Hacking Acadamia

The starting point with this session was a felt uneasiness with the division between practice and theory. How do you position yourself as a feminist or a transfeminist in the academia? This session is rooted in personal experiences of how to hack academia in concrete terms to be able/or try to attempt to position oneself as a trans/feminist within a university setting. To be able to survive in academia you need to hack it. Those who have been able to hack it at a personal or collective level have a responsibility to share the ways in which this was done so other can learn and remix it. Sharing tactics that can be applies all is thus important. This gives us strength and courage to continue our work in what is often a very isolating experience. The relationship between academia and knowledge production is very problematic. Sometimes we, as academics, have a form of shame because it is not easy to position ourselves between practice and theory – between activist and academic lives. In some country, the division between theory and practice is more pronounced. This is often linked to the idea of universalism. The idea that every citizens are the same. This is very problematic. In the country of Foucault, Derrida and the post-structuralists, that is France, the distance between your personal life and your research is separate. The problem arises when you are an activist researcher. What not to do to foster the gap between theoretical production and practice? How can we produce “restitution research” on people who continuously put themselves on the line? How and what to do to create an environment that will slowly 'feels like home' and where you develop a feeling of belonging (Alvarez 2013: 50)? How can we avoid the interiorizing of academic norms that, through the creation of boundaries create mental containment, control and limit our practice? Rachele Borghi aka Zarra Bonheur example (extract from performing academy). “I'm a queerlesbianfeminist pornoactivademic geographer. My research activities have always featured the reflection on the academic practices and on my positioning in relation to research and fieldwork. The contact with queer groups and collectives made the issue more and more significant and raised the urgency to find and experiment effective approaches that could help me to avoid replicating the duo theory/practice. Zarra Bonheur is born to search for answers to these persistent questions, to find a ‘teotetic’ way out to conceptual cages, to experiment the embodied research, to convey subjects, objectives and concepts through my body.” Watch her performing academy hack: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xy53hh_queer-days-rachele-borghi_shortfilms Recommended reading are: Beyond scholar activism: Making strategic interventions inside and outside the neoliberal university Constructing a Relational Space between ‘Theory’ and ‘Activism’,or (Re)thinking Borders The cultural role of universities in the community: revisiting the university - community debate Demand the Possible: Journeys in Changing ourWorld as a Public Activist-Scholar The Border between Theory and Activism Militant Research Hand-Book Porn's pedagogies: teaching porn studies in the academic–corporate complex