Friday, February 29, 2008

The Ivory Tower is the Assassin's Hiding Place

I am beginning a series with this title: The Ivory Tower is the Assassin's Hiding Place because of recent events at U of M.  Get this: Andrea Smith was denied tenure.

Before anything, she was nominated for the Nobel freaking Prize.

For those who are new to my blog, you may not know this about me.  Because I worked and studied for so in the academy, I take the honor (and fun) of trying to dismantle (smear) the political patriarchy that bolsters its teaching (war zoned) buildings.

When I was an undergrad at Jesuit institution, one of the prayer petitions offered during mass was for "all the professors up for tenure. " A few weeks later, one of the most brilliant and gifted professors was denied.  A flurry of outrage from students and the community captivated the campus.  I was one of his students, familiar with is passion and light, but knew nothing about the tenure process, and very little about the other side (business, administration, faculty) of academic life in general.  The administration issued a statement that the tenure granting process has, really, "nothing to do with students" and I agreed.  Who I am to speak up for a professor?  What do I know about what goes on in the shadows of an ivory tower?  I'm just a student who loves a professor's work, but I reasoned to myself, "I'm sure there's more to it that I just don't and can't know about. IT'S NOT MY PLACE."

That's exactly what they wanted me to think.

Getting vocal about ANDREA freaking SMITH not getting tenure is one of these opportunities to speak up.   I do know something about the academic world.  I've been there, seen it, and recognize its oppressive ways.   For those unfamiliar with the academic world, know this for now:  it can be, depending on the institution, one of the most dangerous places or womyn of color.  I mean, think about it - here is womyn of color scholar who has dedicated her entire life to researching and teaching racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia; she matriculated from some of the most prestigious universities in the world, authored and published ground-breaking work in contentious or unknown fields, and presses young minds forward to think progressively, radically, and independently - and she is denied tenure.  

Institutions are supported (funded) by donors (rich White people) who grant (bestow) tenure (protection) and is one of the few (only) ways for scholars (true thinkers) and activists like Andrea Smith (pioneering feminist) to do their creative (brilliant) work (mission).

::sarcasm::  I wonder what this is about. 

Just a Few of Her Publications:

o Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide 

o Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely 


o Sacred Sites, Sacred Rites 

• Smith is editor and/or co-editor of the following anthologies:  

o Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology 

o The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial 


o Native Feminisms Without Apology 

o Forthcoming on theorizing Indigenous Studies

::dry::  Here's my question - why isn't this womyn more active?

She has published 15 peer reviewed articles in widely circulated academic journals

including American Quarterly, Feminist Studies, National Women’s Studies

Association Journal, Hypatia, Meridians, and the Journal of Feminist Studies in


• Smith is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards from organizations such as the

Lannan Foundation, University of Illinois, Gustavus Myers Foundation, Ford


• Smith was cited in the U.S. Non-Governmental Organization Consolidated Shadow

Report to the United Nations

• A co-founder of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence and the Chicago chapter

of Women of All Red Nations, she has been a key thinker behind large-scale national

and international efforts to develop remedies for ending violence against women

beyond the criminal justice system.  As a result of her work, scholars, social service

providers, and community-based organizations throughout the United States have

shifted from state-focused efforts to more systemic approaches for addressing


To Support Professor Andrea Smith:  The Provost must hear our responses!  Write letters in

support of Andrea Smith’s tenure case.  Address email letters to ALL of the following: 

• Teresa Sullivan, Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs, LSA,

• Lester Monts, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, LSA,

• Mary Sue Coleman, President, 



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