Week 8: Where is the “I” in The Academy, Eve.

While reading Professor Brim’s book (which I thorough enjoyed– especially the reference to A Room of One’s Own), I felt a common theme appearing– Queer Studies as a discipline, and the associated tension that comes with, represents a microcosm (or is perhaps the situation itself): where within The Academy does personal experience and knowledge through experience (a type of praxis) fit? We’re living in an age of increased awareness of intersectionality and the inherent politic of personhood, and while on the one hand individuals and institutions get brownie points for increased “wokeness,” we’ve time and time again failed to see fundamental priority shifts materialize. In other words, we’ve been offered conflicting narratives: the personal counts, but cannot be the basis of your inquire– not while we’re still referring to Foucault and Derrida. What Professor Brims clearly points out is there’s overlap in the material he’s teaching and the location in which the material is being taught. Is the only potential for valid personal academy inquiry within an underfunded/public institution like CUNY– and even within CUNY only schools like The College of Staten Island vs. Hunter or the GC.

My questions go back to a larger question I have thought repeatedly this semester– what does the Institution owe us (individuals) and what is it place in our lives outside of the classroom? It seems to me that to allow for Queer Studies to become commonplace is in some way to declare the institution owes us more than an education, but clear support in a type of conduct and wellbeing. This may be the way the world is now, but is it right?

Is there a way to hold a school accountable to the complex reality of students’ lives while maintaining a role as an only-academic space?

1 thought on “Week 8: Where is the “I” in The Academy, Eve.

  1. Matt Brim


    Your final question seems to me to divide college from the rest of life, but is higher ed a separate sphere? One of my main realizations in writing the book is that the academy is class stratified *because* life is class stratified. It doesn’t come to its hierarchical structure on its own but, rather, replicates broader social hierarchies. I am not sure I have ever seen an “only-academic space.” I’ve seen spaces that think of themselves that way, certainly.


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