS __________": ACADEMICS, ACTIVISTS, AND CATEGORICAL DIFFERENCE.................................................8 Categorization...............................................................................................................8 "Academia" and "Activism".......................................................................................13 The Academic/Activist Divide...................................................................................14 The Draw of Categorization.......................................................................................19 3 "I'LL DO IT MY WAY; THANK YOU": INDIVIDUALS IN ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM.................................................................................................................20 Standpoint Epistemology............................................................................................21 Individuals in Activism...............................................................................................22 Individuals in Academia.............................................................................................24 Forcing Academia/Activism.......................................................................................26 4 "HOW DOES SHE DO IT?": PROD UCING KNOWLEDGE IN ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM.......................................................................................................29 Production and Knowledge.........................................................................................29 Academics and the Production of Knowledge............................................................32 Activists and the Pr oduction of Knowledge...............................................................37 What's the Point?........................................................................................................40

PAGE 6

vi 5 "WE'LL MEET UP SOMEWHERE" : THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM.................................................................................43 Moving from "Academia" to Academia.....................................................................43 Moving from "Activism" to Activism........................................................................46 6 "WE LIKE IT. WHO ELSE MATTERS?": CONCLUSION...................................50 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................51 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................54

PAGE 7

vii Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts UNCOVERING OUR WORK: THE PRO DUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE IN ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM By Anna Lee Guest May 2005 Chair: Susan Hegeman Major Department: English This thesis considers the disconnect betw een academia and activism. It attempts to open a conversation about how the two can, and do, connect at the production of knowledge. While both produce different kinds of knowledge by different means on the surface, it is the similarities in the pro duction process that allow both to move beyond repeating what already happens in their discip line and begin to break down disciplinary difference. In order to think through these ideas, th e thesis discusses a number of academic and activist figures and groups, including De nise Riley; bell hooks; Noam Chomsky; Women's Action Coalition; Subcomandante Ma rcos and the Zapatista s; and the Seattle WTO Protestors. Recognition of the simila rities between academia and activism may allow both not only to communicate with each other but to bette r understand their own work as well.

PAGE 8

1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION For the past year (and probably longer), I've felt a disconnect in my life. I pursued a route of study I was excited about and challenged b y, but I felt that for all the angsty effort I put into my reading and writing, my scholarly work was not "doing" enough. I had a sneaking suspicion that my work should simultaneously be acceptable within academia and then change the world outside it too. Of course, I had no idea how this might happen. I have to make my way anew in this wo rk every day; I am not entrenched. Not only am I not entrenched, but I feel an inte nse pull between my desi re to "act" and my desire to interrogate the instit utional structures which precip itate the need for action. In other words, I seriously considered dropping out of my graduate program. However, existential crisis aside, I began to consider why I felt this disparity, and why I felt it so deeply. This struggle betw een academia and activism is written onto individual subjects in a way that is rarely discussed in conversations about what academia "should be" and what activism "should be." Th ese "shoulds" usually sp eak to theoretical ground and rarely, if ever, invoke real subjec ts; that is, of cour se, unless it is as a theoretical exercise. The "shoulds" bring us to a major probl em: why "should" academia and activism coincide at all? This is less of a question of "should" than "could," but again the question is why. Why not just let academics do their "thi ng" and let activists do theirs and be done with the whole mess? That would cert ainly make this project easier.

PAGE 9

2 In Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections, one of the main characters, Chip, is a failing English professor who struggles with the "point" of his work: He'd never quite realized how seriously he'd taken his fa ther's injunction to do work that was "useful" to society. Criticizing a sick culture, even if the criticism accomplished nothing, had always felt like useful work. But if the supposed sickness wasn't a sickness at all . then there was no longer even the most abstract utility to his criticism. It was all, in Melissa's wor d, bullshit. (Franzen 44-45) Chip's crisis reflects the problem of categor ization. Chip is trapped inside "Academia" with all the stereotypes that go along with cat egories that start with capital letters. He wants "people" to recognize his work as "usefu l," but, in this passage, he realizes that he doesn't know who those people are or how that may happen. Clearl y, "people" are not listening to him like they "should." But what does that mean? Ideas about who can and should listen to you and what your work can and should do begin and end with categorization. How can Chip make his work "mean" something? Saving the World through Graduate School: "Hey, Why Not?" How can I make my work "mean" something? Better yet, what is my work? I began my graduate school career a scant two years ago. I leapt directly from undergraduate to graduate work, and I did that in the heady air of idealism. I did my undergraduate work in English and philosophy. I attended a very small liberal arts college where I talked with my professors and my fellow classmates about our ideas constantly. This same group was involved in work outside the classroom too: we wrote letters for Amnesty International, we protes ted at the local nuclear plant, we each did individual work in the community, we f ought for a liberal arts education against impending threats from outsiders, and we did mo re. It seemed that everyone had a stake in the university and in the community and th at there was no other way: one informed the other. It never really occurred to me, in th at setting, that this wa s particularly unusual.

PAGE 10

3 However, this did more than just occur to me when I came to graduate school. It blindsided me. No longer di d the connection between university and community seem so effortless. Now the expectations seemed to be more insular. Oh, how I cringe when I think about my naivet. I chos e to continue my graduate work in an English department rather than in a Philosophy department because I saw it as a place more willing to engage with ideas outside its own discipline. What I re alize now is that this is true, but that this does not mean what I thought it might. Throughout this argument I will use the humanities as my primary context for the academy because it is what I know best. However, I think the problem of categorization is built into every department of the university, regardless of its subject of study. Although English is willing to engage with Philosophy, Anthropology, Women's Studies Art History, History, Linguistics, Comparative Literature, Film and Media St udies, and on and on, and oftentimes even encompasses these disciplines, it still remains first and foremost an academic discipline. I had hoped, when embarking upon a career in English, that I c ould take all the ideas I work with inside this academic discip line and use them to do more than just talk to other academics--who are as invested as I am in pr oducing more papers. My disappointment and dilemma come from categor ization because I see how academia and activism can and do communicate on the same level in many ways. I am not interested in encouraging academics to become activists or vice versa. Oftentimes a discussion about academia and act ivism comes out in the theory vs. praxis debate. While I find that interesting for a di scussion about work with in academia, I think that it is self-defeating for this project because it does not look to how or why academia and activism even could do something like that. I am in terested in thinking about how

PAGE 11

4 and why people (myself included) who are work ing on similar issues, but under different guises (academia vs. activism), can begin to ta lk to each other about how what they are doing is similar. I hope that this can open a dialogue and perhaps offer new ways of understanding our work. Where Could We Go From Here? Academia and activism do coincide in obvi ous and subtle ways. However, we must be careful first to define the projects of these academics and activists. Not all academics who work outside the academy are activ ists on the left (just as not all activists are on the left); there is also a revolving door between academia and government. President Bush has just nominated Paul Wolf owitz to become the new president of the World Bank: "[d]uring the Clinton administra tion he was the Dean of the prestigious School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University" (Pessin). Also, the current First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Anne O. Krueger, who is the second in command there, was the Herald L. and Caroline L. Ritch Professor in Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Economics at Stanford University. She was also the founding Director of Stanford's Center for Re search on Economic Development and Policy Reform; and a Senior Fellow of the Hoove r Institution. Ms Krueger had previously taught at the University of Minneso ta and Duke University. ("Anne") Although academia and activism do coincide, we must be careful to define their endeavors. The idea that these fields are so radically different that they must be narrowly defined so that everyone knows what they ar e doing--or should be doing--to continue with their work is one of mystification. Th is is not a project of how to make better academics/activists; instead, it is a project of demystificatio n. For this reason, I avoid a narrow definition of "academia" or "activism." I want to avoid the categorization that I

PAGE 12

5 critique in this paper. Rath er than saying what "academia" or "activism" are, I want to consider how their comparable processes of the production of knowledge connect them. These similarities often lead academics and ac tivists into butting heads with each other because categorization forces them to reject thei r similarities, or to deny they even exist. However, this is a project of exposing the inherent similarities between activism and academia and locating (or beginning to) ways that both academics and activists can use these similarities to uncover their own work in innovative ways. Many people in academia and activism today discuss the accessibi lity of scholarly texts and an overarching vision for activism. While I see the impetus in these projects as a positive move away from a narrow vision in either field, I believe they work to force two categories into one unrealizable one, no matter who does the forcing. By avoiding seeing academia and activism as categories with their own internal organization, which is conducive to flexibility but not recasting, wo rkers within each spend too much time trying to mold one into the shape of the other without imagining a new site of possibility. Making academics more activis t and vice versa does not resu lt in the same opportunities for change as does revealing their similaritie s. The former calls for the recasting of characters in the same old roles; the latter calls for new ways of working within those roles. Rather than trying to force academia to become more politically active and rather than forcing activism to adopt a cohesive th eoretical stance, perhaps a more effective strategy is disjunction rather th an conjunction. This requires recognition of their similar stepping off point--the production of knowledge--which then diverg es onto various paths. This locus of similarity, th e production of knowledge, is th e site of possibility for

PAGE 13

6 academia and activism for it also examines how both construct meaning. The common ground between the two will be a common gr ound that identifies and works with individual subjectivies and that places both in their cultura l and historical context. This project draws its methodology from feminist th eory as it looks at how difference gets written and how exposing difference ultim ately leads to more possibility. Academics and activists coincide at the production of knowledge. Both are constrained in some way by production too--p ressure to publish, pressure to have demonstrable results. There is a doubling of production in this case: it is both what we do and what is limiting. We must produce someth ing quantifiable, but we do not realize that we are also involved in the production of knowledge. The production of knowledge builds on the process of materi al production, but it also goes beyond that in the sense that it is not always contingent upon it. The ma terial production reinforces disciplinary difference; the production of knowledge moves within and beyond disciplinary difference. If this is so, then recognizi ng that our work is the production of knowledge can be effective for moving beyond narrow c onceptions of both our specific area and knowledge--seeing knowledge more on a continuu m and recognizing "our" work in other places. This shifting would, not remove knowledge from production, but open it beyond. If, as Henri Lefebvre conject ures, "the concepts of production and the act of producing do have a certain abstract universality," then demystifying this process for academics and activists will allow us to take more cont rol of the production of knowledge process; it will allow us to become apparent in the process (15). Last week I drove by a church and happe ned to glance at its marquee. Its sign read: "An ounce of action is wort h a ton of theory." Hones tly, I'm not making that up.

PAGE 14

7 While I'm not entirely sure what that mean s, I think I can make a pretty good guess at what it is at least meant to connote: people s hould get out and "do" something rather than sit around and think about it all day. The probl em I see with this injunction, aside from its pithy nature, is that the pithiness privileg es one category (action) over another (theory) without considering what either means--much le ss how they might be similar. This also gets into the theory vs. praxis debate. Academic production of knowledge needs to be made more transparent. The assumption is that it is all cognitive, but it also involves social relations. Activist production of knowledge also needs to be made more transparent. The assumption is that it is all social relations, but it also involves cognition. Th is revealing process enables academics and activists to use the production of knowledge as a means of transformation, rather than a replication of disciplinary differences. In order to examine how this demystification may be possible, I will exam ine a number of academics and activists to consider their production of knowledge. Some of these individuals and groups include Denise Riley, Noam Chomsky, bell hooks, Ch erre Moraga, the AIDS Coalition to Unlease Power (ACT UP), the Women's Action Coalition (WAC), Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas, and the World Trade Organization (W TO) protestors in Seattle.

PAGE 15

8 CHAPTER 2 "WE WANT TO BE TAKEN SERI OUSLY AS __________": ACADEMICS, ACTIVISTS, AND CATEGORICAL DIFFERENCE In order to delve into how the similarities between academia and activism may be uncovered, we must first look at where th e connection usually breaks down. The problem of categorization plagues a number of layers of this an alysis, so the first place to begin is with the construction of categories and the power that infuses them. Academics and activists often get caught in the idea that their work springs forth as is solely from the work of others in their field. This re sults from an acceptance of disciplinary categorization rather than a lived mulitiplici tous reality. Instead of interrogating the categories that house them, categorization can cause academics and activists to see their work as polarities that work against each ot her for the same "cause" or "issue." Their disciplinary differences cloud the processes which enable them to work for these issues in the first place. Categorization In Gender and the Politics of History, Joan Wallach Scott conceives sex and gender as categories which require inte rrogation. She articulates gend er as "the knowledge that establishes meanings for bodily differences" (Scott 2). This definition allows her to move within the sex/gender binary in a new way because it reconceptualizes sex and gender at the level of epistemology. Such a move works to break down the "normal" assumptions behind the categories of sex and gender because it displaces those assumptions; it moves them off bodies and onto ca tegories. This also creates space for a

PAGE 16

9 dialogue about how sex and gender create m eaning which can then move into an investigation of how that meaning constitutes individuals and is itself constituted. Scott argues that "[i]f sex and gender ar e both taken to be concepts--forms of knowledge--then they are closel y related, if not indistinguis hable. If both are knowledge, then gender cannot be said to reflect sex or to be imposed on it; rather sex becomes an effect of gender" (Scott 201). By aski ng about the effects, Scott attends to how individuals are in terpellated. Scott's work breaks down categories which get written onto individuals. In order to move beyond these categories she point s out that "[i]f sex, gender, and sexual difference are effects --discursively and historically pr oduced--then we cannot take them as points of origin for our analysis" (Scott 201-202). Sco tt's argument lays important groundwork for imagining a new site of comm unication within academia and activism because it foregrounds individuals within the categories that constitute them. Feminist theory investig ates the category of "women in provocative ways which gives us another perspective on how categories which affect individuals can be troubled. In Am I that Name? Denise Riley reminds us that we cannot look at "women" without also considering historical specificity and ot her concepts the category is posed against-"Nature, Class, Reason, [and] Humanity . which by no means form a passive backdrop to changing conceptions of gender" (Riley 7). "Woman" is therefor e a layered category which is irreducible to any one of the af orementioned concepts. She sets forth her argument by asserting the unstable nature of the category of "women," which "is historically, discursively cons tructed, and always relatively to other categories which themselves change" (Riley 2). In order to prove the historical sp ecificity of "women,"

PAGE 17

10 Riley constructs a brief origin narrative of the historical and discursive construction of the category. She does this on a broader scale by discussing how "women" became inextricably linked with "the social" and "nature" (Riley 18-6 6). In both discussions she takes care to develop how "women" did not spring forth as an already constituted category; very particular historical and ideolo gical processes were at work in order to fit "women" into the framework of the moment (Riley 67-95). She delineates the category of "women" in order to show difference. A revelation of difference shows how meaning is created through binaries. "Women" gives people an idea of what it "means" to be a woman. By exposing "women"--as a category--Riley shows how the category creates meaning and how it is defined in a context. The process of locating meaning in the category is simila r for academia and activism. In order to maintain their disciplinary difference, their difference remains in categorization. As we unpack "academia" and "activism" as categ ories we will see how they constitute academics and activists and will see how the categorical meaning is constructed, not fixed. Riley also considers the effect s of categorization. She di scusses the implications of "women" for women when she points out that "feminism never has the option of putting forward its own uncontaminated, self-generated understandings of 'w omen': its 'women' too, is always thoroughly implicated in the di scursive world" (Riley 68). She establishes a layered context for "women," and she does not leave women or "women" from the stratification. The naming process itself does much to constitute individually and collectively, and women are not exempt from this. She shows how men and women and (not passive) social processe s are all responsible for naming "women" in different ways.

PAGE 18

11 Naming also works against academia and activis m in the ways that it consigns people, and the discipline itself, to narrow definitions of what is acceptable. Thus, the idea of effects gets to the crux of her argument, which is that feminism can draw on the instability of "women" in or der to negotiate difference, which creates meaning. This understanding can then be harnessed once we break down categories and begin to peel back their layers. Chandra Mohanty also defines how wome n can become caught up in constructing "women" in her essay "Under Western Eyes : Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses." She points out the danger in fe minist theory of collapsing all women into one for the sake of a cause. While this move ment can be seen to set up a prototypical woman from which to speak about the pli ghts of women, the danger is in assuming "women" as a category in the first place: What binds women together is a sociological notion of the 'sameness' of their oppression. It is at this point that an elision takes place between 'women' as a discursively constructed group and 'women as material subjects of their own history . . .This results in an assu mption of women as an always already constituted group, one which has been la beled powerless,' 'exploited,' 'sexually harassed,' etc. by feminist scientific, econom ic, legal, and sociological discourses. (Notice that this is quite similar to sexist discourse labeling women weak, emotional, having math anxiety, etc.) This focus is not on uncovering the material and uncovering the ideological specificities that constitute a particular group of women as 'powerless' in a particular contex t. It is, rather, on finding a variety of cases of 'powerless' groups of women to prove the general point that women as a group are powerless. (Mohanty 56-57) Mohanty's discussion of the reductionism of categorization shows us how it is used for inductive reasoning: moving from the specifi c to the general. Switching our focus permits us to look backward, forward, and ar ound: it gives us the ability to see beyond our immediate context. On the other hand, disciplinary difference (and categorization)

PAGE 19

12 implies stagnation, rather than accounting for the fluidity of what academia and activism contain: people and knowledge. Riley gives a brief example of how fe minism can speak for "women workers" by showing that they have no "fixed nature," a nd that only in some contexts can they be distinguished from workers in general; femini sm can then have a say in these purposes (113). The effect of looking at the category, in this case "w omen workers" rather than "workers," may or may not be useful in negotiating needs; feminism can then become more politically active and effective. Riley advocates the idea that "an active skepticism about the integrity of the sacred categor y 'women' would be no merely philosophical doubt to be stifled in the name of effective political action in the world. On the contrary, it would be a condition for the latter" (Riley 113). Br eaking down the category of "women," for Riley, would become a determin ing factor for politic al action because it would effectively destabilize any narratives of naturalized femininity and would locate difference in the category rath er than in women's bodies. I believe that Riley, and other theo rists like her who seek to locate the construction of "women" and thus work to break it down, comes a long way towards dismantling some of the problems of categorizat ion. However, I still think she leaves an important category in her work untouched by "active skepticism," and this is the relationship between academia a nd activism. In the previous quote she conflates political action with this "active skepticism" (or scholarship), and I see it as a mistake not to further investigate the implicit categorization in this claim. For while her academic work lays the path for further thinking about the categorization of "women," it cannot

PAGE 20

13 effectively lay claim to direct links to political action without also troubling the scholarship and activism that mu st be done for both to occur. Her understanding locates meaning in the category, but while it calls for change, it does not make the leap to how or who c ould do that. Surely if "women" creates meaning then the forces shaping the discussion do as well. This process involves looking both into and away from the university. "Academia" and "Activism" In order to consider how academia and ac tivism interact, we must first consider "academia" and "activism." In other words, we must think about them categorically. The categories work to inscribe disciplinary differe nce. We can define academia in contrast to activism (and even subsets of each in contrast to each other) because of this disciplinary difference. "Academia" comes to be constituted through a set of disciplinar y practices whereby the replication of those practices becomes the norm. "Activism" comes to be constituted in precisely the same way. Although "acad emia" and "activism" comprise varying degrees of internal difference, both are si milarly constituted and maintained through the replication of disciplinary difference. "A cademia" and "activism" require academics and activists to function within a small circle in order to sustain that circle. The categorical difference of "academia" and "activism" relegates them to different positions. They cannot be forced into one "academia/activism" because this only works to initiate yet another categor ization. However, academics and activists can work to look through the categories, rather than from the categories, and see their similarities at the point of the production of knowledge. These si milarities can allow new conceptions of both academic and activist work as it shows each the (hidden) processes of their own.

PAGE 21

14 At first, it seems desirable to merge academia and activism. What could be better than blending together what we're already in terested in? However, the fields remain separate because they both retain those degree s of disciplinary difference. If we simply make a new discipline, then we are not calli ng into question the production of knowledge. As Stanley Fish states, It is not so much that litera ry critics have nothing to sa y about these issues, but that so long as they say it as literary critics no one but a few of their friends will be listening, and, conversely, if they say it in wa ys unrelated to the practices of literary criticism, and thereby manage to give it a political effectiveness, they will no longer be literary critics, although they w ill still be something and we may regard the something they will then be as more valuable . . I say, if you want to send a message that will be heard beyond the academy, get out of it. Or, if I may adapt a patriotic slogan, 'the academy --love it or leave it.' (1-2) Although branches of activism are seen to ha ve as their mission a reaching out to wider society, the same can be said for activism or any other category which institutes disciplinary difference. Fish's argument proves useful because he reminds us of the ways in which the work is different. However, I wi ll disagree that you must "love or leave" the academy (or activism). In contrast, you must go beyond it and come back to it with new considerations about ho w it produces knowledge. The Academic/Activist Divide In the academic/activist divide people of ten get quickly classified as intellectuals or activists, and while some categories have b een created to reflect people who bridge that gap (i.e., public intellectuals and activist pr ofessors), even they re main at the level of categorization. The public intelle ctual and the activis t professor are not threats to either category because they are still categories ; by creating a new category we remove any threat they are to the old categories. No w these people are free to flit about and be "public" or be an "activist" without bothering anyone else because they have seemingly

PAGE 22

15 bridged an insurmountable gap. Much less do we need to worry about what it means to be an intellectual or an activist (or, god fo rbid, both). However, what these people have actually accomplished is a strang e dislocation of both fields by trying to merge them into one. I believe an effective way of examining intellectuals and activists would be to first look at stereotypes. Wh en I think of an intellectual I think of one of my college professors; he is a man who is renowned in hi s field, but whom I rarely saw. His work is so esoteric that it must be br illiant; I just haven't received my pass code to it yet. When I think of an activist I think of one of my friends from college who was always the first to jump on every cause that passed by. She would so metimes protest just for the sake of it. Now, at this point, I'm even rolling my eyes at how reductive these portraits are. No, I'm not trying to say that every intellectual is a man, or that esoteric work is not beneficial, or that all activists are women, or that it is not productive to effect social change for more than one cause (or any other stereotypes I ma y appear to have subscribed to in the space of five sentences). What I am trying to say, though, is that, while these stereotypes are remarkably simple in their analysis of each category, they are also remarkably (in the re-markable; say it ag ain, sense) on target in how these categories often get constituted. A certain idea becomes the norm and then sets the tone for how people "should" be or work. Even though indivi duals vary widely from the stereotype, or categorical assumptions, those assumptions sti ll taint the air because of their uncontested status. They shape individual subjectivities by virtue of the way they define meaning on multiple levels (Althusser 115-117).

PAGE 23

16 In "The Responsibility of Intellectuals" (a title replete with the categorization of intellectuals), Noam Chomsky outlines the myriad roles intellectuals can play: Intellectuals are in a positi on to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and of ten hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expre ssion. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provided the leisure, the facilitie s, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepre sentation, ideology and class interest, through which the ev ents of current history ar e presented to us. (Chomsky 255) Chomsky acknowledges the comparatively marginal role intellectuals have in terms of sheer number, but he then infuses them with power unparalleled by anyone next to those in the government. The impetus for Chomsky's article is the Vietnam War. He begins by referencing a question from an article writ ten briefly after WWII by Dwight Macdonald which asks: "To what extent are the British or American people responsible for the vicious terror bombings of civilians" (qtd. in Chomsky 254). Chomsky then uses this question as a springboard for how intellectuals have the responsibility to "speak the truth and expose lies" because they can easily beco me complicitous. Throughout the article he gives examples of how "in no small measure, it is [complicitous] attitudes…that lie behind the butchery in Vietnam, and we ha d better face up to them with candor, or we will find our government leading us towards a 'final solution' in Vietnam, and in the many Vietnams that inevitably lie ahead" (Chomsky 291). While intellectuals do have a privileged position, Chomsky is unwilling to assess them as a whole. Not even most privileged intellectuals are in the same unique position as Chomsky himself and can hope to effect polit ical change. As Stanley Fish reminds us, "Despite occasional appearances to the contra ry, the conversation that takes place within the humanistic academy and the conversation th at leads to legislative and administrative

PAGE 24

17 action remain segregated from one another" ( 61). Noam Chomsky's career is one of these exceptions, but from that we cannot extrapolat e the powers of intell ectuals in general. By defining more "shoulds" than "coulds," hi s vision falls hopelessly short. A limited conception of intellectuals such as this ove rlooks the inherent categorical difference it establishes. Difference can be utilized as a way to oppose rigid categorization, but not when it is used to polarize ra ther than crea te new meaning. Antonio Gramsci provides a cl earer definition of intellect uals in a broad range of society. He discusses how the historical ev olution of traditional intellectuals (i.e. ecclesiastics) came to oppose the "organic intellectuals" who evolved from each class as it developed its own specializations (Gramsci 6-8). Gramsci's use of the term "organic intellectuals" speaks to his question about What are the 'maximum' limits of acceptance of the term 'intellectual'? Can one find a unitary criterion to characterize equall y all the diverse and disparate activities of intellectuals and to distinguish these at the same time and in an essential way from the activities of other social groupi ngs? The most widespread error of method seems to me that of having looked for this criterion of distinc tion in the intrinsic nature of intellectual activities, rather than in the ensemble of the system of relations in which these activities (and therefore th e intellectual groups who personify them) have their place within the general complex of social relations. (Gramsci 8) Here Gramsci seeks to put "intellectuals" in a context and avoids ca tegorizing them in a way that looks only back towards what th ey "should" have be en and does not look towards what they are or "can be." This m ove locates individuals within the category as a locus of change rather than locating the categ ory itself as the only si te of that possibility. Activism is often seen as promoting indi vidualism; however, this category, like all others, seeks to prioritize its cate gorization. In "Beyond Activistism," Liza Featherstone, Doug Henwood, and Christian Parenti argue that today's activists do not lack thought in their action:

PAGE 25

18 [they] do indeed have a creed: They're activ istists. That's right, activistists….In this worldview, all roads lead to more activism and more activists. And the one who acts is righteous . . Activistism as an ideology renders taboo any discussion of ideas or beliefs, and thus stymies bot h thought and action. Activists who treat ideas as important--who ask the difficult questions that push into new political terrain--find this censorious hyperpragm atism alienating and may drop away from organizing as a result. But that's not th e only problem. Without an analysis of what's really wrong with the world or a vi sion of the better world they're trying to create, people have no reason to continue being activists once a particular campaign is over (72-74). And the problems, folks, do not end there. They go on to accuse activism of a number of crimes against thinking, and they end up calli ng for "an assault of the stupidity that pervades American culture. This implies a mo re democratic approach to the life of the mind. We challenge left activists to beco me intellectuals" (Featherstone, Henwood, and Parenti 75). Sounds good, right? We are finally going to get rid of reality TV! Oh wait, is that the stupidity they are talking about? Who knows! The underlying problem of their assertions is, again, categorization. They cr eate a new catch phrase, and category, with activistists, that seems to sw eep all the old prob lems of activism (a nd activists) under the rug. Except that, it doesn't. Activistism creates innumerable more problems than activism because it does not bother to define activism, or thinking. The subtitle of the article is "Why we n eed deeper thinking in our protests." I withheld this until now because I thought you might find it as intriguing as I did at first. It seems that the authors may discuss how th inking and protest connect. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, they try to ma ke one into the other, which leaves both worse than before.

PAGE 26

19 The Draw of Categorization I will admit that categorization has its ow n lure: it quickly becomes easy to work within categorical distincti ons (and disciplinary difference) because we know what to expect. I know how I "should" write this paper because I know the academic expectations of it. This is the benefit of categorization: it give s us a prescription to follow from which we do not need to deviate. However, while prescriptions are tempting, they are also only temporary fixes. They fix us until the problem comes back agai n; in the meantime, we can forget about them because the problem is hidden. A similar problem exists with categorization. While it appears so easy that we often forget it exists, it only works to fix temporary problems--like who we should include in the literary canon or what the slogan for our movement should be. These issues are constructs of categorizat ion and only serve to further the division it creates. Categorization is problematic becau se it does not provide connection; it hides connection. Each category is inevitably shap ed by, and in contrast to, another, so disguising the processes which bring us to ca tegorization in the first place only works to maintain it. Instead, we must look to the e ffects of categorization. Examining the effects obliges us to more critica lly look at categories themselves; the effects uncover the categories. In turn, the categories uncover context--how and why they are shaped and by and for whom.

PAGE 27

20 CHAPTER 3 "I'LL DO IT MY WAY; THANK Y OU": INDIVIDUALS IN ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM As individuals are constituted by categories, it follows that shifts in categorization will write themselves onto individuals as well. Soon, everyone will be asking "what is your category(ies)?" rather than "what is your sign?" as the new way of locating difference (and similarity). Well, perhaps not, but this is only because the categories are already so steeped into the individual that such a question is sometimes not very apparent. Feminist theory attempts to answer this problem by foregrounding the individual in the context of the powerful institutions that inscribe her with meaning. This kind of theorizing hopes to show that not everyone is equally placed in axes of power (Fraser 7). In order to think about how the individua l gets placed in thes e various contexts, though, we must first think about how these processes evolve in the first place. This requires revealing our epistemology, or theory of knowledge (Harding 2). An analysis of categories requires a candid di scussion of epistemology if we ever hope to see the categories of academia and activism unfold a new space for communication where individuals can traverse th e space of knowledge production. Standpoint epistemology begins to op en this space where individuals and categories meet and greet. In the individua l-category meet and gr eet, categories tend to be a little shy; they huddle together off to one side hoping no one will notice them. The individuals are hesitant as they have rarely encountered the categor ies face to face; they

PAGE 28

21 prefer to speak amongst themselves about how they have each accomplished great things free of any outside help (or how they have si ngle-handedly ruined their lives). When one individual has her back turne d, a category accidentally bumps into her. What should they do? Should they pretend they never saw each other? Standpoint Epistemology In Donna Haraway's conception, "[f]emini st objectivity is about limited location and situated knowledge, not about transcendence and splitting of subject and object. It allows us to become answerable for what we learn to see" ("Situated" 583). Thus, the individual and the category sit down for cu cumber sandwiches and talk about the ways they constitute each other. "Situated knowle dge" allows us the va ntage point of seeing through the category rather than seeing from the category. It privileges the individual while not elevating the individual to an unchecked status (Haraway, "Cyborg" 157). Situated knowledge is a formulation of sta ndpoint epistemology, which "'refers to a way of conceptualizing re ality that reflects women's inte rests and values and draws on women's own interpretation of their own experience" (qtd. in Naples 70). Standpoint should not be conflated with "v iewpoint or actual experiences" ; rather, it contextualizes experiences in a way that juxt aposes individual and experien ce, individual and category-the ways individuals are constituted by experience. Of course, we rarely wake up in the morning feeling constituted by monolithic categories (except on days when I prefer to st ay in bed). Instead, we may feel anxious about going to class (as students) feel excited about having dinner (as friends), feel angry about watching the news (as citizens), etc. These various standpoints are all informed by categorical relationships. More specifically, the categorical relationships are themselves specific--most often to a place. For example, discussions about activist art as public art

PAGE 29

22 have recently become "centered around a no tion of the community or the public as the 'site,' and the public artist as one whose work is responsive to the issues, needs, and concerns that define that elusive, hard-to-define entity" (Felshin 21). Activist/public art replies to both the individual and her context by acknowledging the artist and the community. Standpoint epistemology seeks this dual centering as well: "[M]ost standpoint theorists attempt to locate st andpoint in specific community contexts with particular attention to the dynamics of race, class, and gender" (Naples 71). The focus on categories within communities in standpoint epistemology and situated knowledge brings us to how we can diffuse broad categories that continue to define academia and activism. Contextualization also brings us closer to ways we produce knowledge by looking at a network of meaning which includes the individual. The one danger we must avoid is seeing fr om the category of the individual. Like academia and activism, the individual can also become a rigid categorization, as can experience. We must actively examine all categories in order be tter to understand how each one, and all collectively, shap e each other and shape us. Individuals in Activism A focus on individuals informs activist theo ry: "There is no single set of attitudes or social group to which all others must c onform. Instead, the unifying ethos is one of decentered authority . . To put these theories into practice, activists need to develop the mutually supportive character of their struggles" (T rend 172). No overarching categorization must inform activism (or academia, for that matter); instead, a push for a focus on individuals and their connections to ot hers and to what they are organizing for is

PAGE 30

23 their standpoint. During the WTO protests in Seattle in November 1999, activists drew on this standpoint: No centralized leader could have coordina ted the scene in the midst of the chaos, and none was needed--the organic, aut onomous organization we had proved far more powerful and effective. No author itarian figure could have compelled people to hold a blockade line while being te ar-gassed--but empowered people free to make their own decisions did choose to do that. (Starhawk 54-55) However, while the WTO protesters drew on contextualized indivi duals, this conception can itself break down as well if it is only narrowly contextu alized (e.g. saying "it sounds like a good idea to me!"--after you state an idea). In 1991, after a number of attacks on wome n's rights (the trials of Clarence Thomas, Mike Tyson, and William Kennedy Smith as some examples), "'The Third Wave' [was] galvanized…a new generation of activist women declaring their fury, summoning accountability, and de manding representation (Essoglou 335). In response, on January 28, 1992, a group of women form ed the Women's Action Coalition (WAC) (Essoglou 333-339). WAC was known for its di rect action style, but they were also known because they "appeared to be 'fashi onable,' 'confident' women . . [Their] appearance was no doubt part of WAC's near-i nstant success. At the same time, it brought with it an unfortunate lesson (and/or reminder) that while appearances can be usefully deceiving, they are nearly always divisive" (Essoglou 341). WAC's emphasis was on action even though th ey worked to fact-check that action (Essoglou 358). They held an intense debate to determine that they would emphasize action: "In naming ourselves the Women's Action Coalition, we were resolved to emphasize action over our loosely based affinity as artists. It was also suggested that referring to ourselves as ar tists was more passive, exclus ionary, and limiting" (Essoglou 339). Unfortunately, they simply displaced one category for another. While they were

PAGE 31

24 careful to choose action, they we re not careful to define act ion: for whom, by whom, with what means, etc. Rather than definin g, they assumed the inclusion of "women" (Essoglou 362); in other words, they did not look to the individuals comprising WAC. They took on a breathtaking number of campai gns during their brief two year existence, some of which include "the Pink Slip Action, the Democratic and Republican conventions, Clinic Defense, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Women Firefighters, the Glen Ridge Rape Trial, Rape is a War Crime, Take Back the Night March, Stop Police Brutality, Tax Reform for Health Care, a nd more" (Essoglou 351). With all these campaigns, though, the driving force of action caused them to keep pressing forward despite dissent within their ranks that not even everyone their was being heard. WAC's downfall was its inab ility to conceive situat ed knowledge. While they artfully utilized direct action techniques from the ACT UP and Women's Health, Action and Mobilization! (WHAM!) who had gone before them, they did not link their work along other categorical lines as well (Essoglou 336). This failure to establish a firm standpoint based on women's interpretation of their experiences in relationship to their community led to categorization within WAC and ultimately to thei r inability to act effectively. This was due to a limited understa nding of various standpoints, not just one. While individuals were a fo cus, they also became the focus, which is just as problematic because neither situation provides context. Individuals in Academia Academics often signal their individual e xperience to the broader community of academics in their research strategy. They do this through a conscious process of placing themselves--their "method (techniques for ga thering evidence) . . methodology (a theory and analysis of how research should proceed) . [and] ep istemological issues

PAGE 32

25 (issues about an adequate theory of knowledge or justificatory strategy)"--in a discursive center (Harding 2). Method is privileged over experience he re--which also leaves out part of the equation. From the perspective of standpoint ep istemology, this emphasis is a necessary component of research: Another way to put this is that the beliefs and behaviors of the re searcher are part of the empirical evidence for (or against) the claims advanced in the results of the research. This evidence too must be open to cri tical scrutiny no less than what is traditionally defined as relevant evidence. Introducing this 'subjective' element into the analysis in fact increases the 'objec tivism' which hides this kind of evidence from the public. (Harding 9) When writers emphasize their own experience in academia they highlight the potential for merging categories. However, they are al so open to critiques of the strategy "as an attempt to create a more 'true' or 'authentic depiction of the field encounter, thus once again privileging the researcher's voice over others whose lives were the subject of inquiry" (Naples 31). Academics must be careful to place th eir individual experience and work in the ever-broadening context of that which informs it. Laying out the "facts" for examination opens them to a critical ex amination of how they are informed by categorization and how they might move from the delusion of severance to a place where they can view their work anew--through the categories This examination does not happen, howeve r, without dislocation. Whenever a paradigm shift is involved--from a focus on categories to a focu s through categories-invariably people will become grumpy, at least. This is to be expected; for example, right now I am cozy inside writing, but my dog wants to drag me into the cold. While this may appear on the surface to be much less complex th an a categorical shift in perspective, it still requires me to change my perceptions of how things are "supposed to be" at this

PAGE 33

26 present moment. Similarly, when academics' and activists' focus shifts off categories the results may be jarring--at first. However, by examining how they are both entangled in the production of knowledge they can begin to move from dislocation to a location of possibility and from the repl ication of disciplinary diffe rence to a new conception of disciplines, and knowledge, on a continuum. Forcing Academia/Activism Activists experience this categorical disl ocation between assumptions over what their action should "do" or "be. At a conference after the WTO protests in Seattle and the World Bank and IMF protests in Washi ngton, D.C., people such Ariana Huffington, Michael Lerner, David Korten, Cornel West, a nd others gathered to discuss the "lack of 'unity of vision and strategy' guiding the vision against global corporatism" (Klein, "Vision" 265). The participants were supposed to "give birth to a unified movement for holistic social, economic, and political change (Klein, "Vision" 265). Not only does this goal sound difficult, near impossible, in the space of a few days, but it is also counterintuitive for activists who define thei r work in terms of individual response: When critics say that the prot esters lack vision, what they are really saying is that they lack an overarching revolutionary philosophy--like Marxism, democratic socialism, deep ecology, or social anarc hy--on which they all agree. That is absolutely true, and for this we should all be extraordinarily thankful….It is to this young movement's credit that it has as yet fended off all of these agendas and has rejected everyone's generously donated manifesto, holding out for an acceptably democratic, representative process to take its resistance to the next stage. Perhaps its true challenge is not finding a vision but rather resisting the urge to settle on one too quickly. (Klein, "Vision" 272-273) These activists move from situated knowledge into their action. The dislocation comes when their action has not been defined--not by outside influence--but by an internal breakdown of the category.

PAGE 34

27 Other activist groups feel similarly to th e participant at the conference: "ACT UP never entertained the notion th at a group must hammer out its analysis before it takes action; it instinctively disdained rallie s, where speakers drone on to the already converted" (Kauffman 38). Instead, they pref erred to enact their high-profile style of direct action for maximum results (Kauffman 38) This is not to imply that ACT UP had no goals, but rather that they, like many other activist groups "c onsciously sought to emphasize activist work and praxis over long discussions about philosophy or ideology" (Shepard and Hayduk 8). The dislocation between activist work and knowledge, though, is where we really meet a point of contention in this discussion. An emphasis on action creates a very pa rticular kind of knowledge. It values specific acts and devalues others. This hierar chical relationship is in direct opposition to activism's self-declared goals of a focus on individuals. By not first examining what activism is and other categories that shape its meaning, activists lose any say in reshaping its meaning. This is because they do not pe rceive it as something with an overarching meaning to be queried. The same may be said for academic work that speaks for social change without considering the effect of academic writing or how it links with social change. Writing the paper or doing the research without consider ing the category of academia (or what social change might be) disregards the myriad for ces within and outside the university pressing on our work. Categorization draws a distinct ion between these two practices, but they may not be so different in the end. When we examine categories and how knowledge is produced within those categories, we see the si milarities in practice within each. This is not to say that academia and activism are the same or that they will become one happy

PAGE 35

28 category (which would be an oxymoron anyway). Rather, it is to sa y that locating their common practice as the produc tion of knowledge allows people who work within academy and activism to think about their work beyond the confines of categorization.

PAGE 36

29 CHAPTER 4 "HOW DOES SHE DO IT?": PRODUC ING KNOWLEDGE IN ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM What is the production of knowledge, anyway ? It sounds like another abstraction made up to confuse a simple process. Is n't knowledge either just intuitive or a memorization of "facts"? And wh ile it is often made to appear that way on the surface, it is because of this seeming ease of acquisition that knowledge must be examined further. Its processes are so bound up in production that they become obscured, accepted, and replicated without notice. Production and Knowledge As a graduate student, I feel that I can onl y rarely escape the pressures of material production: "Read more books, Anna;" "Write more papers, Anna;" "Publish and go to conferences, Anna." I hear th is internal refrain now due to the structures which support it: the university, and more specifically, disciplinary demands. While the people within this circuitous st ructure may feel that they are working to produce new papers and even new ideas, what they are now doing is not the production of knowledge: it is the replica tion of disciplinary difference. These are not just nuanced versions of the same thing: the replica tion of disciplinary di fference privileges categorization. It does this by making phras es such as "academic enough" possible--it enacts and sustains discipline specific sta ndards. It also removes context from knowledge by only looking within th e discipline as a source.

PAGE 37

30 In contrast, the production of knowledge is grounded in specificity: it centers individuals and other ideas whic h inform its own. The effects are quite different as well. The effect of the replication of disciplinary difference is mo re additions to the knowledge base which sustains that di scipline as set apart. The effect of the production of knowledge is seeing what informs those ideas, that knowledge base, and each discipline, and then taking that information to arrive upon a layered version of knowledge. When we locate the similarity be tween academia and activism at the production of knowledge, we acknowledge the processes that sustai n those categories. For example, both participate in creating knowle dge, albeit with seemingly diffe rent tools because of their categorical difference. To be reductive but make a point, academics write papers and activists protest. In both examples, they are working to get out ideas to other people and to further their own thought about those ideas. So even though protesting or doing doorto-door campaigns about an issue may not look the same on the surface as this paper, at the bottom it does something very similar. When we recognize this similarity, we then have to acknowledge how we don't have th e lock on those proce sses; the production of knowledge is not categorically exclusive. Wh en we see that the production of knowledge does more than sustain our own work, we can begin to make our work (whatever it may be) more concrete as it looks to sources out side its own genesis and category for further continuation. The same dangers in academia can be said for activism as it works within itself. Both areas produce specific kinds of knowledge but that knowledge is constructed in support of and as a structure for more of the same. Thus, the main danger when

PAGE 38

31 considering the production of knowledge is removing meaning from the phrase and leaving it open to any interpretation: On the other hand, it must be said, in respons e to the left-wing or 'leftist' notion that words, dreams, texts and concepts labour and produce on their own account, that this leaves us with a curious image of labour without labourers products without a production process or production without pr oducts, and works without creators (no 'subject'--and no 'object' either!). The phr ase 'production of knowledge' does make a certain amount of sense so far as the deve lopment of concepts is concerned: every concept must come into being and must ma ture. But without the facts, and without the discourse of social beings or 'subjects' who could be said to produce concepts? There is a point beyond which reliance on su ch formulas as 'the production of knowledge' leads onto very treacherous gr ound: knowledge may be conceived of on the model of industrial production, with th e result that the existing division of labour and use of machines, especially cybernetic machines is uncritically accepted; alternatively, the concept of production as well as the concept of knowledge may be deprived of all specific co ntent, and this from the point of view of the 'object' as well as from that of the 'subject'--which is to give carte blanche to wild speculation and pure ir rationalism. (Lefebvre 72-73) We must place knowledge solidly within its various contexts in order to examine it. As Lefebvre points out, when you remove context from the production of knowledge (for example, why did I start this project?) you are left with an empty phrase that can then be used to mean any old thing. When we re move the production of knowledge from its context then we are left with either (a) disciplinary difference; or (b) the actual production of knowledge--with all the accompanying om inous images of isolated people cranking out obscure ideas. When we place the production of knowledge in its context, we place ourselves in the process, not behind it, and this gives us the possibility of changing it from within and recognizing si milarities in how we construct it. When the production of knowledge is pl aced within its context, the people involved in the process can begi n to see its negative effect on their work: they are forced to produce in order to move ahead in their work. Academics and activists speak their own language, so to speak, in that they bot h have technical jar gon which is (at least

PAGE 39

32 relatively) inaccessible to outsiders. They use this language as a kind of shorthand; however, it also serves to obfuscate the processe s which get them there in the first place: "One of the primary causes of academic mys tification is the tendency to take academic discourse for granted, as if it were a transpar ent vehicle of information or ideas" (Graff, Clueless 25). This language is confusing becau se it presupposes disc iplinary difference and replicates it. It is rem oved from the processes which initiate it: "There is therefore one language which is not mythical, it is th e language of man as a producer: wherever man speaks in order to transform reality a nd no longer to preserve it as an image, wherever he links his language to the making of things . and myth is impossible" (Barthes 146). When we link the producti on of knowledge concretely to those who produce it and to its processes then workers within academia and activism can move from replication to transformation: with the proces ses revealed, they can see their similarities and use them to re-imagine their work--and not only see it as "theirs." Academics and the Production of Knowledge A prevailing myth about academia is th at knowledge produced in the sciences, humanities, business fields, etc. is obviously di sparate: it is generated differently and it concludes with different results. While the processes at arriving upon knowledge may appear different, they are actually quite similar: in all cases, the tools of the discipline, and the work of others in that discipline, are used to further the process wherein they produce more knowledge that contributes to that discipline. The replication of disciplinary difference in "academia" makes th e production of knowledge appear to be all cognitive. The problem we confront now is th e hidden "how." The how seems to get lost in the production of academic knowledge in favo r of the final result. Knowledge appears

PAGE 40

33 to be the result of people who are smart si tting around thinking about things, when in reality more takes place. Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar are anth ropologists who set out to uncover an "anthropology of scienc e" in their work Laboratory Life In the introduc tion to this book, Jonas Salk (who oversaw the laboratory they observed during th e course of their research) puts out a call for the clar ification of scient ific processes: If the public could be helped to understa nd how scientific knowledge is generated and could understand that it is comprehens ible and no more extr aordinary than any other field of endeavor, they would not e xpect more of scientists than they are capable of delivering, nor would they fear scientists as much as they do. This would clarify not only the social position of scientists in society, but also the public understanding of the substance of science, of scientific pursuits and of the creation of scientific knowledge. It is sometimes discouraging that although we dedicate our lives to the extension of knowledge to shedding light and exemplifying rationality in the world, the work of individu al scientists, or the work of scientists in general, is often understood only in a so rt of magical or mystical way. (Salk 1314) Although Salk's request to demystify scien tific processes is a positive step, it too contributes to the replication of scientific knowledge because it is cloaked in the very language that creates these problems to begin with. He says that scientists "dedicate [their] lives to the extension of knowledge [and] to shedding light and exemplifying rationality in the world" without ever explai ning what on earth that could mean. He says that he wants people to better understand scien tists and that they are often viewed as mysterious; however, this very language of exploration and conquest is what constructs that situation. Latour and Woolgar work in the lab to uncover "the social construction of scientific knowledge in so far as this draws attention to the process by which scientists make sense of their observations" (32). By reve aling the process inherent in the scientific construction of knowledge, Latour and Woolgar are able to link science to other fields

PAGE 41

34 which contribute to its advancement, show how social relations influence this process, and examine how knowledge becomes accepted in the sciences. They point out that [a]fter the paper which incorporates thes e figures has been written, and the main result of the paper has been embodied in some new inscription device, it is easy to forget that the construction of the paper depended on material factors. The bench space will be forgotten, and the existe nce of laboratories will fade from consideration. Instead, 'ideas,' 'theories,' and 'reasons' will take their place. (Latour and Woolgar 69) Implicit in "the existence of laboratories" are the social relations which allowed the knowledge to surface. The scientific repl ication of knowledge, however, obscures this through the progression whereby "a n important feature of fact construction is the process whereby 'social' factors disappear once a fact is established" (Lat our and Woolgar 23). Science thus becomes a category which will not play with others. It evolves a process which maintains the replication of disciplinary difference and "[s]cien tists thus appear to operate scientifically because they are scientists" (Latour and Woolgar 153). Although this is an obvious tautology, it reveals the da nger of categorization as this is precisely what categorization works to uphold. The same process is repeated in the humanities, although on the surface by apparently different means: [The field coverage model's] great advantage was to make the department and curriculum virtually self-regulating. By assigning each instructor a commonly understood role--to cover a pr edefined period or field --the principle created a system in which the job of instruction could proceed as if on automatic pilot, without the need for instructor s to debate aims and methods. . It is only the fieldcoverage principle that e xplains how the lite rature department has managed to avoid paralyzing clashes of ideology during a period when it has preserved much of its earlier traditional orient ation while incorporating disruptive novelties such as contemporary literature, black studies, feminism, Marxism, and deconstruction. (Graff, Professing 7). The field-coverage model, which attempts to account for variety, can appear to escape categorization--within that particular discipline If English has specialists for every area,

PAGE 42

35 then it appears to be looking beyond the scope of English, or at least a narrow conception of English. However, the field-coverage m odel actually enforces the categorization of English even further. It does this by forcing "English" specialties. Humanities departments are also dependent on social relations in order to produce their work: the workers build on the work of other research ers (this paper is a perfect example) to make their argument. They then take that new argument as evidence of something "new" they have created, seemingl y out of thin air, because the new then becomes the basis of a different stepping off point. The new, though, serves to replicate disciplinary difference as it (typically) stays within the confines of that discipline: "Literature thus tends to be placed outside or above the sphere of practical affairs; the stress on formal esthetic properties moves it in the direction of art-for-art's-sake. At the same time, the professionalization of literary criticism--its academic 'disciplining'--has separated it also from the realm of social pr actice" (Brantlinger 68). This is the catch-22 of categories: they demand attention no matte r how you try to recast them. As long as you still accept a categorical premise, you are unable to escape working within that paradigm. This is not to say that the para digm must be throw out completely; rather, changing how we think about categorical premis es can give us the ability to negotiate those premises and draw new ones based on the production of knowledge. This same process is repeated within other disciplines in the humanities and beyond as well; it is not unique to literature because what is being reflected is the replication of disciplinary difference, which is applicable beyond narrow disciplinary definitions. Within the university, cultural studies attempts to break down some of these entrenched notions of knowledge. It does so by locating meaning in various locations

PAGE 43

36 and by looking for fissures in ways meaning ge ts written (Brantlinger 16-17). I believe this emphasis on interconnecti on is useful for breaking down the delusion of severance-so long as individual subjectivity does not get written away in the process. Situated knowledge can be used here as one of the ways we write meaning--and difference. Cultural studies also emphasizes "breaking down intellectual barriers to culture and forging new patterns of intellectual and politic al critique both w ithin and outside the university. A renewed cultural criticism ought to look beyond the isolated text to the creation of oppositional forms that are simulta neously academic and public, literary and political" (Brantlinger 21). Brantlinger's call for critique inside and outside the university is helpful for envisioning ways that connect ions could be forged between the two, but only once both are first recognized for their constituted difference. Brantlinger easily links "academic and public, literary and political in his vision without first considering the internal organization of those struct ures and how they produce knowledge. One cannot transform into another without considering both how they are constituted as categories and who composes them. The work produced within each discipline reflects the organization of the discipline: the knowledge produced works to sustai n this structure. The same can be said for the university as a whole, as "[t]oday, all departments of the University can be urged to strive for excellence, since the general applic ability of the notion is in direct relation to its emptiness" (Readings 23). Of course people want to be excellent, produce riveting papers, conduct breakthrough experiments, and so on. However, when this production is taken out of context and held up as a resu lt of the triumph of knowledge, little is

PAGE 44

37 accomplished. Individuals are removed from th is process and trumped by how their work "contributes to the conversation." Activists and the Production of Knowledge A prevailing myth about activism is that that is all it is a bout--action. More importantly, the myth maintains the idea that people simply gather together about something they are passionate about and then "do" something about it. They may have to do some internal strategizing, but the action evolves naturally due to the work of the activists. However, this is hardly the case. The apparent ease with which this action takes place covers the process whereby it is po ssible: an incredible amount of research and theorizing must take place first. On January 1, 1994, the date of the beginni ng of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Zapatistas began an armed uprising in the Mexican state of Chiapas that "was the first denunciation of a 'n ew world order' from the viewpoint of that order's victims" (Hayden 2). This upri sing would have been impossible without the previous years of organizati on and theorizing by its members. The figurehead of the movement, Subcomandante Marcos, describes ho w the position of the Zapatistas differs from other uprisings: "In previous armies, sold iers used their time to clean their weapons and stock up ammunition. Our weapons are wo rds, and we may need our arsenal at any moment" ("Hourglass" 12). Th e Zapatistas draw on the power of demystification to give power to their activism. Ra ther than succumbing to de nunciations of action without thought, they consciously expose th eir processes for scrutiny. Certainly, they invoke this method as delib erately in the production of knowledge as do methods meant to obscure. However, their self-revelatory process exposes their undergirding:

PAGE 45

38 Speaking and listening is how true men and women learn to walk. It is the word that gives form to the walk that goes on inside us. It is the word that is the bridge to cross to the other side. Silence is what Power offers our pain in order to make us small. When we are silenced, we remain very much alone. Speaking, we heal the pain. Speaking, we accompany one another. Power uses the word to impose his empire of silence. We use the word to renew ourselves. Power uses silence to hide his crimes. We use silence to listen to one another, to touch one another, to know one another. This is the weapon, brothers and sisters. We say, the word remains. We speak the word. We shout the word. We raise the word and with it break the silence of our people. We kill the sile nce by living the word. Let us leave Power alone in what the lie speaks and hushes. Let us join together in the word and the silence which liberate. (Marcos, "Word" 76) Marcos's repetition of the word throughout his actions and writings (which are inseparable), show us how an exposure of the processes leads into ne w forms of activism. It also places individuals and their experiences solidly in th e forefront of their movement. Marcos is suspected to be a "former" academic, a Marxist whose academic status is "former" only because he no longer work s within a university. Unquestionably, no matter who he is, Marcos's recognition of the similarities between thought and action, academia and activism, fostered the Zapatis tas: "He wrote in a torrent, producing hundreds of texts, quickly disproving Hannah Arendt's claim that 'under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act th an to think.' In less than twelve months, during sleepless sessions on the word processor in the midst of fighting a war, [Marcos] generated enough text for a 300-page volume" (Stavans 389). He produced all this wr iting to explain the Zapatistas' demands, communicate with people outside the movement, and as or more importantly, to engage with people who are drawn by that. The written word became a seductive tool for taking the Zapatistas beyond another group of indigenous people who could easily be dismissed. The Zapatistas co mbine the power of action and the power of the word to amplify both.

PAGE 46

39 This amplification occurs because the combination of power and action relies upon the similarities between the production of know ledge. Marcos would have been unable to maximize the processes of academia and activis m without working with their similarities in production. The similarities allowed hi m to see how the two categories could communicate with each other, rather than is olate each other, and then the Zapatistas began to build a movement. The Zapatista upr ising was not solely activist or academic; instead, it was both. Similarly, from November 28-Decemb er 3, 1999, the WTO protests relied on months of research: "WTO week in Seattl e was a week of scholarship" (Thomas 13). The protestors built on the prior knowledge of each group present a nd then worked to accumulate new information about how to protest the WTO most effectively. So many groups participated in this prot est that it is impossible to name them all. However, what is possible is imagining the interconnection necessary for such a protest to succeed. While they did rely on social relati onships to accomplish their work, Noam Chomsky points out that other fact ors were necessary for success: The highly successful demons tration of 'people's power' at the World Trade Organization provides impressive testimony to the effectiveness of educational and organizing efforts designed for the long term, carried out w ith dedication and persistence, based on op en and honest interchange, and guided by careful evaluation of attainable goals and future prospects. (qtd. in Danaher and Burbach 13) As with the Zapatistas, the WT O protestors in Seattle reli ed on a network of knowledge to achieve their goal of shutting down th e WTO talks. The emphasis on education present in Seattle allowed the protestors to consider what they were doing and why. Again, though, the protests were neither enti rely academic nor activ ist. The protests

PAGE 47

40 relied on the processes of both to work with such a complex number of issues, groups, and individuals. These two examples show how groups seemingly focused only on action-especially if they are observed through the le ns of the media--rely on more. When we see a protest on television, all we see is the action. We forget (or ne ver realize) just as easily as the process of categorization wants us to that the production of knowledge never emerges from a puff of smoke. What's the Point? The question of "why are we doing this again?" sneaks up in unsettling ways for both academics and activists. Both academic s and activists often work, in their own ways, on similar issues. However, if they're both producing knowledge, then some questions quickly become forgotten as th ey are caught up in th e process of that production: "So far as the concept of producti on is concerned, it does not become fully concrete or take on a true content until replie s have been given to the questions that it makes possible: 'Who produces?', 'What?', 'H ow?', 'Why and for whom?' Outside the context of these questions and their answer s, the concept of production remains purely abstract" (Lefebvre 69). If we begin to answer these questions then we can begin to make the production of knowledge more concrete. So our question now is, "what are these people doing, and why?" In bell hooks's Talking Back she gives voice to voice: changing from object to subject and speaking for oneself. Speaking b ecomes both a way to e ngage in active selftransformation and a rite of passage where one moves from object to subject: "Only as subjects can we speak. As objects, we remain voiceless--our beings defined and interpreted by othe rs" (hooks 12). In Talking Back, hooks creates a conscious discussion

PAGE 48

41 between herself, her reader(s), her text, he r ideas, and back and forth and in between. She does this to maintain her goal that "[v]isi onary feminist theory must be articulated in a manner that is accessible if it is to have meaningful impact" (hooks 39). This question of accessibility delves into the problem of breaking down categories. Accessible to whom? Accordi ng to whose definition? hooks is quick to point out that her goal "as a femi nist thinker and theorist is to take that abstraction and articulate it in a language th at renders it accessible--not less complex or rigorous--but simply more accessible" (hooks 39). When we think about accessibility we often think of giving more people the ability to render so mething available to them: "[a]ccess has a physical connotation--approaching, entering, using. The idea of access is represented metaphorically as passages through doors a nd gates, over obstacles, barriers, and blockages" (Scott 178). Thinking about access phys ically is especially interesting in light of a challenge to break down categories--ano ther physical metaphor. Accessibility, like categorization, becomes tricky when left undefi ned. The idea is enticing that we can make our work, no matter what it is, accessible to others (implicitly--make it matter to others). However, the definition of acces sibility changes depending on who gives it. Some people may define accessibility in terms of access for others in the discipline whereas others may define it as instit utional access--and anyt hing in between. Accessibility functions as a ca tegory because it appears to be relatively simple, but that simplicity masks its underlying processes. Another question related to accessibility seems to be, why write a paper about how social change is, say, reflected in contemporary novels (or the connection between academia and activism), when you could work on actually effecting that change? Why

PAGE 49

42 am I writing this paper rather than "doing" something about the problem I perceive? The answer is simple--because I can. Yet, this is really not a simple answer. The fact remains that, while I can produce this paper, it cannot produce itself. It needs me, it needs the work of other people, and it need s the work of my discipline. In other words, it requires social processes; this is not the exception, it is the norm. And while I can just turn this paper in as the next step on my academic j ourney and move on without giving it a second thought, I cannot remove it from the production of knowledge. Even if only a handful of people read this paper, it has al ready interacted in this pro cess because I have engaged in the (multiple) steps necessary for it. So how does this paper "do" something in its own way? And more importantly, why "should" it? Perhaps we are asking too much of categories. They do not need to interact--they already do. This paper "doe s" something by interacting in the production of knowledge, which meets up with many ot her forms of "doing": other academic disciplinary work and various forms of ac tivism. The production of knowledge is the common ground between forms of thinking and do ing--it is where th ey get tossed around and formed into new conceptions of each.

PAGE 50

43 CHAPTER 5 "WE'LL MEET UP SOMEWHERE": THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM Categorization works to maintain disciplina ry difference. However, as we have seen, exposing the processes which lead to the production of knowledge can help us move beyond categorization. This is not to say that academia and activism "should" meet in the middle. Rather, it acknowledges how they already do meet by virtue of their participation in the production of knowledge. It locates their differe nce in the category in order to examine how it constitutes those invol ved. This also allows those involved to see their similarities and uncover thei r own work from a new perspective. Moving from "Academia" to Academia Cherre Moraga begins Loving in the War Years with the sometimes frightening admission/reminder that "[o]n some level you have to be willing to lose it all to write--to risk telling the truth that no one may want to hear, even you" (Moraga xii). While this point of situated knowledge lets her reader know that she is going to position herself within the contexts of her experience, it also implies an action that may or may not be present. Moraga tends to conflate writing and action, but she does not break down the category of action in her work. Moraga addresses the difficulty of theory and praxis at numerous points throughout her work: [t]he university allows a benign liberalis m, even a healthy degree of radical transgressive thought, as long as it remains just that: thought translated into the conceptual language of the dominant class to be consumed by academics of the dominant class, and as such rendered usele ss to the rest of us If the study of

PAGE 51

44 insurrection must occur with in the conceptual framework and economic constraints of the patron-university--e.g., tenure tracking, corporate-funded grants and fellowships, publishing requirements, et c.--insurrection can never be fully conceived and certainly ne ver realized. (Moraga 173) Moraga's anger with academia comes thr ough clearly here; however, I believe that her disconnect comes from categorization. Sh e points out that the university allows varying degrees of thought, as long as it is "just that: thought …[which is then] rendered useless to the rest of us." A number of categorical assump tions beleaguer this statement: first of all, she assumes what is "supposed" to get done in a university setting. Rather that assessing it for how it creat es meaning, she tries to merg e it with activism. Second, she assumes that just thought cannot provoke action on its own and that thought is not a form of action. Third, she aligns herself with "the rest of us" when she also works/has worked within the confines of the university and is thus at least a part of both groups she identifies. She also presumes that the "study of in surrection must occur" at all, much less within the confines of the uni versity, and then she points out that "insurrection can never be . realized" within that paradigm. Her equation of study with insurrection counteracts her own construction of privileging action. Here I have my devil's advocate hat on to show how by not first interrogating the categories she so urgently wants to change, she writes herself into a situation wh ich really can never be realized. She does not look at how activism itself is also a site of knowledge production which can be critiqued and utilized. Nonetheless, Moraga does retain some hope for the university: "There are exceptional students and exceptional faculty. There are remarkable moments where 'critical consciousness,' . . is awakened, where the most visionary and dangerous of

PAGE 52

45 faculty inspire thoughts that di rectly affect the bodies si tting in front of them. The bodies think. They stand up. They are not afraid of freedom. They act (Moraga 186). However, even this hope is misleading as she places it onto bodies that "act" while never defining the difference between those excepti onal students who think and those who act-or those who think and act. Moraga make s a mistake in writing the hope onto bodies rather than first breaking down the categorie s, because she gives no definition of what their action is or how it may be "better" th an not acting (or what action means). By avoiding the issue of the value sh e instills in action she is able to invoke it in the name of change in the university without considering how that change could occur and how it became desirable. Leslie Salzinger attempts to bridge th e problem of categorization in her work, Genders in Production In the beginning of the text sh e is very candid with the reader about her position as a writer and a researcher: It would be unbearably ironic to embark on such an investigat ion without placing oneself within the panorama. Thus, as observer and analys t, both in the field and in my writing, I attempt to define my position and to keep that position apparent. This is not because the book is about me. It is not. Rather, in clarifying my location, I give the reader the chance to understand th e social/intellectual vantage point from which this story is told. (Salzinger 2) She conducts research in four maquiladoras in Mexico and works there in order to gain insight into how gender subj ectivities are formed through the work. Her standpoint, therefore, produces the knowledge in the text as much as (if not more than) that of the workers she encounters. She tries to move from "Academia" to academia through references to the political aspect of her work. By engaging her work outside the university, Salzinger sees her work as somehow useful outside it.

PAGE 53

46 In her conclusion she describes her visi on of how the information she gathered might be used: Understanding the selves management a ddresses and evokes makes it possible to speak directly to the subjects actually work ing. It also makes a particular version of consciousness-raising availa ble as an organizing tool, as activists themselves can come to see and make visible the processes through which gendered 'manageability' is generated under exploitative conditions. (Salzinger 165) Even though this description does move towards a common ground between academia and activism, it still retains a discontinuity. There is a disjuncture between what the academic "can do" and what the activist "can do" in this co nstruction. Here the activist "can come to see" only with the academic 's knowledge. She can act only with the academic's help. Salzinger does not open space for the knowledge the activist also produces and brings to meet with the academic's knowledge and action. Salzinger's work comes close to brea king down the categories of academia and activism, but in order to move beyond categoriz ation into a site of possibility we must take her conjectures a step further. Bo th academia and activism produce knowledge at the categorical level and at the level of individuals. Th is dual meaning requires a new focus. It requires attention to individual standpoint while concu rrently envisioning both academia and activism as producers of knowledge. Rather than forcing one category into the other, which inherently va lues one over the other, this formula allows for difference because it acknowledges the role of both in the creation of meaning. This new focus opens a common ground between and within acad emia and activism that individuals on both "sides" can navigate. Moving from "Activism" to Activism Within activism, breaking down categor ization requires not only movement between movements but also movement with in movements. This means that those

PAGE 54

47 involved must be willing to engage both thei r social relations and their theorizing with multiple layers of people in or der to connect their work across--not only activism--but other arenas as well. "Activism" become s activism when it looks beyond its categorical boundaries and moves into an organization of knowledge processes th at translate within and beyond categories. For the Zapatistas, Subcomandante Marc os became "a one-man Web: he is a compulsive communicator, constantly reach ing out, drawing connections between different issues and struggles" (Klei n, "Unknown" 119). Through this constant communication, he is able to draw in supporters for his movement. He is also able to generate support for a ne w kind of movement, one based on communication: [Marcos] has created his own dazzling image as a masked mito genial --his term, meaning an inspired act of mythmaking. He has staged a very real, threatening war on the Mexican state based on almost no fire power and a brilliant use of Mexicans' most resonant images: the Revolution, th e peasants' unending struggle for dignity and recognition, the betrayed Em iliano Zapata. (Guillermoprieto 37) The Zapatistas' move towards communication allows them to extend their movement-even into new ones. Their emphasis on co mmunication underlines the connections made at the production of knowledge by doing ju st that: communicating. This is not a tautology; rather, this assertion shows how the Zapatistas work to expose their work-how it comes about, for whom, and by whom As they assert how they produce knowledge, they in turn open new avenues for their work because they do not limit its capacity. The Zapatistas informed other movements that followed them through their strategy of communication: The Zapatista movement has generated m ovements of solidarity across the world. At one level it has coalesced around a de fense of the oppressed--the exemplary victims of neoliberalism and corporate gree d. That is their symbolic power. An

PAGE 55

48 anarchist friend of mine sugge sted to me after Seattle th at 'this was all because of the Zapatistas.' Did he mean their example? In part that is what he meant--but beyond that he saw them as representatives of a new politics. Zapatismo does not seek power, only justice; Zapatismo doe s not acknowledge leaders, but it is democratic in the extreme; Zapatismo is not a party, but a living and changing movement; Zapatismo has used the Internet to create an international connection between all those who reject capitalism red in tooth and claw. (Gonzalez 449-450) In short, Zapatismo lays the groundwork fo r exposing the process of the production of knowledge. It does this by placing knowledge in the context from which it came and exposing the hidden "how." It moves from "Activism" to activism by decentralizing categorization and centering the production of knowledge. The sheer number of groups participati ng in the WTO protest in Seattle required at least some participation between movements: "It's esti mated that at least 700 groups were represented at the WTO de monstrations in Seattle. Mo st of the groups represented civil society; they were not affiliated w ith governments, although some were agencies that were affiliated with the United Nations" (Thomas 66). This wide network worked to achieve a number of goals in Seattle. It also worked to move beyond Seattle as groups worked together in new ways and were able to take that interaction to Washington, DC and elsewhere: The mass, nonviolent protests in Seattle represented th e culmination of a monthslong process of coalition building by organi zations that did not initially all know, understand or trust each other. We got to know each other as we discussed the politics of trade and investment, and discu ssed strategies for confronting the WTO. We won mutual trust and resp ect as we debated tactics. We became one movement as we took classes in civil disobedience tactics, and laid th e foundation for legal defense. That collective and democra tic process made possible the unity among environmentalists, labor unionists and ma ny others--groups who had not always worked so well together in the past. (Benjamin 68) The strategizing and theorizing that took pl ace before Seattle refl ects the protestors' dedication to building a new kind of knowledge --one that looks for connections beyond categories.

PAGE 56

49 Connection between academia and activis m give us the chance to look at similarities within and between movements, disciplines, ideas, etc. It gives us a new conceptualization of our own work in the c ontext of others. Rather than viewing our work from the named label, academia or activism, we can view it from something connectedly new. This removes the presump tion that we all already know what is going on in any area.

PAGE 57

50 CHAPTER 6 "WE LIKE IT. WHO ELSE MATTERS?": CONCLUSION For both academics and activists, a big quest ion has to be audience. For whom are we producing this work? Even when the production of knowledge is not placed in its context, audience is an issue. Sometimes it doe s get lost in the shuffle as the demands of material production usurp it, but we always think in the back of our minds, "who will read this paper?", or even better, "who cares about th is at all?" A focus on the production of knowledge, rather than the replication of disciplinary difference, will allow the question of audien ce (and accessibility) to emerge more fully. It will do so by shifting the focus off a part icular category, and thus a narrow idea of why and for whom we do this work, and will enable us to work with and for more people. This will allow us to contextualize our work, and the production of knowledge, even further. As the production of knowledge moves from replication to transformation and as individual standpoints move to the forefront then we can move towards a connection between academia and activism. With connection, we can see knowledge on a continuum, rather than as something that is produced in a disciplinary vacuum (whatever your discipline may be). When we see knowle dge on a continuum, we can include more people in our conceptions of knowledge and see that people already "c are" about what we do because they are already working on it themse lves with varying shades of nuance. We may not be able to save the world through graduate school, bu t we can begin to take hold of the possibility already there

PAGE 58

51 LIST OF REFERENCES Althusser, Louis. "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses." Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays Trans. Ben Brewster. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001. "Anne O. Krueger: Biographical Information." International Monetary Fund 22 Feb. 2004. 18 Mar. 2005. . Barthes, Roland. Mythologies Trans. Annette Lavers. New York: The Noonday Press, 1957. Benjamin, Medea. "The Debate Over Tactics." Danaher and Burbach 67-72. Brantlinger, Patrick. Crusoe's Footprints New York: Routledge, 1990. Chomsky, Noam. "The Responsib ility of Intellectuals." The Dissenting Academy Ed. Theodore Roszak. New York: Vintage Books, 1968. Danaher, Kevin and Roger Burbach. Globalize This! The Battle Against the World Trade Organization and Corporate Rule Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2000. Essoglou, Tracy Ann. "Louder than Word s: A WAC Chronicle." Felshin 333-372. Featherstone, Liza, Doug Henwood, and Christ ian Parenti. "Beyond Activistism: Why We Need Deeper Thinking in our Protests." Utne Nov-Dec 2004: 72-75. Felshin, Nina. Introduction. But is it Art? Nina Felshin, ed. S eattle: Bay Press, 1995. Fish, Stanley. Professional Correctness : Literary Studies and Political Change New York: Clarendon P, 1995. Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2001. Gonzalez, Mike. "The Zapatistas: The Challe nges of Revolution in a New Millenium." Hayden 430-452. Graff, Gerald. Clueless in Academe New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2003. ---. Professing Literature Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993

PAGE 59

52 Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks Trans. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith. New Yo rk: International Publishers, 1995. Guillermoprieto, Alma. "The Unmasking." Hayden 33-45. Guillory, John. Cultural Capital Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993. Haraway, Donna. "A Cyborg Manifesto: Scien ce, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991: 149-181. 28 Nov. 2004. . ---. "Situated Knowledges: The Science Qu estion in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective." Feminist Studies 14.3 (1988): 575-599. PCI Full Text George Smathers Library, U of Florida. 1 Nov 2004. Harding, Sandra. "Is ther e a Feminist Method?" Feminism and Methodology Sandra Harding, ed. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1987. 28 Nov. 2004. . Hayden, Tom, ed. The Zapatista Reader New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002. ---. Introduction. Hayden 3-7. hooks, bell. Talking Back. Boston: South End Press, 1989. Kauffman, L.A. "A Short History of Radical Renewa l." Shepard and Hayduk 35-40. Klein, Naomi. "The Unknown Icon." Hayden 114-123. ---. "The Vision Thing: Were the DC and Seattle Protests Unfocused, or are Critics Missing the Point?" Shepard and Hayduk 265-273. Latour, Bruno and Steve Woolgar. Laboratory Life: The Construc tion of Scientific Facts Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1986. Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1991. Marcos, Subcomandante Insurgente. Our Word is Our Weapon Ed. Juana Ponce de Len. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001. ---. "The Hourglass of the Zapatistas." Mertes 3-15. ---. "The Word and the Silence." Marcos 75-77. Mertes, Tom, ed. A Movement of Movements New York: Verso, 2004.

PAGE 60

53 Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholar ship and Colonial Discourses." Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Ann Russo, and Lourdes Torres, Eds. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1991. Moraga, Chrrie L. Loving in the War Years Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2000 Naples, Nancy A. Feminism and Method New York: Routledge, 2003. Pessin, Al. "Bush Nominates Wolfowitz to be President of World Bank." Voice of America 16 Mar. 2005. 18 Mar. 2005. . Readings, Bill. The University in Ruins Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1996. Riley, Denise. "Am I That Name?" Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1988 Salk, Jonas. Introduction. Latour and Woolgar 11-14. Salzinger, Leslie. Genders in Production Berkeley: UC Press, 2003. Scott, Joan Wallach. Gender and the Politics of History New York: Columbia UP, 1999. Shepard, Benjamin and Ronald Hayduk, Eds. From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization New York: Verso, 2002. Starhawk. "How We Really Shut Do wn the WTO." Shepard and Hayduk 52-56. Stavans, Ilan. "Unmasking Marcos." Hayden 386-395. Thomas, Janet. The Battle in Seattle: The Story Behind and Beyond the WTO Demonstrations. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2000. Trend, David. "Cultural Struggl e and Educational Activism." Art, Actism, and Oppositionality Grant H. Kester., ed. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1998. Watkins, Evan. Work Time Stanford: Stanford UP, 1989.

PAGE 61

54 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Anna Lee Guest graduated from Carson-Newman College with a B.A. in English and philosophy. She will receive her M.A. in E nglish from the University of Florida in May 2005. She plans to continue her work in Fl orida's Ph.D. program in the fall of 2005. This June, Anna will marry Nic Jelley and spend the summer relaxing. These are her happiest plans.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0010495/00001

Material Information

Title: Uncovering our work : the production of knowledge in academia and activism
Physical Description: vii, 54 p.
Language: English
Creator: Guest, Anna Lee ( Dissertant )
Hegeman, Susan E. ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2005
Copyright Date: 2005

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: English thesis, M.A   ( local )
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- English   ( local )

Notes

Abstract: Uncovering Our Work: The Production of Knowledge in Academia and Activism This thesis considers the disconnect between academia and activism. It attempts to open a conversation about how the two can, and do, connect at the production of knowledge. While both produce different kinds of knowledge by different means on the surface, it is the similarities in the production process that allow both to move beyond repeating what already happens in their discipline and begin to break down disciplinary difference. In order to think through these ideas, the thesis discusses a number of academic and activist figures and groups, including Denise Riley; bell hooks; Noam Chomsky; Women's Action Coalition; Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas; and the Seattle WTO Protestors. Recognition of the similarities between academia and activism may allow both not only to communicate with each other but to better understand their own work as well.
Subject: academia, activism, knowledge, production, university
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 61 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2005.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0010495:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0010495/00001

Material Information

Title: Uncovering our work : the production of knowledge in academia and activism
Physical Description: vii, 54 p.
Language: English
Creator: Guest, Anna Lee ( Dissertant )
Hegeman, Susan E. ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2005
Copyright Date: 2005

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: English thesis, M.A   ( local )
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- English   ( local )

Notes

Abstract: Uncovering Our Work: The Production of Knowledge in Academia and Activism This thesis considers the disconnect between academia and activism. It attempts to open a conversation about how the two can, and do, connect at the production of knowledge. While both produce different kinds of knowledge by different means on the surface, it is the similarities in the production process that allow both to move beyond repeating what already happens in their discipline and begin to break down disciplinary difference. In order to think through these ideas, the thesis discusses a number of academic and activist figures and groups, including Denise Riley; bell hooks; Noam Chomsky; Women's Action Coalition; Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas; and the Seattle WTO Protestors. Recognition of the similarities between academia and activism may allow both not only to communicate with each other but to better understand their own work as well.
Subject: academia, activism, knowledge, production, university
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 61 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2005.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0010495:00001


This item has the following downloads:


Full Text












UNCOVERING OUR WORK: THE PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE IN
ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM













By

ANNA LEE GUEST


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005





























Copyright 2005

by

Anna Lee Guest

































For the best fiance with one e.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Susan Hegeman for giving me the encouragement and

space to begin and finish this project. Her questions and suggestions help me think more

critically about both my work and my future, and for that I am forever grateful. I would

also like to thank Dr. Apollo Amoko for his insightful critique with this project.

I must thank my academic partner-in-crime, Sarah Bleakney, for seeing me through

the past two years. Michele Sampson, Christine McIsaac, Kachina Domenick, and Nora

Spencer (the notorious sewing circle) have provided me with so much happiness, even

(and especially) on days when I'm "over it."

Deepest thanks go to my parents, James and Linda Guest, and to my sister, Julia

Guest, for their unfailing support. Finally, I thank my fiance, Nic Jelley. His listening

during the many phases of this project has been more crucial than anything else. His

encouragement and love remind me that the possibility I hope for is already within my

reach.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

A B S T R A C T ...................................................................................................................... v ii

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C T IO N ........ .. ......................................... ..........................................1.

Saving the World through Graduate School: "Hey, Why Not?" .............................. 2
W here C would W e G o From H ere? ........................................................... ...............4...

2 "WE WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS ": ACADEMICS,
ACTIVISTS, AND CATEGORICAL DIFFERENCE ...................... ..................... 8

C ateg o riz atio n ....................................................................................................... ... 8
"A cadem ia" and "A ctivism ....................................... ........................ ............... 13
The A cadem ic/A activist D ivide ..................................... ...................... ............... 14
T he D raw of C ategorization ....................................... ........................ ............... 19

3 "I'LL DO IT MY WAY; THANK YOU": INDIVIDUALS IN ACADEMIA AND
A C T IV IS M ................................................................................................................ 2 0

Standpoint E pistem ology ........................................... ......................... ................ 2 1
Individuals in A ctivism ... ................................................................................ 22
Individuals in A cadem ia .................................................................. ................ 24
F orcing A cadem ia/A ctivism ........................................ ....................... ................ 26

4 "HOW DOES SHE DO IT?": PRODUCING KNOWLEDGE IN ACADEMIA
A N D A C T IV ISM ....................................................................................................... 29

P reduction and K now ledge.................................................................... ................ 29
Academics and the Production of Knowledge.......................................................32
Activists and the Production of Knowledge ............... ....................................37
W h at's th e P o in t? ........................................................................................................ 4 0










5 "WE'LL MEET UP SOMEWHERE": THE CONNECTION BETWEEN
A CA D EM IA A N D A C TIV ISM .................................................................................43

M moving from "A cadem ia" to A cadem ia .....................................................................43
Moving from "Activism" to Activism ...................................................46

6 "WE LIKE IT. WHO ELSE MATTERS?": CONCLUSION ..............................50

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ................................................................................................... 5 1

BIO GR A PH ICAL SK ETCH .................................................................... ................ 54















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

UNCOVERING OUR WORK: THE PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE IN
ACADEMIA AND ACTIVISM

By

Anna Lee Guest

May 2005

Chair: Susan Hegeman
Major Department: English

This thesis considers the disconnect between academia and activism. It attempts

to open a conversation about how the two can, and do, connect at the production of

knowledge. While both produce different kinds of knowledge by different means on the

surface, it is the similarities in the production process that allow both to move beyond

repeating what already happens in their discipline and begin to break down disciplinary

difference.

In order to think through these ideas, the thesis discusses a number of academic

and activist figures and groups, including Denise Riley; bell hooks; Noam Chomsky;

Women's Action Coalition; Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatistas; and the Seattle

WTO Protestors. Recognition of the similarities between academia and activism may

allow both not only to communicate with each other but to better understand their own

work as well.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

For the past year (and probably longer), I've felt a disconnect in my life. I

pursued a route of study I was excited about and challenged by, but I felt that for all the

angsty effort I put into my reading and writing, my scholarly work was not "doing"

enough. I had a sneaking suspicion that my work should simultaneously be acceptable

within academia and then change the world outside it too. Of course, I had no idea how

this might happen.

I have to make my way anew in this work every day; I am not entrenched. Not

only am I not entrenched, but I feel an intense pull between my desire to "act" and my

desire to interrogate the institutional structures which precipitate the need for action. In

other words, I seriously considered dropping out of my graduate program.

However, existential crisis aside, I began to consider why I felt this disparity, and

why I felt it so deeply. This struggle between academia and activism is written onto

individual subjects in a way that is rarely discussed in conversations about what academia

"should be" and what activism "should be." These shouldd" usually speak to theoretical

ground and rarely, if ever, invoke real subjects; that is, of course, unless it is as a

theoretical exercise.

The shouldd" bring us to a major problem: why "should" academia and activism

coincide at all? This is less of a question of "should" than "could," but again the question

is why. Why not just let academics do their "thing" and let activists do theirs and be done

with the whole mess? That would certainly make this project easier.









In Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections, one of the main characters, Chip, is a

failing English professor who struggles with the "point" of his work:

He'd never quite realized how seriously he'd taken his father's injunction to do work
that was "useful" to society. Criticizing a sick culture, even if the criticism
accomplished nothing, had always felt like useful work. But if the supposed
sickness wasn't a sickness at all ... then there was no longer even the most abstract
utility to his criticism. It was all, in Melissa's word, bullshit. (Franzen 44-45)

Chip's crisis reflects the problem of categorization. Chip is trapped inside "Academia"

with all the stereotypes that go along with categories that start with capital letters. He

wants "people" to recognize his work as "useful," but, in this passage, he realizes that he

doesn't know who those people are or how that may happen. Clearly, "people" are not

listening to him like they "should." But what does that mean? Ideas about who can and

should listen to you and what your work can and should do begin and end with

categorization. How can Chip make his work "mean" something?

Saving the World through Graduate School: "Hey, Why Not?"

How can I make my work "mean" something? Better yet, what is my work? I

began my graduate school career a scant two years ago. I leapt directly from

undergraduate to graduate work, and I did that in the heady air of idealism. I did my

undergraduate work in English and philosophy. I attended a very small liberal arts

college where I talked with my professors and my fellow classmates about our ideas

constantly. This same group was involved in work outside the classroom too: we wrote

letters for Amnesty International, we protested at the local nuclear plant, we each did

individual work in the community, we fought for a liberal arts education against

impending threats from outsiders, and we did more. It seemed that everyone had a stake

in the university and in the community and that there was no other way: one informed the

other. It never really occurred to me, in that setting, that this was particularly unusual.









However, this did more than just occur to me when I came to graduate school. It

blindsided me. No longer did the connection between university and community seem so

effortless. Now the expectations seemed to be more insular. Oh, how I cringe when I

think about my naivete. I chose to continue my graduate work in an English department

rather than in a Philosophy department because I saw it as a place more willing to engage

with ideas outside its own discipline. What I realize now is that this is true, but that this

does not mean what I thought it might. Throughout this argument I will use the

humanities as my primary context for the academy because it is what I know best.

However, I think the problem of categorization is built into every department of the

university, regardless of its subject of study. Although English is willing to engage with

Philosophy, Anthropology, Women's Studies, Art History, History, Linguistics,

Comparative Literature, Film and Media Studies, and on and on, and oftentimes even

encompasses these disciplines, it still remains first and foremost an academic discipline.

I had hoped, when embarking upon a career in English, that I could take all the

ideas I work with inside this academic discipline and use them to do more than just talk

to other academics--who are as invested as I am in producing more papers. My

disappointment and dilemma come from categorization because I see how academia and

activism can and do communicate on the same level in many ways.

I am not interested in encouraging academics to become activists or vice versa.

Oftentimes a discussion about academia and activism comes out in the theory vs. praxis

debate. While I find that interesting for a discussion about work within academia, I think

that it is self-defeating for this project because it does not look to how or why academia

and activism even could do something like that. I am interested in thinking about how









and why people (myself included) who are working on similar issues, but under different

guises (academia vs. activism), can begin to talk to each other about how what they are

doing is similar. I hope that this can open a dialogue and perhaps offer new ways of

understanding our work.

Where Could We Go From Here?

Academia and activism do coincide in obvious and subtle ways. However, we

must be careful first to define the projects of these academics and activists. Not all

academics who work outside the academy are activists on the left (just as not all activists

are on the left); there is also a revolving door between academia and government.

President Bush has just nominated Paul Wolfowitz to become the new president of the

World Bank: duringig the Clinton administration he was the Dean of the prestigious

School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University" (Pessin). Also,

the current First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF),

Anne 0. Krueger, who is the second in command there,

was the Herald L. and Caroline L. Ritch Professor in Humanities and Sciences in
the Department of Economics at Stanford University. She was also the founding
Director of Stanford's Center for Research on Economic Development and Policy
Reform; and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution. Ms Krueger had previously
taught at the University of Minnesota and Duke University. ("Anne")

Although academia and activism do coincide, we must be careful to define their

endeavors.

The idea that these fields are so radically different that they must be narrowly

defined so that everyone knows what they are doing--or should be doing--to continue

with their work is one of mystification. This is not a project of how to make better

academics/activists; instead, it is a project of demystification. For this reason, I avoid a

narrow definition of "academia" or "activism." I want to avoid the categorization that I









critique in this paper. Rather than saying what "academia" or "activism" are, I want to

consider how their comparable processes of the production of knowledge connect them.

These similarities often lead academics and activists into butting heads with each other

because categorization forces them to reject their similarities, or to deny they even exist.

However, this is a project of exposing the inherent similarities between activism and

academia and locating (or beginning to) ways that both academics and activists can use

these similarities to uncover their own work in innovative ways.

Many people in academia and activism today discuss the accessibility of scholarly

texts and an overarching vision for activism. While I see the impetus in these projects as

a positive move away from a narrow vision in either field, I believe they work to force

two categories into one unrealizable one, no matter who does the forcing. By avoiding

seeing academia and activism as categories with their own internal organization, which is

conducive to flexibility but not recasting, workers within each spend too much time

trying to mold one into the shape of the other without imagining a new site of possibility.

Making academics more activist and vice versa does not result in the same opportunities

for change as does revealing their similarities. The former calls for the recasting of

characters in the same old roles; the latter calls for new ways of working within those

roles.

Rather than trying to force academia to become more politically active and rather

than forcing activism to adopt a cohesive theoretical stance, perhaps a more effective

strategy is disjunction rather than conjunction. This requires recognition of their similar

stepping off point--the production of knowledge--which then diverges onto various paths.

This locus of similarity, the production of knowledge, is the site of possibility for









academia and activism for it also examines how both construct meaning. The common

ground between the two will be a common ground that identifies and works with

individual subjectivies and that places both in their cultural and historical context. This

project draws its methodology from feminist theory as it looks at how difference gets

written and how exposing difference ultimately leads to more possibility.

Academics and activists coincide at the production of knowledge. Both are

constrained in some way by production too--pressure to publish, pressure to have

demonstrable results. There is a doubling of production in this case: it is both what we do

and what is limiting. We must produce something quantifiable, but we do not realize that

we are also involved in the production of knowledge. The production of knowledge

builds on the process of material production, but it also goes beyond that in the sense that

it is not always contingent upon it. The material production reinforces disciplinary

difference; the production of knowledge moves within and beyond disciplinary

difference. If this is so, then recognizing that our work is the production of knowledge

can be effective for moving beyond narrow conceptions of both our specific area and

knowledge--seeing knowledge more on a continuum and recognizing "our" work in other

places. This shifting would, not remove knowledge from production, but open it beyond.

If, as Henri Lefebvre conjectures, "the concepts of production and the act of producing

do have a certain abstract universality," then demystifying this process for academics and

activists will allow us to take more control of the production of knowledge process; it

will allow us to become apparent in the process (15).

Last week I drove by a church and happened to glance at its marquee. Its sign

read: "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." Honestly, I'm not making that up.









While I'm not entirely sure what that means, I think I can make a pretty good guess at

what it is at least meant to connote: people should get out and "do" something rather than

sit around and think about it all day. The problem I see with this injunction, aside from

its pithy nature, is that the pithiness privileges one category (action) over another (theory)

without considering what either means--much less how they might be similar. This also

gets into the theory vs. praxis debate.

Academic production of knowledge needs to be made more transparent. The

assumption is that it is all cognitive, but it also involves social relations. Activist

production of knowledge also needs to be made more transparent. The assumption is that

it is all social relations, but it also involves cognition. This revealing process enables

academics and activists to use the production of knowledge as a means of transformation,

rather than a replication of disciplinary differences. In order to examine how this

demystification may be possible, I will examine a number of academics and activists to

consider their production of knowledge. Some of these individuals and groups include

Denise Riley, Noam Chomsky, bell hooks, Cherrie Moraga, the AIDS Coalition to

Unlease Power (ACT UP), the Women's Action Coalition (WAC), Subcomandante

Marcos and the Zapatistas, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) protesters in

Seattle.














CHAPTER 2
"WE WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS ": ACADEMICS,
ACTIVISTS, AND CATEGORICAL DIFFERENCE

In order to delve into how the similarities between academia and activism may be

uncovered, we must first look at where the connection usually breaks down. The

problem of categorization plagues a number of layers of this analysis, so the first place to

begin is with the construction of categories and the power that infuses them. Academics

and activists often get caught in the idea that their work springs forth as is solely from the

work of others in their field. This results from an acceptance of disciplinary

categorization rather than a lived mulitiplicitous reality. Instead of interrogating the

categories that house them, categorization can cause academics and activists to see their

work as polarities that work against each other for the same "cause" or "issue." Their

disciplinary differences cloud the processes which enable them to work for these issues in

the first place.

Categorization

In Gender and the Politics of History, Joan Wallach Scott conceives sex and gender

as categories which require interrogation. She articulates gender as "the knowledge that

establishes meanings for bodily differences" (Scott 2). This definition allows her to

move within the sex/gender binary in a new way because it reconceptualizes sex and

gender at the level of epistemology. Such a move works to break down the "normal"

assumptions behind the categories of sex and gender because it displaces those

assumptions; it moves them off bodies and onto categories. This also creates space for a









dialogue about how sex and gender create meaning which can then move into an

investigation of how that meaning constitutes individuals and is itself constituted.

Scott argues that "[i]f sex and gender are both taken to be concepts--forms of

knowledge--then they are closely related, if not indistinguishable. If both are knowledge,

then gender cannot be said to reflect sex or to be imposed on it; rather sex becomes an

effect of gender" (Scott 201). By asking about the effects, Scott attends to how

individuals are interpellated.

Scott's work breaks down categories which get written onto individuals. In order

to move beyond these categories she points out that "[i]f sex, gender, and sexual

difference are effects--discursively and historically produced--then we cannot take them

as points of origin for our analysis" (Scott 201-202). Scott's argument lays important

groundwork for imagining a new site of communication within academia and activism

because it foregrounds individuals within the categories that constitute them.

Feminist theory investigates the category of "women" in provocative ways which

gives us another perspective on how categories which affect individuals can be troubled.

In Am I that Name?, Denise Riley reminds us that we cannot look at "women" without

also considering historical specificity and other concepts the category is posed against--

"Nature, Class, Reason, [and] Humanity which by no means form a passive backdrop

to changing conceptions of gender" (Riley 7). "Woman" is therefore a layered category

which is irreducible to any one of the aforementioned concepts. She sets forth her

argument by asserting the unstable nature of the category of "women," which "is

historically, discursively constructed, and always relatively to other categories which

themselves change" (Riley 2). In order to prove the historical specificity of "women,"









Riley constructs a brief origin narrative of the historical and discursive construction of

the category. She does this on a broader scale by discussing how "women" became

inextricably linked with "the social" and "nature" (Riley 18-66). In both discussions she

takes care to develop how "women" did not spring forth as an already constituted

category; very particular historical and ideological processes were at work in order to fit

"women" into the framework of the moment (Riley 67-95).

She delineates the category of "women" in order to show difference. A revelation

of difference shows how meaning is created through binaries. "Women" gives people an

idea of what it "means" to be a woman. By exposing "women"--as a category--Riley

shows how the category creates meaning and how it is defined in a context. The process

of locating meaning in the category is similar for academia and activism. In order to

maintain their disciplinary difference, their difference remains in categorization. As we

unpack "academia" and "activism" as categories we will see how they constitute

academics and activists and will see how the categorical meaning is constructed, not

fixed.

Riley also considers the effects of categorization. She discusses the implications of

"women" for women when she points out that "feminism never has the option of putting

forward its own uncontaminated, self-generated understandings of 'women': its 'women'

too, is always thoroughly implicated in the discursive world" (Riley 68). She establishes

a layered context for "women," and she does not leave women or "women" from the

stratification. The naming process itself does much to constitute individually and

collectively, and women are not exempt from this. She shows how men and women and

(not passive) social processes are all responsible for naming "women" in different ways.









Naming also works against academia and activism in the ways that it consigns people,

and the discipline itself, to narrow definitions of what is acceptable. Thus, the idea of

effects gets to the crux of her argument, which is that feminism can draw on the

instability of "women" in order to negotiate difference, which creates meaning. This

understanding can then be harnessed once we break down categories and begin to peel

back their layers.

Chandra Mohanty also defines how women can become caught up in constructing

"women" in her essay "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial

Discourses." She points out the danger in feminist theory of collapsing all women into

one for the sake of a cause. While this movement can be seen to set up a prototypical

woman from which to speak about the plights of women, the danger is in assuming

"women" as a category in the first place:

What binds women together is a sociological notion of the 'sameness' of their
oppression. It is at this point that an elision takes place between 'women' as a
discursively constructed group and 'women' as material subjects of their own
history ..... This results in an assumption of women as an always already
constituted group, one which has been labeled powerless,' 'exploited,' 'sexually
harassed,' etc. by feminist scientific, economic, legal, and sociological discourses.
(Notice that this is quite similar to sexist discourse labeling women weak,
emotional, having math anxiety, etc.) This focus is not on uncovering the material
and uncovering the ideological specificities that constitute a particular group of
women as 'powerless' in a particular context. It is, rather, on finding a variety of
cases of 'powerless' groups of women to prove the general point that women as a
group are powerless. (Mohanty 56-57)

Mohanty's discussion of the reductionism of categorization shows us how it is used for

inductive reasoning: moving from the specific to the general. Switching our focus

permits us to look backward, forward, and around: it gives us the ability to see beyond

our immediate context. On the other hand, disciplinary difference (and categorization)









implies stagnation, rather than accounting for the fluidity of what academia and activism

contain: people and knowledge.

Riley gives a brief example of how feminism can speak for "women workers" by

showing that they have no "fixed nature," and that only in some contexts can they be

distinguished from workers in general; feminism can then have a say in these purposes

(113). The effect of looking at the category, in this case "women workers" rather than

"workers," may or may not be useful in negotiating needs; feminism can then become

more politically active and effective. Riley advocates the idea that "an active skepticism

about the integrity of the sacred category 'women' would be no merely philosophical

doubt to be stifled in the name of effective political action in the world. On the contrary,

it would be a conditionfor the latter" (Riley 113). Breaking down the category of

"women," for Riley, would become a determining factor for political action because it

would effectively destabilize any narratives of naturalized femininity and would locate

difference in the category rather than in women's bodies.

I believe that Riley, and other theorists like her who seek to locate the

construction of "women" and thus work to break it down, comes a long way towards

dismantling some of the problems of categorization. However, I still think she leaves an

important category in her work untouched by "active skepticism," and this is the

relationship between academia and activism. In the previous quote she conflates political

action with this "active skepticism" (or scholarship), and I see it as a mistake not to

further investigate the implicit categorization in this claim. For while her academic work

lays the path for further thinking about the categorization of "women," it cannot









effectively lay claim to direct links to political action without also troubling the

scholarship and activism that must be done for both to occur.

Her understanding locates meaning in the category, but while it calls for change,

it does not make the leap to how or who could do that. Surely if "women" creates

meaning then the forces shaping the discussion do as well. This process involves looking

both into and away from the university.

"Academia" and "Activism"

In order to consider how academia and activism interact, we must first consider

"academia" and "activism." In other words, we must think about them categorically. The

categories work to inscribe disciplinary difference. We can define academia in contrast

to activism (and even subsets of each in contrast to each other) because of this

disciplinary difference.

"Academia" comes to be constituted through a set of disciplinary practices whereby

the replication of those practices becomes the norm. "Activism" comes to be constituted

in precisely the same way. Although "academia" and "activism" comprise varying

degrees of internal difference, both are similarly constituted and maintained through the

replication of disciplinary difference. "Academia" and "activism" require academics and

activists to function within a small circle in order to sustain that circle.

The categorical difference of "academia" and "activism" relegates them to different

positions. They cannot be forced into one "academia/activism" because this only works

to initiate yet another categorization. However, academics and activists can work to look

through the categories, rather than from the categories, and see their similarities at the

point of the production of knowledge. These similarities can allow new conceptions of

both academic and activist work as it shows each the (hidden) processes of their own.









At first, it seems desirable to merge academia and activism. What could be better

than blending together what we're already interested in? However, the fields remain

separate because they both retain those degrees of disciplinary difference. If we simply

make a new discipline, then we are not calling into question the production of knowledge.

As Stanley Fish states,

It is not so much that literary critics have nothing to say about these issues, but that
so long as they say it as literary critics no one but a few of their friends will be
listening, and, conversely, if they say it in ways unrelated to the practices of literary
criticism, and thereby manage to give it a political effectiveness, they will no
longer be literary critics, although they will still be something and we may regard
the something they will then be as more valuable .... I say, if you want to send a
message that will be heard beyond the academy, get out of it. Or, if I may adapt a
patriotic slogan, 'the academy--love it or leave it.' (1-2)

Although branches of activism are seen to have as their mission a reaching out to wider

society, the same can be said for activism or any other category which institutes

disciplinary difference. Fish's argument proves useful because he reminds us of the ways

in which the work is different. However, I will disagree that you must "love or leave" the

academy (or activism). In contrast, you must go beyond it and come back to it with new

considerations about how it produces knowledge.

The Academic/Activist Divide

In the academic/activist divide people often get quickly classified as intellectuals

or activists, and while some categories have been created to reflect people who bridge

that gap (i.e., public intellectuals and activist professors), even they remain at the level of

categorization. The public intellectual and the activist professor are not threats to either

category because they are still categories; by creating a new category we remove any

threat they are to the old categories. Now these people are free to flit about and be

"public" or be an "activist" without bothering anyone else because they have seemingly









bridged an insurmountable gap. Much less do we need to worry about what it means to

be an intellectual or an activist (or, god forbid, both). However, what these people have

actually accomplished is a strange dislocation of both fields by trying to merge them into

one.

I believe an effective way of examining intellectuals and activists would be to

first look at stereotypes. When I think of an intellectual I think of one of my college

professors; he is a man who is renowned in his field, but whom I rarely saw. His work is

so esoteric that it must be brilliant; I just haven't received my pass code to it yet. When I

think of an activist I think of one of my friends from college who was always the first to

jump on every cause that passed by. She would sometimes protest just for the sake of it.

Now, at this point, I'm even rolling my eyes at how reductive these portraits are.

No, I'm not trying to say that every intellectual is a man, or that esoteric work is not

beneficial, or that all activists are women, or that it is not productive to effect social

change for more than one cause (or any other stereotypes I may appear to have

subscribed to in the space of five sentences). What I am trying to say, though, is that,

while these stereotypes are remarkably simple in their analysis of each category, they are

also remarkably (in the re-markable; say it again, sense) on target in how these categories

often get constituted. A certain idea becomes the norm and then sets the tone for how

people "should" be or work. Even though individuals vary widely from the stereotype, or

categorical assumptions, those assumptions still taint the air because of their uncontested

status. They shape individual subjectivities by virtue of the way they define meaning on

multiple levels (Althusser 115-117).









In "The Responsibility of Intellectuals" (a title replete with the categorization of

intellectuals), Noam Chomsky outlines the myriad roles intellectuals can play:

Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions
according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western
world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access
to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western
democracy provided the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth
lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class
interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us. (Chomsky
255)

Chomsky acknowledges the comparatively marginal role intellectuals have in terms of

sheer number, but he then infuses them with power unparalleled by anyone next to those

in the government. The impetus for Chomsky's article is the Vietnam War. He begins by

referencing a question from an article written briefly after WWII by Dwight Macdonald

which asks: "To what extent are the British or American people responsible for the

vicious terror bombings of civilians" (qtd. in Chomsky 254). Chomsky then uses this

question as a springboard for how intellectuals have the responsibility to "speak the truth

and expose lies" because they can easily become complicitous. Throughout the article he

gives examples of how "in no small measure, it is complicitouss] attitudes.. .that lie

behind the butchery in Vietnam, and we had better face up to them with candor, or we

will find our government leading us towards a 'final solution' in Vietnam, and in the

many Vietnams that inevitably lie ahead" (Chomsky 291).

While intellectuals do have a privileged position, Chomsky is unwilling to assess

them as a whole. Not even most privileged intellectuals are in the same unique position

as Chomsky himself and can hope to effect political change. As Stanley Fish reminds us,

"Despite occasional appearances to the contrary, the conversation that takes place within

the humanistic academy and the conversation that leads to legislative and administrative









action remain segregated from one another" (61). Noam Chomsky's career is one of these

exceptions, but from that we cannot extrapolate the powers of intellectuals in general.

By defining more shouldd" than couldds" his vision falls hopelessly short. A limited

conception of intellectuals such as this overlooks the inherent categorical difference it

establishes. Difference can be utilized as a way to oppose rigid categorization, but not

when it is used to polarize rather than create new meaning.

Antonio Gramsci provides a clearer definition of intellectuals in a broad range of

society. He discusses how the historical evolution of traditional intellectuals (i.e.

ecclesiastics) came to oppose the "organic intellectuals" who evolved from each class as

it developed its own specializations (Gramsci 6-8). Gramsci's use of the term "organic

intellectuals" speaks to his question about

What are the 'maximum' limits of acceptance of the term 'intellectual'? Can one
find a unitary criterion to characterize equally all the diverse and disparate activities
of intellectuals and to distinguish these at the same time and in an essential way
from the activities of other social groupings? The most widespread error of method
seems to me that of having looked for this criterion of distinction in the intrinsic
nature of intellectual activities, rather than in the ensemble of the system of
relations in which these activities (and therefore the intellectual groups who
personify them) have their place within the general complex of social relations.
(Gramsci 8)

Here Gramsci seeks to put "intellectuals" in a context and avoids categorizing them in a

way that looks only back towards what they "should" have been and does not look

towards what they are or "can be." This move locates individuals within the category as a

locus of change rather than locating the category itself as the only site of that possibility.

Activism is often seen as promoting individualism; however, this category, like

all others, seeks to prioritize its categorization. In "Beyond Activistism," Liza

Featherstone, Doug Henwood, and Christian Parenti argue that today's activists do not

lack thought in their action:









[they] do indeed have a creed: They're activistists. That's right, activistists... In
this worldview, all roads lead to more activism and more activists. And the one
who acts is righteous .... Activistism as an ideology renders taboo any discussion
of ideas or beliefs, and thus stymies both thought and action. Activists who treat
ideas as important--who ask the difficult questions that push into new political
terrain--find this censorious hyperpragmatism alienating and may drop away from
organizing as a result. But that's not the only problem. Without an analysis of
what's really wrong with the world or a vision of the better world they're trying to
create, people have no reason to continue being activists once a particular campaign
is over (72-74).

And the problems, folks, do not end there. They go on to accuse activism of a number of

crimes against thinking, and they end up calling for "an assault of the stupidity that

pervades American culture. This implies a more democratic approach to the life of the

mind. We challenge left activists to become intellectuals" (Featherstone, Henwood, and

Parenti 75).

Sounds good, right? We are finally going to get rid of reality TV! Oh wait, is

that the stupidity they are talking about? Who knows! The underlying problem of their

assertions is, again, categorization. They create a new catch phrase, and category, with

activistists, that seems to sweep all the old problems of activism (and activists) under the

rug. Except that, it doesn't. Activistism creates innumerable more problems than

activism because it does not bother to define activism, or thinking.

The subtitle of the article is "Why we need deeper thinking in our protests." I

withheld this until now because I thought you might find it as intriguing as I did at first.

It seems that the authors may discuss how thinking and protest connect. Unfortunately,

this is not the case. Instead, they try to make one into the other, which leaves both worse

than before.









The Draw of Categorization

I will admit that categorization has its own lure: it quickly becomes easy to work

within categorical distinctions (and disciplinary difference) because we know what to

expect. I know how I "should" write this paper because I know the academic

expectations of it. This is the benefit of categorization: it gives us a prescription to

follow from which we do not need to deviate.

However, while prescriptions are tempting, they are also only temporary fixes.

They fix us until the problem comes back again; in the meantime, we can forget about

them because the problem is hidden. A similar problem exists with categorization.

While it appears so easy that we often forget it exists, it only works to fix temporary

problems--like who we should include in the literary canon or what the slogan for our

movement should be.

These issues are constructs of categorization and only serve to further the division

it creates. Categorization is problematic because it does not provide connection; it hides

connection. Each category is inevitably shaped by, and in contrast to, another, so

disguising the processes which bring us to categorization in the first place only works to

maintain it. Instead, we must look to the effects of categorization. Examining the effects

obliges us to more critically look at categories themselves; the effects uncover the

categories. In turn, the categories uncover context--how and why they are shaped and by

and for whom.














CHAPTER 3
"I'LL DO IT MY WAY; THANK YOU": INDIVIDUALS IN ACADEMIA AND
ACTIVISM

As individuals are constituted by categories, it follows that shifts in categorization

will write themselves onto individuals as well. Soon, everyone will be asking "what is

your category(ies)?" rather than "what is your sign?" as the new way of locating

difference (and similarity). Well, perhaps not, but this is only because the categories are

already so steeped into the individual that such a question is sometimes not very

apparent.

Feminist theory attempts to answer this problem by foregrounding the individual

in the context of the powerful institutions that inscribe her with meaning. This kind of

theorizing hopes to show that not everyone is equally placed in axes of power (Fraser 7).

In order to think about how the individual gets placed in these various contexts,

though, we must first think about how these processes evolve in the first place. This

requires revealing our epistemology, or theory of knowledge (Harding 2). An analysis of

categories requires a candid discussion of epistemology if we ever hope to see the

categories of academia and activism unfold a new space for communication where

individuals can traverse the space of knowledge production.

Standpoint epistemology begins to open this space where individuals and

categories meet and greet. In the individual-category meet and greet, categories tend to

be a little shy; they huddle together off to one side hoping no one will notice them. The

individuals are hesitant as they have rarely encountered the categories face to face; they









prefer to speak amongst themselves about how they have each accomplished great things

free of any outside help (or how they have single-handedly ruined their lives). When one

individual has her back turned, a category accidentally bumps into her. What should they

do? Should they pretend they never saw each other?

Standpoint Epistemology

In Donna Haraway's conception, feministit objectivity is about limited location

and situated knowledge, not about transcendence and splitting of subject and object. It

allows us to become answerable for what we learn to see" ("Situated" 583). Thus, the

individual and the category sit down for cucumber sandwiches and talk about the ways

they constitute each other. "Situated knowledge" allows us the vantage point of seeing

through the category rather than seeing from the category. It privileges the individual

while not elevating the individual to an unchecked status (Haraway, "Cyborg" 157).

Situated knowledge is a formulation of standpoint epistemology, which "'refers to a way

of conceptualizing reality that reflects women's interests and values and draws on

women's own interpretation of their own experience" (qtd. in Naples 70). Standpoint

should not be conflated with "viewpoint or actual experiences"; rather, it contextualizes

experiences in a way that juxtaposes individual and experience, individual and category--

the ways individuals are constituted by experience.

Of course, we rarely wake up in the morning feeling constituted by monolithic

categories (except on days when I prefer to stay in bed). Instead, we may feel anxious

about going to class (as students), feel excited about having dinner (as friends), feel angry

about watching the news (as citizens), etc. These various standpoints are all informed by

categorical relationships. More specifically, the categorical relationships are themselves

specific--most often to a place. For example, discussions about activist art as public art









have recently become "centered around a notion of the community or the public as the

'site,' and the public artist as one whose work is responsive to the issues, needs, and

concerns that define that elusive, hard-to-define entity" (Felshin 21). Activist/public art

replies to both the individual and her context by acknowledging the artist and the

community.

Standpoint epistemology seeks this dual centering as well: "[M]ost standpoint

theorists attempt to locate standpoint in specific community contexts with particular

attention to the dynamics of race, class, and gender" (Naples 71). The focus on

categories within communities in standpoint epistemology and situated knowledge brings

us to how we can diffuse broad categories that continue to define academia and activism.

Contextualization also brings us closer to ways we produce knowledge by looking at a

network of meaning which includes the individual.

The one danger we must avoid is seeing from the category of the individual. Like

academia and activism, the individual can also become a rigid categorization, as can

experience. We must actively examine all categories in order better to understand how

each one, and all collectively, shape each other and shape us.

Individuals in Activism

A focus on individuals informs activist theory: "There is no single set of attitudes

or social group to which all others must conform. Instead, the unifying ethos is one of

decentered authority .... To put these theories into practice, activists need to develop the

mutually supportive character of their struggles" (Trend 172). No overarching

categorization must inform activism (or academia, for that matter); instead, a push for a

focus on individuals and their connections to others and to what they are organizing for is









their standpoint. During the WTO protests in Seattle in November 1999, activists drew

on this standpoint:

No centralized leader could have coordinated the scene in the midst of the chaos,
and none was needed--the organic, autonomous organization we had proved far
more powerful and effective. No authoritarian figure could have compelled people
to hold a blockade line while being tear-gassed--but empowered people free to
make their own decisions did choose to do that. (Starhawk 54-55)

However, while the WTO protesters drew on contextualized individuals, this conception

can itself break down as well if it is only narrowly contextualized (e.g. saying "it sounds

like a good idea to me!"--after you state an idea).

In 1991, after a number of attacks on women's rights (the trials of Clarence

Thomas, Mike Tyson, and William Kennedy Smith as some examples), "'The Third

Wave' [was] galvanized...a new generation of activist women declaring their fury,

summoning accountability, and demanding representation (Essoglou 335). In response,

on January 28, 1992, a group of women formed the Women's Action Coalition (WAC)

(Essoglou 333-339). WAC was known for its direct action style, but they were also

known because they "appeared to be 'fashionable,' 'confident' women .... [Their]

appearance was no doubt part of WAC's near-instant success. At the same time, it

brought with it an unfortunate lesson (and/or reminder) that while appearances can be

usefully deceiving, they are nearly always divisive" (Essoglou 341).

WAC's emphasis was on action even though they worked to fact-check that action

(Essoglou 358). They held an intense debate to determine that they would emphasize

action: "In naming ourselves the Women's Action Coalition, we were resolved to

emphasize action over our loosely based affinity as artists. It was also suggested that

referring to ourselves as artists was more passive, exclusionary, and limiting" (Essoglou

339). Unfortunately, they simply displaced one category for another. While they were









careful to choose action, they were not careful to define action: for whom, by whom, with

what means, etc. Rather than defining, they assumed the inclusion of "women"

(Essoglou 362); in other words, they did not look to the individuals comprising WAC.

They took on a breathtaking number of campaigns during their brief two year existence,

some of which include "the Pink Slip Action, the Democratic and Republican

conventions, Clinic Defense, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Women Firefighters, the Glen

Ridge Rape Trial, Rape is a War Crime, Take Back the Night March, Stop Police

Brutality, Tax Reform for Health Care, and more" (Essoglou 351). With all these

campaigns, though, the driving force of action caused them to keep pressing forward

despite dissent within their ranks that not even everyone their was being heard.

WAC's downfall was its inability to conceive situated knowledge. While they

artfully utilized direct action techniques from the ACT UP and Women's Health, Action

and Mobilization! (WHAM!) who had gone before them, they did not link their work

along other categorical lines as well (Essoglou 336). This failure to establish a firm

standpoint based on women's interpretation of their experiences in relationship to their

community led to categorization within WAC and ultimately to their inability to act

effectively. This was due to a limited understanding of various standpoints, not just one.

While individuals were a focus, they also became the focus, which is just as problematic

because neither situation provides context.

Individuals in Academia

Academics often signal their individual experience to the broader community of

academics in their research strategy. They do this through a conscious process of placing

themselves--their "method (techniques for gathering evidence) .... methodology (a

theory and analysis of how research should proceed) ... [and] epistemological issues









(issues about an adequate theory of knowledge or justificatory strategy)"--in a discursive

center (Harding 2). Method is privileged over experience here--which also leaves out

part of the equation.

From the perspective of standpoint epistemology, this emphasis is a necessary

component of research:

Another way to put this is that the beliefs and behaviors of the researcher are part of
the empirical evidence for (or against) the claims advanced in the results of the
research. This evidence too must be open to critical scrutiny no less than what is
traditionally defined as relevant evidence. Introducing this 'subjective' element into
the analysis in fact increases the objectivismm' which hides this kind of evidence
from the public. (Harding 9)

When writers emphasize their own experience in academia they highlight the potential

for merging categories. However, they are also open to critiques of the strategy "as an

attempt to create a more 'true' or 'authentic' depiction of the field encounter, thus once

again privileging the researcher's voice over others whose lives were the subject of

inquiry" (Naples 31). Academics must be careful to place their individual experience and

work in the ever-broadening context of that which informs it. Laying out the "facts" for

examination opens them to a critical examination of how they are informed by

categorization and how they might move from the delusion of severance to a place where

they can view their work anew--through the categories

This examination does not happen, however, without dislocation. Whenever a

paradigm shift is involved--from a focus on categories to a focus through categories--

invariably people will become grumpy, at least. This is to be expected; for example, right

now I am cozy inside writing, but my dog wants to drag me into the cold. While this may

appear on the surface to be much less complex than a categorical shift in perspective, it

still requires me to change my perceptions of how things are "supposed to be" at this









present moment. Similarly, when academics' and activists' focus shifts off categories the

results may be jarring--at first. However, by examining how they are both entangled in

the production of knowledge they can begin to move from dislocation to a location of

possibility and from the replication of disciplinary difference to a new conception of

disciplines, and knowledge, on a continuum.

Forcing Academia/Activism

Activists experience this categorical dislocation between assumptions over what

their action should "do" or "be." At a conference after the WTO protests in Seattle and

the World Bank and IMF protests in Washington, D.C., people such Ariana Huffington,

Michael Lerner, David Korten, Cornel West, and others gathered to discuss the "lack of

'unity of vision and strategy' guiding the vision against global corporatism" (Klein,

"Vision" 265). The participants were supposed to "give birth to a unified movement for

holistic social, economic, and political change" (Klein, "Vision" 265). Not only does this

goal sound difficult, near impossible, in the space of a few days, but it is also

counterintuitive for activists who define their work in terms of individual response:

When critics say that the protesters lack vision, what they are really saying is that
they lack an overarching revolutionary philosophy--like Marxism, democratic
socialism, deep ecology, or social anarchy--on which they all agree. That is
absolutely true, and for this we should all be extraordinarily thankful... It is to this
young movement's credit that it has as yet fended off all of these agendas and has
rejected everyone's generously donated manifesto, holding out for an acceptably
democratic, representative process to take its resistance to the next stage. Perhaps
its true challenge is not finding a vision but rather resisting the urge to settle on one
too quickly. (Klein, "Vision" 272-273)

These activists move from situated knowledge into their action. The dislocation comes

when their action has not been defined--not by outside influence--but by an internal

breakdown of the category.









Other activist groups feel similarly to the participant at the conference: "ACT UP

never entertained the notion that a group must hammer out its analysis before it takes

action; it instinctively disdained rallies, where speakers drone on to the already

converted" (Kauffman 38). Instead, they preferred to enact their high-profile style of

direct action for maximum results (Kauffman 38). This is not to imply that ACT UP had

no goals, but rather that they, like many other activist groups "consciously sought to

emphasize activist work and praxis over long discussions about philosophy or ideology"

(Shepard and Hayduk 8). The dislocation between activist work and knowledge, though,

is where we really meet a point of contention in this discussion.

An emphasis on action creates a very particular kind of knowledge. It values

specific acts and devalues others. This hierarchical relationship is in direct opposition to

activism's self-declared goals of a focus on individuals. By not first examining what

activism is and other categories that shape its meaning, activists lose any say in reshaping

its meaning. This is because they do not perceive it as something with an overarching

meaning to be queried.

The same may be said for academic work that speaks for social change without

considering the effect of academic writing or how it links with social change. Writing the

paper or doing the research without considering the category of academia (or what social

change might be) disregards the myriad forces within and outside the university pressing

on our work. Categorization draws a distinction between these two practices, but they

may not be so different in the end. When we examine categories and how knowledge is

produced within those categories, we see the similarities in practice within each. This is

not to say that academia and activism are the same or that they will become one happy






28


category (which would be an oxymoron anyway). Rather, it is to say that locating their

common practice as the production of knowledge allows people who work within

academy and activism to think about their work beyond the confines of categorization.














CHAPTER 4
"HOW DOES SHE DO IT?": PRODUCING KNOWLEDGE IN ACADEMIA AND
ACTIVISM

What is the production of knowledge, anyway? It sounds like another abstraction

made up to confuse a simple process. Isn't knowledge either just intuitive or a

memorization of "facts"? And while it is often made to appear that way on the surface, it

is because of this seeming ease of acquisition that knowledge must be examined further.

Its processes are so bound up in production that they become obscured, accepted, and

replicated without notice.

Production and Knowledge

As a graduate student, I feel that I can only rarely escape the pressures of material

production: "Read more books, Anna;" "Write more papers, Anna;" "Publish and go to

conferences, Anna." I hear this internal refrain now due to the structures which support

it: the university, and more specifically, disciplinary demands.

While the people within this circuitous structure may feel that they are working to

produce new papers and even new ideas, what they are now doing is not the production

of knowledge: it is the replication of disciplinary difference. These are not just nuanced

versions of the same thing: the replication of disciplinary difference privileges

categorization. It does this by making phrases such as "academic enough" possible--it

enacts and sustains discipline specific standards. It also removes context from

knowledge by only looking within the discipline as a source.









In contrast, the production of knowledge is grounded in specificity: it centers

individuals and other ideas which inform its own. The effects are quite different as well.

The effect of the replication of disciplinary difference is more additions to the knowledge

base which sustains that discipline as set apart. The effect of the production of

knowledge is seeing what informs those ideas, that knowledge base, and each discipline,

and then taking that information to arrive upon a layered version of knowledge. When

we locate the similarity between academia and activism at the production of knowledge,

we acknowledge the processes that sustain those categories. For example, both

participate in creating knowledge, albeit with seemingly different tools because of their

categorical difference. To be reductive but make a point, academics write papers and

activists protest. In both examples, they are working to get out ideas to other people and

to further their own thought about those ideas. So even though protesting or doing door-

to-door campaigns about an issue may not look the same on the surface as this paper, at

the bottom it does something very similar. When we recognize this similarity, we then

have to acknowledge how we don't have the lock on those processes; the production of

knowledge is not categorically exclusive. When we see that the production of knowledge

does more than sustain our own work, we can begin to make our work (whatever it may

be) more concrete as it looks to sources outside its own genesis and category for further

continuation.

The same dangers in academia can be said for activism as it works within itself.

Both areas produce specific kinds of knowledge, but that knowledge is constructed in

support of and as a structure for more of the same. Thus, the main danger when









considering the production of knowledge is removing meaning from the phrase and

leaving it open to any interpretation:

On the other hand, it must be said, in response to the left-wing or 'leftist' notion that
words, dreams, texts and concepts labour and produce on their own account, that
this leaves us with a curious image of labour without labourers, products without a
production process or production without products, and works without creators (no
'subject'--and no 'object' either!). The phrase 'production of knowledge' does make
a certain amount of sense so far as the development of concepts is concerned: every
concept must come into being and must mature. But without the facts, and without
the discourse of social beings or 'subjects', who could be said to produce concepts?
There is a point beyond which reliance on such formulas as 'the production of
knowledge' leads onto very treacherous ground: knowledge may be conceived of on
the model of industrial production, with the result that the existing division of
labour and use of machines, especially cybernetic machines, is uncritically
accepted; alternatively, the concept of production as well as the concept of
knowledge may be deprived of all specific content, and this from the point of view
of the 'object' as well as from that of the 'subject'--which is to give carte blanche to
wild speculation and pure irrationalism. (Lefebvre 72-73)

We must place knowledge solidly within its various contexts in order to examine it. As

Lefebvre points out, when you remove context from the production of knowledge (for

example, why did I start this project?) you are left with an empty phrase that can then be

used to mean any old thing. When we remove the production of knowledge from its

context then we are left with either (a) disciplinary difference; or (b) the actual

production of knowledge--with all the accompanying ominous images of isolated people

cranking out obscure ideas. When we place the production of knowledge in its context,

we place ourselves in the process, not behind it, and this gives us the possibility of

changing it from within and recognizing similarities in how we construct it.

When the production of knowledge is placed within its context, the people

involved in the process can begin to see its negative effect on their work: they are forced

to produce in order to move ahead in their work. Academics and activists speak their

own language, so to speak, in that they both have technical jargon which is (at least









relatively) inaccessible to outsiders. They use this language as a kind of shorthand;

however, it also serves to obfuscate the processes which get them there in the first place:

"One of the primary causes of academic mystification is the tendency to take academic

discourse for granted, as if it were a transparent vehicle of information or ideas" (Graff,

Clueless 25). This language is confusing because it presupposes disciplinary difference

and replicates it. It is removed from the processes which initiate it: "There is therefore

one language which is not mythical, it is the language of man as a producer: wherever

man speaks in order to transform reality and no longer to preserve it as an image,

wherever he links his language to the making of things .. and myth is impossible"

(Barthes 146). When we link the production of knowledge concretely to those who

produce it and to its processes then workers within academia and activism can move from

replication to transformation: with the processes revealed, they can see their similarities

and use them to re-imagine their work--and not only see it as "theirs."

Academics and the Production of Knowledge

A prevailing myth about academia is that knowledge produced in the sciences,

humanities, business fields, etc. is obviously disparate: it is generated differently and it

concludes with different results. While the processes at arriving upon knowledge may

appear different, they are actually quite similar: in all cases, the tools of the discipline,

and the work of others in that discipline, are used to further the process wherein they

produce more knowledge that contributes to that discipline. The replication of

disciplinary difference in "academia" makes the production of knowledge appear to be all

cognitive. The problem we confront now is the hidden "how." The how seems to get lost

in the production of academic knowledge in favor of the final result. Knowledge appears









to be the result of people who are smart sitting around thinking about things, when in

reality more takes place.

Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar are anthropologists who set out to uncover an

"anthropology of science" in their work Laboratory Life. In the introduction to this book,

Jonas Salk (who oversaw the laboratory they observed during the course of their

research) puts out a call for the clarification of scientific processes:

If the public could be helped to understand how scientific knowledge is generated
and could understand that it is comprehensible and no more extraordinary than any
other field of endeavor, they would not expect more of scientists than they are
capable of delivering, nor would they fear scientists as much as they do. This
would clarify not only the social position of scientists in society, but also the public
understanding of the substance of science, of scientific pursuits and of the creation
of scientific knowledge. It is sometimes discouraging that although we dedicate
our lives to the extension of knowledge, to shedding light and exemplifying
rationality in the world, the work of individual scientists, or the work of scientists
in general, is often understood only in a sort of magical or mystical way. (Salk 13-
14)

Although Salk's request to demystify scientific processes is a positive step, it too

contributes to the replication of scientific knowledge because it is cloaked in the very

language that creates these problems to begin with. He says that scientists "dedicate

[their] lives to the extension of knowledge [and] to shedding light and exemplifying

rationality in the world" without ever explaining what on earth that could mean. He says

that he wants people to better understand scientists and that they are often viewed as

mysterious; however, this very language of exploration and conquest is what constructs

that situation.

Latour and Woolgar work in the lab to uncover "the social construction of

scientific knowledge in so far as this draws attention to the process by which scientists

make sense of their observations" (32). By revealing the process inherent in the scientific

construction of knowledge, Latour and Woolgar are able to link science to other fields









which contribute to its advancement, show how social relations influence this process,

and examine how knowledge becomes accepted in the sciences. They point out that

afterr the paper which incorporates these figures has been written, and the main
result of the paper has been embodied in some new inscription device, it is easy to
forget that the construction of the paper depended on material factors. The bench
space will be forgotten, and the existence of laboratories will fade from
consideration. Instead, 'ideas,' 'theories,' and 'reasons' will take their place. (Latour
and Woolgar 69)

Implicit in "the existence of laboratories" are the social relations which allowed the

knowledge to surface. The scientific replication of knowledge, however, obscures this

through the progression whereby "an important feature of fact construction is the process

whereby 'social' factors disappear once a fact is established" (Latour and Woolgar 23).

Science thus becomes a category which will not play with others. It evolves a process

which maintains the replication of disciplinary difference and scientistsss thus appear to

operate scientifically because they are scientists" (Latour and Woolgar 153). Although

this is an obvious tautology, it reveals the danger of categorization as this is precisely

what categorization works to uphold.

The same process is repeated in the humanities, although on the surface by

apparently different means:

[The field coverage model's] great advantage was to make the department and
curriculum virtually self-regulating. By assigning each instructor a commonly
understood role--to cover a predefined period or field--the principle created a
system in which the job of instruction could proceed as if on automatic pilot,
without the need for instructors to debate aims and methods. It is only the field-
coverage principle that explains how the literature department has managed to
avoid paralyzing clashes of ideology during a period when it has preserved much of
its earlier traditional orientation while incorporating disruptive novelties such as
contemporary literature, black studies, feminism, Marxism, and deconstruction.
(Graff, Professing 7).

The field-coverage model, which attempts to account for variety, can appear to escape

categorization--within that particular discipline. If English has specialists for every area,









then it appears to be looking beyond the scope of English, or at least a narrow conception

of English. However, the field-coverage model actually enforces the categorization of

English even further. It does this by forcing "English" specialties.

Humanities departments are also dependent on social relations in order to produce

their work: the workers build on the work of other researchers (this paper is a perfect

example) to make their argument. They then take that new argument as evidence of

something "new" they have created, seemingly out of thin air, because the new then

becomes the basis of a different stepping off point. The new, though, serves to replicate

disciplinary difference as it (typically) stays within the confines of that discipline:

"Literature thus tends to be placed outside or above the sphere of practical affairs; the

stress on formal esthetic properties moves it in the direction of art-for-art's-sake. At the

same time, the professionalization of literary criticism--its academic 'disciplining'--has

separated it also from the realm of social practice" (Brantlinger 68). This is the catch-22

of categories: they demand attention no matter how you try to recast them. As long as

you still accept a categorical premise, you are unable to escape working within that

paradigm. This is not to say that the paradigm must be throw out completely; rather,

changing how we think about categorical premises can give us the ability to negotiate

those premises and draw new ones based on the production of knowledge. This same

process is repeated within other disciplines in the humanities and beyond as well; it is not

unique to literature because what is being reflected is the replication of disciplinary

difference, which is applicable beyond narrow disciplinary definitions.

Within the university, cultural studies attempts to break down some of these

entrenched notions of knowledge. It does so by locating meaning in various locations









and by looking for fissures in ways meaning gets written (Brantlinger 16-17). I believe

this emphasis on interconnection is useful for breaking down the delusion of severance--

so long as individual subjectivity does not get written away in the process. Situated

knowledge can be used here as one of the ways we write meaning--and difference.

Cultural studies also emphasizes "breaking down intellectual barriers to culture and

forging new patterns of intellectual and political critique both within and outside the

university. A renewed cultural criticism ought to look beyond the isolated text to the

creation of oppositional forms that are simultaneously academic and public, literary and

political" (Brantlinger 21). Brantlinger's call for critique inside and outside the university

is helpful for envisioning ways that connections could be forged between the two, but

only once both are first recognized for their constituted difference. Brantlinger easily

links "academic and public, literary and political" in his vision without first considering

the internal organization of those structures and how they produce knowledge. One

cannot transform into another without considering both how they are constituted as

categories and who composes them.

The work produced within each discipline reflects the organization of the

discipline: the knowledge produced works to sustain this structure. The same can be said

for the university as a whole, as todayda, all departments of the University can be urged

to strive for excellence, since the general applicability of the notion is in direct relation to

its emptiness" (Readings 23). Of course people want to be excellent, produce riveting

papers, conduct breakthrough experiments, and so on. However, when this production is

taken out of context and held up as a result of the triumph of knowledge, little is









accomplished. Individuals are removed from this process and trumped by how their work

"contributes to the conversation."

Activists and the Production of Knowledge

A prevailing myth about activism is that that is all it is about--action. More

importantly, the myth maintains the idea that people simply gather together about

something they are passionate about and then "do" something about it. They may have to

do some internal strategizing, but the action evolves naturally due to the work of the

activists. However, this is hardly the case. The apparent ease with which this action

takes place covers the process whereby it is possible: an incredible amount of research

and theorizing must take place first.

On January 1, 1994, the date of the beginning of the North American Free Trade

Agreement (NAFTA), the Zapatistas began an armed uprising in the Mexican state of

Chiapas that "was the first denunciation of a 'new world order' from the viewpoint of that

order's victims" (Hayden 2). This uprising would have been impossible without the

previous years of organization and theorizing by its members. The figurehead of the

movement, Subcomandante Marcos, describes how the position of the Zapatistas differs

from other uprisings: "In previous armies, soldiers used their time to clean their weapons

and stock up ammunition. Our weapons are words, and we may need our arsenal at any

moment" ("Hourglass" 12). The Zapatistas draw on the power of demystification to give

power to their activism. Rather than succumbing to denunciations of action without

thought, they consciously expose their processes for scrutiny.

Certainly, they invoke this method as deliberately in the production of knowledge

as do methods meant to obscure. However, their self-revelatory process exposes their

undergirding:









Speaking and listening is how true men and women learn to walk. It is the word
that gives form to the walk that goes on inside us. It is the word that is the bridge
to cross to the other side. Silence is what Power offers our pain in order to make us
small. When we are silenced, we remain very much alone. Speaking, we heal the
pain. Speaking, we accompany one another. Power uses the word to impose his
empire of silence. We use the word to renew ourselves. Power uses silence to hide
his crimes. We use silence to listen to one another, to touch one another, to know
one another. This is the weapon, brothers and sisters. We say, the word remains.
We speak the word. We shout the word. We raise the word and with it break the
silence of our people. We kill the silence by living the word. Let us leave Power
alone in what the lie speaks and hushes. Let us join together in the word and the
silence which liberate. (Marcos, "Word" 76)

Marcos's repetition of the word throughout his actions and writings (which are

inseparable), show us how an exposure of the processes leads into new forms of activism.

It also places individuals and their experiences solidly in the forefront of their movement.

Marcos is suspected to be a "former" academic, a Marxist whose academic status

is "former" only because he no longer works within a university. Unquestionably, no

matter who he is, Marcos's recognition of the similarities between thought and action,

academia and activism, fostered the Zapatistas: "He wrote in a torrent, producing

hundreds of texts, quickly disproving Hannah Arendt's claim that 'under conditions of

tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.' In less than twelve months, during sleepless

sessions on the word processor in the midst of fighting a war, [Marcos] generated enough

text for a 300-page volume" (Stavans 389). He produced all this writing to explain the

Zapatistas' demands, communicate with people outside the movement, and as or more

importantly, to engage with people who are drawn by that. The written word became a

seductive tool for taking the Zapatistas beyond another group of indigenous people who

could easily be dismissed. The Zapatistas combine the power of action and the power of

the word to amplify both.









This amplification occurs because the combination of power and action relies upon

the similarities between the production of knowledge. Marcos would have been unable to

maximize the processes of academia and activism without working with their similarities

in production. The similarities allowed him to see how the two categories could

communicate with each other, rather than isolate each other, and then the Zapatistas

began to build a movement. The Zapatista uprising was not solely activist or academic;

instead, it was both.

Similarly, from November 28-December 3, 1999, the WTO protests relied on

months of research: "WTO week in Seattle was a week of scholarship" (Thomas 13).

The protesters built on the prior knowledge of each group present and then worked to

accumulate new information about how to protest the WTO most effectively. So many

groups participated in this protest that it is impossible to name them all. However, what

is possible is imagining the interconnection necessary for such a protest to succeed.

While they did rely on social relationships to accomplish their work, Noam

Chomsky points out that other factors were necessary for success:

The highly successful demonstration of 'people's power' at the World Trade
Organization provides impressive testimony to the effectiveness of educational and
organizing efforts designed for the long term, carried out with dedication and
persistence, based on open and honest interchange, and guided by careful
evaluation of attainable goals and future prospects. (qtd. in Danaher and Burbach
13)

As with the Zapatistas, the WTO protesters in Seattle relied on a network of knowledge

to achieve their goal of shutting down the WTO talks. The emphasis on education

present in Seattle allowed the protesters to consider what they were doing and why.

Again, though, the protests were neither entirely academic nor activist. The protests









relied on the processes of both to work with such a complex number of issues, groups,

and individuals.

These two examples show how groups seemingly focused only on action--

especially if they are observed through the lens of the media--rely on more. When we see

a protest on television, all we see is the action. We forget (or never realize) just as easily

as the process of categorization wants us to that the production of knowledge never

emerges from a puff of smoke.

What's the Point?

The question of "why are we doing this again?" sneaks up in unsettling ways for

both academics and activists. Both academics and activists often work, in their own

ways, on similar issues. However, if they're both producing knowledge, then some

questions quickly become forgotten as they are caught up in the process of that

production: "So far as the concept of production is concerned, it does not become fully

concrete or take on a true content until replies have been given to the questions that it

makes possible: 'Who produces?', 'What?', 'How?', 'Why and for whom?' Outside the

context of these questions and their answers, the concept of production remains purely

abstract" (Lefebvre 69). If we begin to answer these questions then we can begin to make

the production of knowledge more concrete. So our question now is, "what are these

people doing, and why?"

In bell hooks's Talking Back, she gives voice to voice: changing from object to

subject and speaking for oneself. Speaking becomes both a way to engage in active self-

transformation and a rite of passage where one moves from object to subject: "Only as

subjects can we speak. As objects, we remain voiceless--our beings defined and

interpreted by others" (hooks 12). In Talking Back, hooks creates a conscious discussion









between herself, her readerss, her text, her ideas, and back and forth and in between.

She does this to maintain her goal that "[v]isionary feminist theory must be articulated in

a manner that is accessible if it is to have meaningful impact" (hooks 39).

This question of accessibility delves into the problem of breaking down

categories. Accessible to whom? According to whose definition? hooks is quick to

point out that her goal "as a feminist thinker and theorist is to take that abstraction and

articulate it in a language that renders it accessible--not less complex or rigorous--but

simply more accessible" (hooks 39). When we think about accessibility we often think of

giving more people the ability to render something available to them: accesss has a

physical connotation--approaching, entering, using. The idea of access is represented

metaphorically as passages through doors and gates, over obstacles, barriers, and

blockages" (Scott 178). Thinking about access physically is especially interesting in light

of a challenge to break down categories--another physical metaphor. Accessibility, like

categorization, becomes tricky when left undefined. The idea is enticing that we can

make our work, no matter what it is, accessible to others (implicitly--make it matter to

others). However, the definition of accessibility changes depending on who gives it.

Some people may define accessibility in terms of access for others in the discipline

whereas others may define it as institutional access--and anything in between.

Accessibility functions as a category because it appears to be relatively simple, but that

simplicity masks its underlying processes.

Another question related to accessibility seems to be, why write a paper about

how social change is, say, reflected in contemporary novels (or the connection between

academia and activism), when you could work on actually effecting that change? Why









am I writing this paper rather than "doing" something about the problem I perceive? The

answer is simple--because I can. Yet, this is really not a simple answer. The fact remains

that, while I can produce this paper, it cannot produce itself. It needs me, it needs the

work of other people, and it needs the work of my discipline. In other words, it requires

social processes; this is not the exception, it is the norm. And while I can just turn this

paper in as the next step on my academic journey and move on without giving it a second

thought, I cannot remove it from the production of knowledge. Even if only a handful of

people read this paper, it has already interacted in this process because I have engaged in

the (multiple) steps necessary for it.

So how does this paper "do" something in its own way? And more importantly,

why "should" it? Perhaps we are asking too much of categories. They do not need to

interact--they already do. This paper "does" something by interacting in the production

of knowledge, which meets up with many other forms of "doing": other academic

disciplinary work and various forms of activism. The production of knowledge is the

common ground between forms of thinking and doing--it is where they get tossed around

and formed into new conceptions of each.














CHAPTER 5
"WE'LL MEET UP SOMEWHERE": THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ACADEMIA
AND ACTIVISM

Categorization works to maintain disciplinary difference. However, as we have

seen, exposing the processes which lead to the production of knowledge can help us

move beyond categorization. This is not to say that academia and activism "should" meet

in the middle. Rather, it acknowledges how they already do meet by virtue of their

participation in the production of knowledge. It locates their difference in the category in

order to examine how it constitutes those involved. This also allows those involved to

see their similarities and uncover their own work from a new perspective.

Moving from "Academia" to Academia

Cherrie Moraga begins Loving in the War Years with the sometimes frightening

admission/reminder that "[o]n some level you have to be willing to lose it all to write--to

risk telling the truth that no one may want to hear, even you" (Moraga xii). While this

point of situated knowledge lets her reader know that she is going to position herself

within the contexts of her experience, it also implies an action that may or may not be

present. Moraga tends to conflate writing and action, but she does not break down the

category of action in her work.

Moraga addresses the difficulty of theory and praxis at numerous points

throughout her work:

[t]he university allows a benign liberalism, even a healthy degree of radical
transgressive thought, as long as it remains just that: thought translated into the
conceptual language of the dominant class to be consumed by academics of the
dominant class, and as such rendered useless to the rest of us. If the study of









insurrection must occur within the conceptual framework and economic constraints
of the patron-university--e.g., tenure tracking, corporate-funded grants and
fellowships, publishing requirements, etc.--insurrection can never be fully
conceived and certainly never realized. (Moraga 173)

Moraga's anger with academia comes through clearly here; however, I believe that

her disconnect comes from categorization. She points out that the university allows

varying degrees of thought, as long as it is "just that: thought... [which is then] rendered

useless to the rest of us." A number of categorical assumptions beleaguer this statement:

first of all, she assumes what is "supposed" to get done in a university setting. Rather

that assessing it for how it creates meaning, she tries to merge it with activism. Second,

she assumes that just thought cannot provoke action on its own and that thought is not a

form of action. Third, she aligns herself with "the rest of us" when she also works/has

worked within the confines of the university and is thus at least a part of both groups she

identifies.

She also presumes that the "study of insurrection must occur" at all, much less

within the confines of the university, and then she points out that "insurrection can never

be ... realized" within that paradigm. Her equation of study with insurrection

counteracts her own construction of privileging action. Here I have my devil's advocate

hat on to show how by not first interrogating the categories she so urgently wants to

change, she writes herself into a situation which really can never be realized. She does

not look at how activism itself is also a site of knowledge production which can be

critiqued and utilized.

Nonetheless, Moraga does retain some hope for the university: "There are

exceptional students and exceptional faculty. There are remarkable moments where

'critical consciousness,' ... is awakened, where the most visionary and dangerous of









faculty inspire thoughts that directly affect the bodies sitting in front of them. The

bodies think. They stand up. They are not afraid of freedom. They act (Moraga 186).

However, even this hope is misleading as she places it onto bodies that "act" while never

defining the difference between those exceptional students who think and those who act--

or those who think and act. Moraga makes a mistake in writing the hope onto bodies

rather than first breaking down the categories, because she gives no definition of what

their action is or how it may be "better" than not acting (or what action means). By

avoiding the issue of the value she instills in action she is able to invoke it in the name of

change in the university without considering how that change could occur and how it

became desirable.

Leslie Salzinger attempts to bridge the problem of categorization in her work,

Genders in Production. In the beginning of the text she is very candid with the reader

about her position as a writer and a researcher:

It would be unbearably ironic to embark on such an investigation without placing
oneself within the panorama. Thus, as observer and analyst, both in the field and in
my writing, I attempt to define my position and to keep that position apparent. This
is not because the book is about me. It is not. Rather, in clarifying my location, I
give the reader the chance to understand the social/intellectual vantage point from
which this story is told. (Salzinger 2)

She conducts research in four maquiladoras in Mexico and works there in order to gain

insight into how gender subj activities are formed through the work. Her standpoint,

therefore, produces the knowledge in the text as much as (if not more than) that of the

workers she encounters. She tries to move from "Academia" to academia through

references to the political aspect of her work. By engaging her work outside the

university, Salzinger sees her work as somehow useful outside it.









In her conclusion she describes her vision of how the information she gathered

might be used:

Understanding the selves management addresses and evokes makes it possible to
speak directly to the subjects actually working. It also makes a particular version
of consciousness-raising available as an organizing tool, as activists themselves can
come to see and make visible the processes through which gendered 'manageability'
is generated under exploitative conditions. (Salzinger 165)

Even though this description does move towards a common ground between academia

and activism, it still retains a discontinuity. There is a disjuncture between what the

academic "can do" and what the activist "can do" in this construction. Here the activist

"can come to see" only with the academic's knowledge. She can act only with the

academic's help. Salzinger does not open space for the knowledge the activist also

produces and brings to meet with the academic's knowledge and action.

Salzinger's work comes close to breaking down the categories of academia and

activism, but in order to move beyond categorization into a site of possibility we must

take her conjectures a step further. Both academia and activism produce knowledge at

the categorical level and at the level of individuals. This dual meaning requires a new

focus. It requires attention to individual standpoint while concurrently envisioning both

academia and activism as producers of knowledge. Rather than forcing one category into

the other, which inherently values one over the other, this formula allows for difference

because it acknowledges the role of both in the creation of meaning. This new focus

opens a common ground between and within academia and activism that individuals on

both "sides" can navigate.

Moving from "Activism" to Activism

Within activism, breaking down categorization requires not only movement

between movements but also movement within movements. This means that those









involved must be willing to engage both their social relations and their theorizing with

multiple layers of people in order to connect their work across--not only activism--but

other arenas as well. "Activism" becomes activism when it looks beyond its categorical

boundaries and moves into an organization of knowledge processes that translate within

and beyond categories.

For the Zapatistas, Subcomandante Marcos became "a one-man Web: he is a

compulsive communicator, constantly reaching out, drawing connections between

different issues and struggles" (Klein, "Unknown" 119). Through this constant

communication, he is able to draw in supporters for his movement. He is also able to

generate support for a new kind of movement, one based on communication:

[Marcos] has created his own dazzling image as a masked mito genial--his term,
meaning an inspired act of mythmaking. He has staged a very real, threatening war
on the Mexican state based on almost no firepower and a brilliant use of Mexicans'
most resonant images: the Revolution, the peasants' unending struggle for dignity
and recognition, the betrayed Emiliano Zapata. (Guillermoprieto 37)

The Zapatistas' move towards communication allows them to extend their movement--

even into new ones. Their emphasis on communication underlines the connections made

at the production of knowledge by doing just that: communicating. This is not a

tautology; rather, this assertion shows how the Zapatistas work to expose their work--

how it comes about, for whom, and by whom. As they assert how they produce

knowledge, they in turn open new avenues for their work because they do not limit its

capacity.

The Zapatistas informed other movements that followed them through their

strategy of communication:

The Zapatista movement has generated movements of solidarity across the world.
At one level it has coalesced around a defense of the oppressed--the exemplary
victims of neoliberalism and corporate greed. That is their symbolic power. An









anarchist friend of mine suggested to me after Seattle that 'this was all because of
the Zapatistas.' Did he mean their example? In part that is what he meant--but
beyond that he saw them as representatives of a new politics. Zapatismo does not
seek power, only justice; Zapatismo does not acknowledge leaders, but it is
democratic in the extreme; Zapatismo is not a party, but a living and changing
movement; Zapatismo has used the Internet to create an international connection
between all those who reject capitalism red in tooth and claw. (Gonzalez 449-450)

In short, Zapatismo lays the groundwork for exposing the process of the production of

knowledge. It does this by placing knowledge in the context from which it came and

exposing the hidden "how." It moves from "Activism" to activism by decentralizing

categorization and centering the production of knowledge.

The sheer number of groups participating in the WTO protest in Seattle required

at least some participation between movements: "It's estimated that at least 700 groups

were represented at the WTO demonstrations in Seattle. Most of the groups represented

civil society; they were not affiliated with governments, although some were agencies

that were affiliated with the United Nations" (Thomas 66). This wide network worked to

achieve a number of goals in Seattle. It also worked to move beyond Seattle as groups

worked together in new ways and were able to take that interaction to Washington, DC

and elsewhere:

The mass, nonviolent protests in Seattle represented the culmination of a months-
long process of coalition building by organizations that did not initially all know,
understand or trust each other. We got to know each other as we discussed the
politics of trade and investment, and discussed strategies for confronting the WTO.
We won mutual trust and respect as we debated tactics. We became one movement
as we took classes in civil disobedience tactics, and laid the foundation for legal
defense. That collective and democratic process made possible the unity among
environmentalists, labor unionists and many others--groups who had not always
worked so well together in the past. (Benjamin 68)

The strategizing and theorizing that took place before Seattle reflects the protesters'

dedication to building a new kind of knowledge--one that looks for connections beyond

categories.






49


Connection between academia and activism give us the chance to look at

similarities within and between movements, disciplines, ideas, etc. It gives us a new

conceptualization of our own work in the context of others. Rather than viewing our

work from the named label, academia or activism, we can view it from something

connectedly new. This removes the presumption that we all already know what is going

on in any area.














CHAPTER 6
"WE LIKE IT. WHO ELSE MATTERS?": CONCLUSION

For both academics and activists, a big question has to be audience. For whom are

we producing this work? Even when the production of knowledge is not placed in its

context, audience is an issue. Sometimes it does get lost in the shuffle as the demands of

material production usurp it, but we always think in the back of our minds, "who will

read this paper?", or even better, "who cares about this at all?"

A focus on the production of knowledge, rather than the replication of disciplinary

difference, will allow the question of audience (and accessibility) to emerge more fully.

It will do so by shifting the focus off a particular category, and thus a narrow idea of why

and for whom we do this work, and will enable us to work with and for more people.

This will allow us to contextualize our work, and the production of knowledge, even

further.

As the production of knowledge moves from replication to transformation and as

individual standpoints move to the forefront then we can move towards a connection

between academia and activism. With connection, we can see knowledge on a

continuum, rather than as something that is produced in a disciplinary vacuum (whatever

your discipline may be). When we see knowledge on a continuum, we can include more

people in our conceptions of knowledge and see that people already "care" about what we

do because they are already working on it themselves with varying shades of nuance. We

may not be able to save the world through graduate school, but we can begin to take hold

of the possibility already there

















LIST OF REFERENCES


Althusser, Louis. "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses." Lenin and Philosophy
and Other Essays. Trans. Ben Brewster. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001.

"Anne 0. Krueger: Biographical Information." International Monetary Fund. 22 Feb.
2004. 18 Mar. 2005. .

Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. Trans. Annette Lavers. New York: The Noonday Press,
1957.

Benjamin, Medea. "The Debate Over Tactics." Danaher and Burbach 67-72.

Brantlinger, Patrick. Crusoe's Footprints. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Chomsky, Noam. "The Responsibility of Intellectuals." The Dissenting Academy. Ed.
Theodore Roszak. New York: Vintage Books, 1968.

Danaher, Kevin and Roger Burbach. Globalize This! The Battle Against the World
Trade Organization and Corporate Rule. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press,
2000.

Essoglou, Tracy Ann. "Louder than Words: A WAC Chronicle." Felshin 333-372.

Featherstone, Liza, Doug Henwood, and Christian Parenti. "Beyond Activistism: Why
We Need Deeper Thinking in our Protests." Utne Nov-Dec 2004: 72-75.

Felshin, Nina. Introduction. But is it Art? Nina Felshin, ed. Seattle: Bay Press, 1995.

Fish, Stanley. Professional Correctness: Literary Studies and Political Change. New
York: Clarendon P, 1995.

Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2001.

Gonzalez, Mike. "The Zapatistas: The Challenges of Revolution in a New Millenium."
Hayden 430-452.

Graff, Gerald. Clueless in Academe. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2003.

-. Professing Literature. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993









Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Trans. Quintin Hoare and
Geoffrey Nowell Smith. New York: International Publishers, 1995.

Guillermoprieto, Alma. "The Unmasking." Hayden 33-45.

Guillory, John. Cultural Capital. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993.

Haraway, Donna. "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in
the Late Twentieth Century." Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of
Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991: 149-181. 28 Nov. 2004.
.

"Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of
Partial Perspective." Feminist Studies 14.3 (1988): 575-599. PCIFull Text.
George Smathers Library, U of Florida. 1 Nov 2004.

Harding, Sandra. "Is there a Feminist Method?" Feminism and Methodology. Sandra
Harding, ed. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1987. 28 Nov. 2004.
okid=571>.

Hayden, Tom, ed. The Zapatista Reader. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002.

-. Introduction. Hayden 3-7.

hooks, bell. Talking Back. Boston: South End Press, 1989.

Kauffman, L.A. "A Short History of Radical Renewal." Shepard and Hayduk 35-40.

Klein, Naomi. "The Unknown Icon." Hayden 114-123.

-. "The Vision Thing: Were the DC and Seattle Protests Unfocused, or are Critics
Missing the Point?" Shepard and Hayduk 265-273.

Latour, Bruno and Steve Woolgar. Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1986.

Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Malden,
MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1991.

Marcos, Subcomandante Insurgente. Our Word is Our Weapon. Ed. Juana Ponce de
Le6n. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001.

-. "The Hourglass of the Zapatistas." Mertes 3-15.

-. "The Word and the Silence." Marcos 75-77.

Mertes, Tom, ed. A Movement ofMovements. New York: Verso, 2004.









Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial
Discourses." Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Chandra Talpade
Mohanty, Ann Russo, and Lourdes Torres, Eds. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP,
1991.

Moraga, Cherrie L. Loving in the War Years. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2000

Naples, Nancy A. Feminism andMethod. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Pessin, Al. "Bush Nominates Wolfowitz to be President of World Bank." Voice of
America. 16 Mar. 2005. 18 Mar. 2005. 03-16-voa48.cfm>.

Readings, Bill. The University in Ruins. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1996.

Riley, Denise. "Am I That Name?" Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1988

Salk, Jonas. Introduction. Latour and Woolgar 11-14.

Salzinger, Leslie. Genders in Production. Berkeley: UC Press, 2003.

Scott, Joan Wallach. Gender and the Politics of History. New York: Columbia UP,
1999.

Shepard, Benjamin and Ronald Hayduk, Eds. From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest
and Community Building in the Era of Globalization. New York: Verso, 2002.

Starhawk. "How We Really Shut Down the WTO." Shepard and Hayduk 52-56.

Stavans, Ilan. "Unmasking Marcos." Hayden 386-395.

Thomas, Janet. The Battle in e, iAle: The Story Behind and Beyond the WTO
Demonstrations. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2000.

Trend, David. "Cultural Struggle and Educational Activism." Art, Actism, and
Oppositionality. Grant H. Kester., ed. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1998.

Watkins, Evan. Work Time. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1989.















BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Anna Lee Guest graduated from Carson-Newman College with a B.A. in English

and philosophy. She will receive her M.A. in English from the University of Florida in

May 2005. She plans to continue her work in Florida's Ph.D. program in the fall of 2005.

This June, Anna will marry Nic Jelley and spend the summer relaxing. These are

her happiest plans.