Activist Scholarship: Antiracism, Feminism, and Social Change.

Author:Mellem, Rebecca Hayes
Position:Book review
 
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Activist Scholarship: Antiracism, Feminism, and Social Change

Edited by Julia Sudbury and Margo Okazawa-Rey

(Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2009)

This collection of eleven essays serves as a critical source for activist scholars and as reassurance of the urgency and possibilities of activist scholarship. For those engaged in such work who feel the tension between activism and scholarship or for those who seek new approaches to their work, Activist Scholarship will be a useful and engaging read.

Editors Julia Sudbury and Margo Okazawa-Rey selected the term activist scholarship, defined as "the production of knowledge and pedagogical practices through active engagements with, and in service of, progressive social movements" (3), in order to resist dichotomizing intellectual and community work. Through the book, they seek to highlight the work of antiracist and feminist activist scholars globally, with specific focus on pedagogies and research methodologies used in conjunction with social justice movements. q-hey pay particular attention to the complex social context of the corporatization of education and conservative attacks on academic freedom since 9/11. The resulting collection is a resounding, even inspiring, argument for activist scholarship as an effective mode of social change to the many forms of inequity and oppression--such as racism, homophobia, and imperialism--occurring in today's world.

The collection is divided into four sections: Revealing Complicities, Generating Insurgencies; Emancipatory Methodologies; Teaching as Radical Praxis; and Living with Contradictions. While the third section most explicitly addresses teaching, educators will find pertinent essays in each section of the text. The first section contains essays that acknowledge the contradictions of academic activism and articulate ways in which those contradictions can be used for resistance. The second section addresses methods and research practices developed and utilized by activist scholars and teachers. As one might expect, collaboration, feminist methods, and "action research," a methodology that brings researchers and community members together to solve problems, feature prominently in this section. The third section is comprised of three chapters that delve into pedagogical approaches developed by activist scholars. Finally, although an of the essays in the book in some way touch on each of the contributors' social locations, the essays in the last section take the contributors'...

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