TOTW: Anarchists in the Academy
The further away I get from college, the stranger the academy appears to me. My education as an anarchist came after I graduated, and as a result I was spared some of the seriousness anarchist academics seem to ascribe to pluralizing nouns like anarchy, praxis, or whiteness (lest any readers assume there was just one kind). When I look at anarchists in the academy, they mostly appear as strangers to me – an incestuous community of people who are employed (however precariously as many appear to be adjuncts) at educational institutions and whose anarchy (anarchies?) appears to consist of volumes analyzing social movements and keeping each other employed through long lists of citations of these volumes. People (with some notable exceptions) who rarely appear in the wild, and when they do pop up often appear lost and bewildered sitting behind a table with a handful of inscrutable tomes in front of them as their eyes search the room for a kindred spirit to share the joys of their latest research project and the woes of non-tenure-track positions.
At the same time, I can enjoy theory, and look with more than a little suspicion at people who say they’re beyond it or try to bludgeon you with the mantra of action above all else. Certainly not all anarchists in the academy have fallen into the abyss I’ve described above… right? Theoretically the academy can provide us knowledge not otherwise obtainable outside of it as well as the time and space to develop our own thoughts while getting paid to do so.
What are your thoughts on the academy (academies?) and how we relate to it as anarchists?