Creating activist scholars - Page 3

New anarchist-led program at CIIS aims to help Bay Area social justice groups

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Anarchist Adrej Grubacic heads CIIS's new Anthropology Department.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY YAEL CHANOFF

"The document they're going to produce after two years of activist research is going to be written for that community," Grubacic said. "We are the second readers. We are less important in the process. What they do has to be useful to the community. They have to be passionate about working with that community group. And they have to produce something that's going to be useful to what that community group does."

In addition to classes and research projects, students will participate in "convivias," one of the most unique aspects of the program. People from the public, scholars, and others with special knowledge will hammer out ideas with students in week-long "political laboratories." Revolutionary art will be practiced in a convivia called "Atelier of Insurrectionary Imagination." And Grubacic and his students will turn a certain vacant part of the CIIS building into an "Emergency Library," a place for books as well as what the program description calls "scholars on call, responding to the emergent needs of the communities in struggle, who might be in need of legal advice, activist companionship, scholarly input, or a media suggestion." The convivias have corresponding student work-study positions — yes, there will be a paid Emergency Librarian.

CIIS spokesperson James Martin said Grubacic brings a lot to the school: "The thing I'm really excited about is that we're engaging the local community. We live in San Francisco for a reason. This is one of the places in the world where all these intellectuals come together who have the passion to try and change things."

Despite the paradoxes and problems that come when the elite meets the grassroots, Grubacic has high hopes. "We need to redefine what it means to be an intellectual who works within academia," he said. "And the only way to do this is to become a part of a larger social movement's formation, that is aimed at changing society. We cannot offer much. But we can offer something."

Comments

"We hate the government, the government should give us more money because we are entitled to it because we represent dozens of people who hate the government."

So hilarious.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 08, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

This is laughable considering that the original Anthropology program did what Grubacic claims to have "developed". What has really been created is a Sociology program masquerading as an "Anthropology" department where education serves one purpose, to professionalize radicalism, ignore institutionalized issues of racism, sexism, classism, and transphobia, while turning a blind eye to the ways an anarchist joins forces with a assimilationist and dominance-driven administration. Clearly it helps to have friends in the media, because this piece of writing actually makes the 'new' department sound like it's doing something 'new' with education.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 09, 2012 @ 9:58 am

yes, and the original anthropology department was completely fucked up, inbred, and cultish. this department will actually be new and open, and possibly even healthy.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 12, 2012 @ 10:50 am

maybe the new department won't be fucked up and dysfunctional.

Posted by DCount on Aug. 12, 2012 @ 10:52 am

wow, cool!

Posted by Guest on Aug. 09, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

awesome!

Posted by paul on Aug. 09, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

Yet another "new" program that has not considered the history of CIIS. Nothing new here. Great ideas but not new, CIIS has been dedicated to just such transformative learning since it began.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 10, 2012 @ 9:45 am

Yes, CIIS is a great place. This program is a welcome addition to an already great school.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 10, 2012 @ 10:41 am
!!!

http://www.ciis.edu/Academics/Graduate_Programs/Anthropology_and_Social_...

Convivial Approach to Communication of Knowledge
We offer several forms of convivia, or convivial spaces of knowledge communication:

Emergency Library is a space that affirms the original meaning of the library as a communal institution: it is a convivial space of exchange of books, poetry, and ideas. In this convivia, we exchange ideas, skills, and organizing knowledge with the communities outside the Institute. We are scholars on call, responding to the emergent needs of the communities in struggle, who might be in need of legal advice, activist companionship, scholarly input, or a media suggestion. We bring this information not as impositions but as gifts, in the spirit of exchange and mutual aid, learning from the communities in the process.

Political Laboratory is held once each semester as a weekend-long convivial encounter of local or international scholars working on a particular project, students, and selected participants from the local community. Together they think collectively about a particular idea, book, concept, or project.

Atelier of Insurrectionary Imagination is a space of occasional magic, where artistic production is combined with political imagination, and subversive creativity. Here, artists inspire students and members of the community to dream collectively and explore the unsettling alchemy of art and social justice.

Autonomous Classroom is an experimental class created convivially by MA and PhD students, a class where the world is turned upside down, students become teachers, teachers become students, and all graduate students autonomously design a class that they teach and self-manage over the course of one semester.

Guerrilla Workshop is an improvised event-space where students, faculty, or students and faculty, present on their current work. This includes papers to be presented at various conferences, report backs from academic or activist events, and dialogues relevant to anthropology, social justice, and critical theory.

Dialogues and Interrogations. Instead of interrogating people, in this public convivia we interrogate ideas. This takes form of a bi-monthly conversation between activist journalists and prominent organizers and activist intellectuals.

Posted by paul on Aug. 11, 2012 @ 3:25 am

snooze..... this "program" is such a joke in regards to some of the anarchist institutions/free skools that have been in SF/Oakland for years now. Academic recuperation is always a shame to see.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 14, 2012 @ 8:36 am

Best program in the world. Haters gonna hate...

Posted by Guest on Aug. 14, 2012 @ 9:22 am

People, research the history of this school, and what they did to the previous SCA department. You say a cultish department? How about a cultish school? For realz.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 14, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

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