Today I said it in class — I’m not an artist. I definitely don’t feel like I can call myself that. I don’t see myself that way at all. What I do might be considered “creative” or might even be termed “art” by some people, and you can call it what you want. What am I to me, though?

I’m certainly an activist. I believe in the power of people to affect social change. I think with the right measures of heart, wisdom, strategy, tactics, love, and fun, we can fix this stupid world and make it a more equitable, just one. I think a great barrier to change is lack of knowledge and feelings of alienation, and I want to come up with new strategies to fix that.

I do consider myself a scholar. I continue to value the theoretical underpinnings and history of thought that I consider with everything I do. I love learning, thinking, and arguing. I value intellectual rigor and academic practice. (It helps that the academy is where I get paid!)

I think that I am also a facilitator. I hesitate to use the word “teacher” because it implies an inequitable relationship between myself and my students. While I do have the power to assign them grades, I also think I have a great deal to learn from them, too. Nevertheless, I do have a strong background in certain topics, and I have skill and interest in the applications of radical pedagogy in higher education. I was complimented today on those skills, and it made me feel really good.

I am a radical. Anybody who thinks they have the ideas that will really shake the world can call themselves that name.

What I want to continue to make is activist work, it is scholarly, it is closely tied with education (whether formal or popular), and it certainly is radical. I am not warm to the idea of calling it art. I can’t yet articulate why, but maybe that’s something I’ll work on a little bit in the next few weeks.

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