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Towards scholar-activism: transversal relations, dissent, and creative acts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jen Bagelman



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. What does it mean to be a scholar-activist or to pursue scholar-activism in the neoliberal university? Acknowledging how this concept of a ‘scholar-activist’ is often approached either cynically or idealistically, we ask how we might engage this figure otherwise: as one characterised by in-betweenness. We pursue the question of what it means to be a scholar-activist theoretically drawing on the work of Engin Isin, and empirically situated in the midst of our everyday teaching lives. In doing so, we develop ideas about how enacting our academic lives through a politics of in-between involves developing transversal relations, practising pedagogical dissent, and engaging in non-heroic, creative acts of citizenship. Overall, we argue for a form of scholar-activism that is ambivalent about its capacity to bring about change, and restless in practising how things could be different. Through a discussion of two examples of dissident teaching practices from our respective Geography departments, we ask: what might it mean to pursue change in the spaces of the university, using the tools we have to hand, as we consider the future possibilities for scholar-activism?.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stephens AC, Bagelman J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Citizenship Studies

Year: 2023

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 27/01/2023

Acceptance date: 01/01/2023

Date deposited: 17/02/2023

ISSN (print): 1362-1025

ISSN (electronic): 1469-3593

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13621025.2023.2171251


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