The Role of Scholar-Activism: How Political Scientists Can Bolster Resistance Movements
Wednesday, September 2, 1:30-5:30 p.m.
Hilton Union Square 23
The past several years have given rise to a groundswell of social activism that is multi-layered and cross-sector. The Moral Monday Movement launched by the North Carolina NAACP has lasted nearly two years and is now in a dozen states. Another promising movement, Show Me 15 (a $15 per hour wage for restaurant workers), is coordinated by the Restaurant Opportunities Center–United and has spread to 200 cities. And recently, young activists loosely affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement protested the police killings of young blacks in places as different as New York and Alaska, as well as dozens of cities outside the United States. This workshop emphasizes the important role of political scientists in assisting grassroots activism and resistance movements, especially those fighting on behalf of historically disadvantaged communities. By offering practical steps for how political scientists can shape social activism—and how social activism can simultaneously shape political scientists—the workshop will outline effective ways that participants can link the academy with the community. Accordingly, the participants will discover diverse methods for bolstering resistance movements including research, writing op-eds, and assisting with the actual planning (or “behind the scenes” work) of movement campaigns. Collaborative approaches between the academy and social movements that marry theory and praxis is another insight that participants will gain from this workshop. The workshop will also provide concrete examples that explain how movement activism can improve the classroom pedagogy of political scientists. Finally, the workshop offers political scientists, especially graduate students and junior scholars, practical steps for engaging grassroots movements, while maintaining academic integrity and obtaining tenure and promotion.