Dec 182014

There’s a certain set of conceits around academic freedom that limit its functionality and its practice, and those conceits often have to do with critiques of state power, critiques of colonization, critiques of structural violence. –Steven Salaita

I think using academic freedom as a way to open these more political conversations and more potentially more transformative conversations about Palestine and about labor, and allowing people to see the connections between these issues is really important. –Vincent Lloyd

Organizing around solidarity communities and connecting with allies and creating networks of solidarity in that way is so crucial. We cannot resist in isolation. –Carol Fadda-Conrey

The image shows a mash-up of the three scholar-activists featured in this episode: Steven Salaita, Vincent Lloyd, and Carol Fadda-Conrey. The text reads, "academic freedom."

Steven Salaita, Vincent Lloyd, and Carol Fadda-Conrey

How do the precarious conditions of academic labor affect the conversations that are possible in the academy? How does academic freedom protect—or fail to protect—academics from doing politicized work? How do questions of Palestine in particular affect our understandings of academic labor and academic freedom—and vice versa? In episode 26, Steven Salaita, who lost a tenured job offer after writing a series of tweets condemning Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge,” talks about the rhetorical commonplaces of civility in the academy, and the stakes of circulating critiques of state power on various media platforms. Assistant professor of religion Vincent Lloyd, and associate professor of English Carol Fadda-Conrey—who helped to organize a talk by Salaita on SU’s campus this fall—reflect on their academic trajectories and political work, offer suggestions for how young scholars can build networks of support, and remind us to realize the critical potential of our discipline.

To access a PDF of the full transcript, please click here: Transcript for Episode 26

The music sampled in this podcast is akaUNO’s “Hidden Leaves,” and “Another Word” by The Left Curve.


Nov 152013

We want to enact social justice in our classrooms. We try to do this by considering diverse student bodies, incorporating multimodality into our classrooms, developing equitable assessment, and so much more. What about participation and democracy? Even if we value participation and democracy in our classes, what do these concepts look like in reality? And what about the pesky problem of authority? What about the unequal power relations between teacher and student?

A photo of Naeem in dress clothes--white button-down shirt, tie, dark slacks, with a book in his hand, standing in a classroom.

Naeem Inayatullah in the classroom (image via The Ithacan)

Episode 15 features an interview with Naeem Inayatullah, Professor and Chair of the Department of Politics at Ithaca College, who describes his pedagogical approach in the classroom: an approach he describes as Socratic, collective improvisation. This approach is at once radical and reflexive, informed by Lacan and addressing the power inequalities that exist in the classroom.

To read a PDF of the full transcript, please download it here: Episode 15 Transcript

The music sampled in this podcast is “Budgerigar Vishnu” by Vinod Prassana.


Oct 092013

I think that when we look at rhetorical means in relation to people who are making decisions that are destroying the planet, that are destroying people’s lives, that are immiserating and incarcerating large numbers of especially people of color around the country and around the globe, we should not be concerned about making them comfortable. We should not be concerned about finding a seat at their table. We should be thinking about how it is that we get together so that collectively we can make them very uncomfortable so that we can change them and—again—to do this collectively, democratically in a way that we discover ourselves and each other. — Nancy Welch

[W]e’re part of this larger national movement, and so when we’re in Syracuse and we have this opportunity in front of us, my thought was that anyone in the country who has been paying attention to the treatment of Bradley Manning should take the opportunity to, you know, call out President Obama on this issue because he ultimately has the power. — Ursula Rozum

Image from August 22nd Interruption of Obama at Henninger High School in Syracuse. Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre shouts through cupped hands as she and Ursula Rozum are escorted out of the gymnasium.

Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre shouts through cupped hands as she and Ursula Rozum are escorted out of Obama’s speech in Syracuse, August 22nd.

Episode 13 is a two-part episode that features an interview with Nancy Welch discussing the motivation for her scholarly work, composition’s activist roots, and the importance of participating in activist collaborations once tenured. The second part features an interview with Ursula Rozum and Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre who interrupted President Obama’s speech at Henninger High School on August 22, 2013 in order to ask Obama to pardon Private Manning through nonviolent free speech action. This podcast blends activism in both academic and public contexts, highlighting the ways that particular rhetorical acts are treated as un/civil.

To read a PDF of the full transcript, please download it here: Transcript for Episode 13

The music sampled in this podcast is “Biomythos” by Revolution Void, “Indyair” by Springtide, “Note Drop” by Broke for Free, and “Subterranean Zerbie” by The Mork Quartet.

Sep 052013

Stories fascinate me. They’re so laden and richly textured with the values and the literate activities of individuals that it makes me happy to think of that as shaping the communities within which they work and live and make change. — Cindy Selfe

If higher education is at least in part about critical thinking, about citizenship, about making sure that the work we do in the world is ethical and moral and matters, I’m not sure that we, in traditional higher education, haven’t done a particularly good job yet of justifying the work that we do in ways that are more palatable in this new climate. — Steve Lamos

This We Believe: Image of young boy at protest with red paint on his face and fingers held up in a peace sign.

Episode 12 is a glimpse into This We Believe, a project from Writing Democracy to record and archive conversations about democracy. This podcast features brief narratives from Cindy Selfe, Paul Feigenbaum, Steve Lamos, and Ellen Cushman who talk about democracy in our classrooms and in the world, in theory and in practice, and through linguistic and social action.

To read a PDF of the full transcript, please download it here: Transcript for Episode 12

The music sampled in this podcast is “As Colorful as Ever,” “Murmur,” and “Note Drop” by Broke for Free and “Namer” by High Places.