New York University will host a panel of public intellectuals to explore a critical tension confronting many scholars of race, gender and sexuality: how to produce meaningful scholarship and simultaneously sustain a commitment to social activism.

Many fields of modern scholarship - women’s studies, African-American studies and gay and lesbian studies among them - are in large part a legacy of activism and grassroots efforts. Yet many scholars in these fields now find themselves having to negotiate the demands of traditional scholarship, to defend the validity of the fields themselves, and to answer expectations that they maintain a vigorous commitment to an activist’s life.

The panelists discussing these issues will be:

  • Tricia Rose (moderator), New York University
  • Blanche Weisen Cook, John Jay College,
  • Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Spelman College
  • Robin D.G. Kelley, New York University
  • Manning Marable, Columbia University
  • Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Hamilton College

The panel, which will take questions from the audience, will explore such questions as:

  • Does speaking publicly on rancorous social issues affect scholarship or academic reputation?
  • Do political commitments limit a scholar’s objectivity and diminish the quality of the work?
  • Is activism at odds with academic conventions and institutional expectations?
  • How does an activist separate personal politics from teaching responsibilities?
  • Are the grassroots legacies of feminism and Afro-American studies an asset or a liability for these fields?
  • Do students have unique expectations of scholar/activists?

WHEN: Thursday, June 12, 1997, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Great Hall, D’Agostino Hall, NYU Law School, 110 West 3rd Street

Press Contact

John Beckman
John Beckman
(212) 998-6848