Donald Trump's election forced academics to confront the inadequacy of promoting social change through the traditional academic work of research, writing, and teaching. Scholars joined crowds of people who flooded the streets to protest the event.
The present political moment recalls intellectual forbearers like Antonio Gramsci who, imprisoned during an earlier fascist era, demanded that intellectuals committed to justice "can no longer consist in eloquence ... but in active participation in practical life, as constructor, organizer, 'permanent persuader' and not just a simple orator" (Gramsci, 1971, p. 10). Indeed, in an era of corporate media and "alternative facts," academics committed to justice cannot simply rely on disseminating new knowledge, but must step out of the ivory tower and enter the streets as activists.
The Activist Academic serves as a guide for merging activism into academia. Following the journey of two academics, the book offers stories, frameworks and methods for how scholars can marry their academic selves, involved in scholarship, teaching and service, with their activist commitments to justice, while navigating the lived realities of raising families and navigating office politics. This volume invites academics across disciplines to enter into a dialogue about how to take knowledge to the streets.