On Intellectual Activism by Patricia Hill Collins

By Patricia Hill Collins

On the grounds that stepping down because the one centesimal President of the yank Sociological organization, Patricia Hill Collins has been lecturing generally at universities and at deepest and public firms concerning the function of the highbrow in public tradition and the way good intellectuals speak questions on modern social concerns to the bigger public. This publication is a suite of these lectures, besides new and (a few) previously-published essays.

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How differently our ideas about families, schooling, immigration, and government would be if we presented them not just at academic conferences but also at neighborhood public libraries, to groups of college students, to returning students, at parent education classes, or even to our own families. In this spirit, the essays in On Intellectual Activism illustrate different strategies for engaging diverse publics by attending to distinctive constellations of purpose, audience, content, and form. As you read, I encourage you to pay attention not just to the thematic content but also to how I say what I say in each essay.

When I arrived at school each day, I held my breath, knowing that the price of success would be delivering a command performance as a prop. I might gain a part on the stage near the hero and maybe, just maybe, if I were good enough, I'd get a small speaking part. I lived William E. B. Du Bois's social script of double consciousness, of always having to see myself through the eyes of white teachers and classmates. Leaving school each day allowed me to exhale and leave that script behind. Many of the themes in Black Feminist Thought reflect my sustained effort to reconcile my independent view of the world with my devalued place in it.

Those of us who participate in intellectual activism must do a better job of engaging the public. How differently our ideas about families, schooling, immigration, and government would be if we presented them not just at academic conferences but also at neighborhood public libraries, to groups of college students, to returning students, at parent education classes, or even to our own families. In this spirit, the essays in On Intellectual Activism illustrate different strategies for engaging diverse publics by attending to distinctive constellations of purpose, audience, content, and form.

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