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Radical Intellectualism or identity politics? Academics self-reflect on who we are as general trouble makers

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Political Geography Specialty Group, Feminist Geographies Specialty Group
Organizers: Waquar Ahmed, Ipsita Chatterjee
Chairs: Ipsita Chatterjee


This session hopes to explore the gap between our conceptual positions and our academic/life politics. As radical/critical geographers of Marxist, post-Marxist, post-structural, feminist and queer theoretical dispositions, it is generally assumed that we have a commitment to connect our conceptual positions with how we identify ourselves in the world. For example, if we as geographers make it our theoretical mission to explicate poverty, inequality, Global North versus Global South disparity, then it can be expected that class position (and its critique) is an important identifier for us in the ‘real’ world. Similarly, if we explore capitalist patriarchy in our research, it can be expected that challenging class and gender oppression is the basis of our life politics. This session hopes to interrogate if indeed this is the case. Are we, as academics, able to talk the talk and walk the walk? In other words, is there a gap between our theoretical positions and how we identify ourselves in class-rooms, academic departments, universities, communities, home, social media, i.e. in the world at large. Are there impediments/challenges that create a gap between our conceptual positions and our politics? Do we stand with the oppressed in our academic publications while radiating elitism and patriarchy as professors, advisors, teaching assistants, office bearers, department chairs, conference organizers? Do we deftly use intersectionality (intersection between class and identity positions) in our research but become unidimensional/reductionist in our identity politics? Are there ways to resolve this gap, and is this resolution important for defining who we are?


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Ipsita Chatterjee University of North Texas 10
Discussant Rupal Oza CUNY - Graduate Center 10
Panelist Audrey Kobayashi Queen's University 10
Panelist Debanuj DasGupta University of Connecticut 10
Panelist Brian Napoletano Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental, UNAM Campus Morelia 10
Panelist Stijn Oosterlynck 10

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