In the past several months students at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center and other CUNY campuses have worked on several projects that approach knowledge production from an emancipatory departure.Many of these initiatives began in the fall of 2011 when CUNY students from different campuses across the largest urban university system joined forces with Occupy Wall St.
In a beautifully written piece published inThe Advocate , the campus newspaper, you can familiarize yourself with some of the strategies of resistance practiced by students and faculty. For others struggling across public and private campuses against austerity, this synthesis piece might be of help with some ideas. Here is the original article titled “On the City as University: Occupy and the Future of Public Education”
Here are some interesting quotes that jumped out of the page:
Harvey demonstrates the reflexive power in embracing our entire cities as universities when he says: “The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city.”
This work must also boomerang back into the academy walls in the process of ultimately decentering university spaces as the sole, tightly guarded sites where knowledge is made and trafficked. Each conference is a space to differently occupy, establish networks, and debate living strategies. Each thesis and dissertation is an opportunity for multi-author, multi-modal scholarship to be evaluated by a committee of peers. Cross-department/cross-borough gatherings and actions can replace the vacuous insularity of academia.
Academia has a role to perform in Occupy’s future, but one that employs both a step forward and a step aside. Academia must cede intellectual space for community members—the exiles of our current university systems—to raise their own critical voices while we listen and learn. And academia must also reconcile its own demons of the past 30+ years of significant yet extremely disillusioned and defensive theoretical positions.
For more information about the Occupy CUNY movement check out the occupycuny news blog: http://occupycunynews.org/
See you in the streets.
- At CUNY’s Top Colleges, Black and Hispanic Freshmen Enrollments Drop (nytimes.com)
- The Choice Blog: At CUNY, an Ethnic Shift Because of Stricter Admissions (thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com)