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[Xmca-l] Re: actions within academia + identity and activity.

I am loving this thread, thanks so much for the resources, Theresa and Richard; and thanks Wendy and Helena for sharing so relevant experiences and reflections. 

I am particularly interested in what Wendy begun noting as a 'lack of resistance,' and Helena's connection with the other thread on identity and activity. 

As I see it, there here not a fundamental question of whether, in principle, identity or activity go first. It think the proper question is rather *what kind of situations *thinking of* identity and activity in such or such terms allow us to bring about and indeed become different persons and generate different practices (which I think is partly what Laure was suggesting in her first response to Andy). 

There is a difference between 'being' and 'conscious being.' Thus, during most part of your everyday life, you do not question who you are, you just are; you are whatever part of the larger whole you are part of. Let's say, a junior scholar (postdoc) soon having to apply for fix positions in a faculty's staff meeting. I think here, while business as usual is the norm, identity is not an issue. There is no point in wondering who you are, or whether who yo are being is cause or effect of activity. You are who you are, and everyone in the room knows without having to think about it.

But it is in the moment when WHO you are becomes an issue in the room (perhaps because you have spoken in unanticipated ways, or perhaps because you have been neglected to speak out; definitely speaking has something central to do here) that we may have conscious being: it is then that the possibility for changing activity and changing identity emerges. But this, again, is a possibility (and a responsibility) of the collective, of the room. Because once who you are is at stake, there must be *collective work* to address the question. And I think it is then when the question on the relation between  identity and activity becomes important. 

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
Sent: 15 February 2017 19:23
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: actions within academia

Thanks, Wendy.

Re, "the lack of resistance". Here's a moment when identity might precede activity. If I say, "I am X kind of person, therefore I will speak up now and make a problem for the implementation of this policy," that's identity preceding activity, right? But in that moment one also weighs the likelihood of performing career suicide -- unless there are enough of X kinds of people to make it a collective activity.

This is a loop, not a fork.


Helena Worthen
Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com

On Feb 15, 2017, at 4:19 AM, Wendy Maples wrote:

> Yes, thank you Helena. This is quite right. The university where I am currently working has recently successfully implemented zero hours contracts for part-time tutors, with hardly a murmur from full-time staff, who have themselves been divided into 'research' and 'teaching-only' faculty (needless to say most of the boards agreeing these decisions are made up of the professoriat). While the rationale for this is completely understandable and (in this particular case) not necessarily deleterious, there is a wider issue of the culture that enables this. The implementation of capitalist-managerial caste-based systems appears to be accelerating. I'm not saying the old academic tenure system was without its flaws (I'm a female academic after all), but the acceleration of these new systems and the lack of resistance to them is worrying.
> BTW, just heard a key note by Martin Weller ('the open researcher') who is himself now a bit more concerned about some of the risks of being open, and was arguing that individual academics need to know they have the support of their institutions. I worry that, increasingly, they/we don't/won't.
> Wendy
> ________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Andrew Babson <babson@gse.upenn.edu>
> Sent: 15 February 2017 11:13
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: actions within academia
> I cannot recommend Helena's email highly enough. The casualization of the
> academic workforce is not some kind of natural disaster. It's been
> engineered as a neoliberal two-fer: academia becomes a "business", and
> faculty become divided and weak. Joining a faculty union is the best first
> response to this. The radicalized GOP has tenure and faculty power in their
> crosshairs. Without institutional power, we can't teach well or do our best
> research. Faculty who choose to ignore any of this are part of the problem.
> On Sat, Feb 4, 2017 at 8:10 PM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Actions within academia? Following the advice of thinking globally, acting
>> locally, don’t forget the third kind of action within academia: paying
>> attention to the faculty workforce itself, which is has been deteriorating
>> into a gig economy for the last 30 plus years. If there is organizing going
>> on among adjuncts on your campus, seek it out and support it; if there is a
>> campus coalition of university-wide unions (which will mean secretaries,
>> techies, landscapers, food workers, transportation and custodial workers as
>> well as faculty of all levels), attend meetings and be supportive; in
>> faculty meetings, insist on adjuncts/lecturers be treated equally. If a new
>> kind of program gets floated (for example, an online degree) ask, “Who is
>> doing this work? What are their working conditions?”
>> It’s amazing what a strong workforce-wide coalition can do to slow down
>> the construction of luxury rec facilities and the closure of language or
>> ethnic studies programs.
>> Third kind meaning in addition to doing research or designing curriculum
>> that has progressive content or protecting structures of opportunity that
>> reduce inequality.
>> H
>> Helena Worthen
>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>> Berkeley, CA 94707
>> Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>>> On Feb 4, 2017, at 4:35 PM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Richard,
>>> Many thanks for this. What great resources! Medaiting artefacts. They
>> come at a good time for my wife and me as far as what needs to be done in
>> the larger social domain. Distributed agency at different scales. Within
>> each circle we need trust and respect of one another. That really resonates
>> all through. I like the metaphor of electro-magnetic field. It was in the
>> title of my letter honoring Vera in the book Bob Lake and Cathrene Connery
>> edited. (Shout out to Bob and Cathrene!) Part of Vera’s magic circle we
>> are. So the circles are across generations. (Shout out to Vera!) Such cool
>> people on the chat. But warm blooded. (Shout out to Andy!)
>>> Henry
>>>> On Feb 4, 2017, at 2:46 PM, Richard Beach <rbeach@umn.edu> wrote:
>>>> Mike, regarding your call for action on campuses, my concern is that
>> people may accept a passive stance as individuals assuming that they lack
>> agency to make change as opposed to achieving distributed agency (Enfield,
>> 2013) through exposure to examples of collective activism so that they
>> achieve agency through co-action with others. Students and researchers
>> could examine examples of current organized efforts from a CHAT perspective
>> in terms of use of certain tools and norms to achieve certain
>> objects/outcomes, for example:
>>>> - Our Revolution national organization website <
>> https://ourrevolution.com/>
> Our Revolution - Our Revolution<https://ourrevolution.com/>
> ourrevolution.com
> The next step for Bernie Sanders' movement is a new group called Our Revolution, which will fight to transform America and advance the progressive agenda that we ...
>>>> - Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda <
>> https://www.indivisibleguide.com/web/>: Former congressional staffers
>> reveal best practices for making Congress listen
>>>> - Courage Campaign <https://couragecampaign.org/>: A California-based
> Courage Campaign<https://couragecampaign.org/>
> couragecampaign.org
> Join the fights for a more progressive California and country. We are an online community of activists powered by more than 1,000,000 members.
>> organization of 1.3 million members promoting progressive agendas
>>>> - Swing Left <https://swingleft.org/>: Targets swing districts to
> [https://swingleft.org/dist/imgs/logo.png]<https://swingleft.org/>
> Swing Left | Take Back the House<https://swingleft.org/>
> swingleft.org
> Control of the House in 2018 will be decided in a handful of Swing Districts. We can stop the Trump agenda by joining together NOW, wherever we live.
>> promote candidates for the 2018 election.
>>>> Consistent with a CHAT perspective, to avoid students framing the
>> political space in individualist terms—as Trump does in his attacks on
>> critics, it’s also useful for students and researchers to examine issues in
>> terms of competing systems associated with institutional forces and change.
>> For example, in addressing climate change, students and researchers can
>> examine the intersections between ecological, economic, agriculture, legal,
>> political, urban design/housing, transportation, schooling, health care,
>> military, media, and scientific research as systems related to climate
>> change. For example, the agribusiness agricultural system of monocrop/beef
>> production is a major contributor to CO2 emissions related to climate
>> change. Students can also examine examples of legal and political efforts
>> as systems associated with addressing climate change issues <
>> http://climatechangeela.pbworks.com/w/page/103010995/
>> Chapter%209%20%C2%A0Links>, for example, a group of students in Orego
>> n <http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/13/opinions/climate-kids-
>> federal-lawsuit/index.html> who have a lawsuit in federal courts suing
>> the U. S. Government for failing to address climate change.
>>>> Richard Beach, Professor Emeritus of English Education, University of
>> Minnesota
>>>> rbeach@umn.edu
>>>> Websites: Digital writing <http://digitalwriting.pbworks.com/>, Media
>> literacy <http://teachingmedialiteracy.pbworks.com/>, Teaching literature
>> <http://teachingliterature.pbworks.com/>, Identity-focused ELA Teaching <
>> http://identities.pbworks.com/>, Common Core State Standards <
>> http://englishccss.pbworks.com/>, Apps for literacy learning <
>> http://usingipads.pbworks.com/>, Teaching about climate change <
>> http://climatechangeela.pbworks.com/>
>>>>> On Feb 4, 2017, at 11:55 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>>>>> Richard and Alfredo
>>>>> I keep coming back to the question of how we, as academics, located in
>> the
>>>>> system of higher education, researchers on the social creation of
>> social
>>>>> inequality, ought to be re-orienting our research in light of the
>>>>> re-surrection of global nationalist/populism.
>>>>> So for me, its important to focus on concrete exemplars that might
>> unloose
>>>>> this potential: "shock events' possibility not only for separating but
>> for
>>>>> actually offering opportunities to re-organize and unite priorly
>> separated
>>>>> forces."
>>>>> In a recent discussion at LCHC, this topic came up in terms of how to
>>>>> connect our research and our undergraduates to the life of the
>> communities
>>>>> whose children do not make it to the university. Such an effort
>> requires
>>>>> coordination of a variety of dis-articulated groups with a common
>> concern
>>>>> about socially and culturally marginalized, econonomically stressed,
>>>>> communities.
>>>>> The challenge of engaging successfully in such work and satisfying the
>>>>> academic production requirements of their academic personnel committees
>>>>> seems a major challenge.
>>>>> Positive suggestions of how to meet this challenge would be warmly
>> accepted.
>>>>> mike
>>>>> On Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 10:33 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <
>> a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> Thanks for sharing Richard, I had seen Richardson's analysis online.
>> In
>>>>>> fact the amount of analyses in the media that this crisis is
>> generating is
>>>>>> overwhelming, but also very encouraging and gives hopes towards
>>>>>> Richardson's notes on shock events' possibility not only for
>> separating but
>>>>>> for actually offering opportunities to re-organize and unite priorly
>>>>>> separated forces. I wonder, if Lincoln managed without the web and the
>>>>>> i-phone, will it happen today?
>>>>>> Alfredo
>>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.
>> edu>
>>>>>> on behalf of Richard Beach <rbeach@umn.edu>
>>>>>> Sent: 03 February 2017 00:28
>>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l]  Bannon's actions as "shock event"
>>>>>> Here’s an interesting analysis of Bannon’s actions on banning
>> immigrants
>>>>>> that’s related to Bakhtin’s notion of “eventness” and Roth’s (2014)
>>>>>> analysis of “events-in-the-making” associated with the experience of
>>>>>> unfolding events with unpredictable consequences. We still don’t know
>> what
>>>>>> the fallout will be from attempts to implement this ban.
>>>>>>> From Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College:
>>>>>> "I don't like to talk about politics on Facebook-- political history
>> is my
>>>>>> job, after all, and you are my friends-- but there is an important
>>>>>> non-partisan point to make today.
>>>>>> What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night's ban on
>>>>>> immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries-- is creating
>> what is
>>>>>> known as a "shock event."
>>>>>> Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into
>> chaos.
>>>>>> People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line
>> that
>>>>>> those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone
>> know
>>>>>> how to restore order.
>>>>>> When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them
>>>>>> enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for
>> the
>>>>>> shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a
>> goal
>>>>>> they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been
>>>>>> distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer
>>>>>> concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the
>>>>>> partisan lines established by the shock event.
>>>>>> Last night's Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event.
>> It
>>>>>> was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was
>>>>>> released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it.
>>>>>> People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do
>> so.
>>>>>> Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but
>> border
>>>>>> police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.
>>>>>> Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.
>>>>>> My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it
>> is in
>>>>>> no one's interest to play the shock event game. It is designed
>> explicitly
>>>>>> to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot
>> stand
>>>>>> against something its authors think they won't like.
>>>>>> I don't know what Bannon is up to-- although I have some guesses-- but
>>>>>> because I know Bannon's ideas well, I am positive that there is not a
>>>>>> single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle--
>> and my
>>>>>> friends range pretty widely-- who will benefit from whatever it is.
>>>>>> If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each
>>>>>> other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have
>> been
>>>>>> tricked into accepting their real goal.
>>>>>> But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used
>>>>>> positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could
>> just
>>>>>> as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the
>> people who
>>>>>> sparked the event.
>>>>>> A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it
>> requires
>>>>>> knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines.
>> This,
>>>>>> for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial
>> southern
>>>>>> states out of the Union.
>>>>>> If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach
>> across old
>>>>>> lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the
>> strings.
>>>>>> This was Lincoln's strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats,
>>>>>> Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new
>> Republican
>>>>>> Party to stand against the Slave Power.
>>>>>> Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable.
>> Members
>>>>>> of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all
>>>>>> Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work
>>>>>> together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much
>> common
>>>>>> ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a "government of the
>>>>>> people, by the people, and for the people."
>>>>>> Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political
>> potential of
>>>>>> a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting
>> that
>>>>>> Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it."
>>>>>> Richard Beach, Professor Emeritus of English Education, University of
>>>>>> Minnesota
>>>>>> rbeach@umn.edu
>>>>>> Websites: Digital writing <http://digitalwriting.pbworks.com/>, Media
>>>>>> literacy <http://teachingmedialiteracy.pbworks.com/>, Teaching
>> literature
>>>>>> <http://teachingliterature.pbworks.com/>, Identity-focused ELA
>> Teaching <
>>>>>> http://identities.pbworks.com/>, Common Core State Standards <
>>>>>> http://englishccss.pbworks.com/>, Apps for literacy learning <
>>>>>> http://usingipads.pbworks.com/>, Teaching about climate change <
>>>>>> http://climatechangeela.pbworks.com/>
>>>>>>> On Jan 26, 2017, at 10:16 AM, Helena Worthen <
>> helenaworthen@gmail.com>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> On the subject of dividing, here is an ugly snapshot of the wedge
>>>>>> getting driven in — the building trades unions finding common ground
>> with
>>>>>> Trump as a “developer.” The other deeply regressive unions are the
>> prison
>>>>>> guards and police.
>>>>>>> http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/01/building-trades-allow-
>>>>>> themselves-to-be-played-like-fools
>>>>>>> I attend monthly discussion groups in the Bay Area organized around
>>>>>> readings from the magazine Jacobin. I like these because the other
>>>>>> participants are mostly 20s and early 30s, techies or grad students.
>> Very
>>>>>> smart, very alert, very well-read and articulate. They are stamped,
>>>>>> however, with evidence of never having studied history. (Philosophy,
>> yes —
>>>>>> which is interesting.) To many of them, the building trades and police
>>>>>> unions are typical of the political position of labor unions.
>>>>>>> So they see LIUNA leaders meeting with Trump and smear the whole
>> labor
>>>>>> movement with it.
>>>>>>> H
>>>>>>> Helena Worthen
>>>>>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>>>>>>> Berkeley, CA 94707
>>>>>>> Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>>>>>>>> On Jan 26, 2017, at 9:26 AM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> <
>>>>>> lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>>>> Yes,
>>>>>>>> Today, the strategy of dividing, leaving us in disarray, is how i
>>>>>> experience the deluge of draconian executive ‘orders’ that  leaves me
>>>>>> spinning.
>>>>>>>> Leaves me questioning where to start.
>>>>>>>> Exposing the disarray on the other side in concrete ways (Koch vs
>>>>>> Mercer) is a valuable addition to our ways of responding.
>>>>>>>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>>>>>>>> From: Peg Griffin
>>>>>>>> Sent: January 26, 2017 8:57 AM
>>>>>>>> To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
>>>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Cambridge Atlantica site that Peg
>> referred to
>>>>>>>> At this point, Larry, I'm content to rise to as much concrete as I
>> can
>>>>>> get near, until at least the late spring, to get at ideas and
>>>>>> contradictions, to keep moving and supporting so I'm in enough places
>> to
>>>>>> and bits of the movement to find the productive places for me.
>>>>>>>> A mini-mission of mine right now is to get people to recognize the
>>>>>> divide among the big money folks in the US -- the Mercer father
>> daughter
>>>>>> beat the Koch brothers within the Republican moneyed.
>>>>>>>> The other side works hard to divide us and take advantage of the
>>>>>> disarray, so why not pay attention when they are dividing themselves!
>>>>>>>> No use being a day late and a dollar short about who's who!
>>>>>>>> Maybe it's just that my great uncle was in vaudeville and showed us
>>>>>> three yammering nieces a super card game called "52 pick-up."  It's
>> not too
>>>>>> good too often for too long but everyone once in a while it's not a
>> bad
>>>>>> game.
>>>>>>>> PG
>>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
>>>>>> mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of lpscholar2@gmail.com
>>>>>>>> Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 11:02 AM
>>>>>>>> To: Peg Griffin; 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
>>>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Cambridge Atlantica site that Peg
>> referred to
>>>>>>>> Peg, Mike,
>>>>>>>> Reading these two articles on BigData and remembering how funding
>> will
>>>>>> be given to academic research that slots into being verified (or
>> negated)
>>>>>> through BigData is profoundly disturbing and leaves me with a sense of
>>>>>> inertia at the scope of the alienation involved in this manipulation.
>>>>>>>> Using Simmel’s back and forth notion of the relation of (distance
>> and
>>>>>> intimacy) and finding the proper ratio depending on the events
>> occuring
>>>>>> then the proper relation between distance and intimacy will be
>> shifting in
>>>>>> scope in each historical era.
>>>>>>>> Will our response to the vast distance incarnated through BIgData
>>>>>> require intimate responses as counterpoint??
>>>>>>>> If this is LIKE the 1930’s, do we have any answers from the past
>> that
>>>>>> give glimmers of a way forward that can be responsive at scale to the
>>>>>> distancing of BigData?
>>>>>>>> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
>>>>>>>> From: Peg Griffin
>>>>>>>> Sent: January 25, 2017 5:39 PM
>>>>>>>> To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
>>>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Cambridge Atlantica site that Peg
>> referred to
>>>>>>>> And here's  a Guardian story https://www.theguardian.com/
>>>>>> us-news/2016/nov/23/donald-trump-cambridge-analytica-steve-bannon for
>>>>>> those interested in the post-election ties among the Mercers (father
>> and
>>>>>> daughter), Bannon, Conway, and Cambridge Analytica.
>>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
>>>>>> mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Peg Griffin
>>>>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 7:43 PM
>>>>>>>> To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
>>>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Cambridge Atlantica site that Peg
>> referred to
>>>>>>>> Hee hee hee, Mike Cole, you rogue!  This is the official Cambridge
>>>>>> Analytica site https://cambridgeanalytica.org/ But Mike direct you
>> to a
>>>>>> meatier sit about it!
>>>>>>>> Peg
>>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
>>>>>> mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
>>>>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 1:41 PM
>>>>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] The Cambridge Atlantica site that Peg referred to
>>>>>>>> https://antidotezine.com/2017/01/22/trump-knows-you/