An Intersectional Social Justice Approach for Liberation
Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II, John Sorenson, Kim Socha and Atsuko Matsuoka
5 The Ivory Trap: Bridging the Gap between Activism and the Academy Carol L. Glasser and Arpan Roy
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The Ivory Trap
Bridging the Gap between Activism and the Academy
Carol L. Glasser and Arpan Roy
Functionally, oppression is domesticating. To no longer be prey to its force, one must emerge from it and turn upon it. This can be done only by means of the praxis: reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.
—Paulo Freire, 2006, p. 51
The place where learning and knowledge are meant to occur is referred to as many things—university, post-secondary education, college, the academy, and, of course, the ivory tower. The term “ivory tower” captures both the glories and pitfalls of study and scholarship within the academy. The term first emerged in biblical sources in the Song of Solomon and later came to be a reference to the figure of Mary. However, by the twentieth century it came into its modern usage—referring to the university and intellectual and artistic work detached from daily life (Shapin, 2012).
The ivory tower in this sense has been both ridiculed and revered. During the Second World War, the ivory tower was associated with artists. While there was a call among many artists and intellectuals to reject insular artistic creation and direct their work toward dismantling fascism and Nazism, others argued that it was precisely because of the turmoil in the world that good art could only be produced in a space detached from these...
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