Doing Academia in a World in 'Crisis': Why and For Whom?

Sarah Bellows-Blakely's picture
June 15, 2018 to June 16, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Human Rights, Humanities, Labor History / Studies, Public History

The symposium, "Doing Academia in a World in 'Crisis': Why and For Whom?" is intended to address the ethical stakes involved in doing academic work, both in general and in the current political climate. The event will focus on three, intertwined layers of analysis: 1) How academic institutions have grown in tandem with the violent processes that reinforce the very hierarchies of power many scholars aim to deconstruct in our work (colonialism; nationalisms; the neoliberal and/or corporate university; various forms of racial, class-based, and gendered privilege; etc); 2) The ways in which academia has served as an incubator for movements to protest oppression, from Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and Rhodes Must Fall today to anti-war, anti-colonial, feminist, and civil rights movements of the mid-20th century; and 3) How do and should scholars conceptualize the output of our knowledge production in light of the political stakes involved? What ethical consequences, concerns, and responsibilities accompany doing the work that we do? Why, how, and for whom are we researching, writing, and teaching? What does it mean to explicitly acknowledge academic work as political work - and what does it mean to conceive of scholarly work as "apolitical?”

Friday, 15 June: 
11 am - 1 pm: Welcome Remarks; Screening of  documentary, "Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992”
+Film immediately followed by discussion with film director and producer, Dagmar Schultz

4 - 6 pm: Keynote Panel, followed by Audience Questions and Discussion
Keynote Panelists:
Dorothy Hodgson, Rutgers University
Juan Manuel Palacio, Universidad de San Martín (Argentina) and the Argentine National Research Council
Pamela Scully, Emory University

6 - 7:30 pm: Reception

Saturday, 16 June: 

10:30 am - 12:30 pm: Panel, "Reinforcing, Remaking, and Upending Power: Academic Institutions as Contradictory Spaces”
Chair: Andreas Eckert
Edna Bonhomme, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Richard Schroeder, Rutgers University
Keren Weitzberg, University College London

2:30 - 4:30 pm: Round Table: "The Ethical Stakes of Scholarly Work”
Schirin Amir-Moazami, Institut für Islamwissenschaft/ Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies
Clifton Crais, Emory University
Sophia Hoffmann, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) 
Savannah Martin, Washington University in St. Louis 
5 - 6 pm: Closing Remarks; Conference Wrap-Up and Final Reflections
7 pm: Dinner for symposium participants
Center for Work and the Human Life Cycle in Global History (re:work)
Humboldt University of Berlin
Main Conference Room
Sixth Floor
Georgenstrasse 23
10117, Berlin 
Please address questions to Sarah Bellows-Blakely at
Contact Info: 

Dr. Sarah Bellows-Blakely

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