One of the Material Collective’s foundational principles is to advocate for real progressive change in academia. Just as we pursue a variety of scholarly interests, we support a range of different causes and movements. But we all agree with what Eileen Joy had to say in her introduction to L.O. Aranye Fradenburg’s book, Staying Alive: A Survival Manual for the Liberal Arts (NY: Punctum Books, 2013):
…those of us who work within the humanities must commit some of our most valuable resources (primarily, our always-encroached-upon time, and some part of our inner emotional lives) to academic activism, whether through letter writing, blog polemics, organized protests and strikes, collectivist agitation and intervention, mutual aid initiatives, and books such as these. (p. xxv)
We also appreciate that an activist mode-of-being is not the natural state for many academics, and so we hope to use this platform to communicate more broadly about issues that affect us all. As Fradenburg herself puts it in Staying Alive, “No academic today, in whatever field, can afford to be ignorant of the historical, economic and political circumstances of his or her work.” (p. 30)
We offer a set of links to some resources and readings on academic activism, and we invite you to lend an ear to the blog and our twitter feed (@materialcoll) for specific issues and calls-to-action as they come to the fore.