Public Intellectualism
Antonio Gramsci: Traditional Intellectuals vs. Organic Intellectuals From MarxWiki An Organic intellectual, unlike a tradi...
The Role of the Public Intellectual  by Alan Lightman http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/papers/lightman.html Heirarchy of Leve...
Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar” (1837) Idea of the "One Man” the person who embodies all dimensions ...
Edward Said, “Representations of the Intellectual” (1993) An intellectual's mission is to advance human freedom and knowle...
Susan Sontag “ The Last Intellectual” (1978) on Walter Benjamin,  New York Review of Books “ One cannot use the life to in...
Rick Prelinger
We’re all going to die…
We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be  like you; leave a body of ...
We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be  like you; leave a body of ...
We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be  like you; leave a body of ...
We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be  like you; leave a body of ...
We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be  like you; leave a body of ...
Critical Art Ensemble
Electronic Disturbance Theater
SARAI
Raqs Media Collective
The Believer
McSweeny’s
Make
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Public Intellectualism

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Some thoughts on public intellectualism and new modes of scholarship

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  • Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir (top) distributing the Maoist newspaper 'La Cause du peuple', mouthpiece of the angry 68 students, to passing shoppers in Paris
  • Public Intellectualism

    1. 1. Public Intellectualism
    2. 2. Antonio Gramsci: Traditional Intellectuals vs. Organic Intellectuals From MarxWiki An Organic intellectual, unlike a traditional intellectual, is a bourgeoisie scholar who cultivates strong roots in his/her community, working to maintain links with local issues and struggles that connect to the people and their experiences. While traditional intellectuals imagine themselves as an autonomous group with an historical presence above and separate from political class struggle, they are in fact strongly allied with the dominant ideology and the ruling class. On the other hand, organic intellectuals openly recognize their location within the dominant ideology and their function in perpetuating it, and use their positionality to cultivate strategies for helping their communities to develop a self-inspired, organic consciousness.
    3. 3. The Role of the Public Intellectual by Alan Lightman http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/papers/lightman.html Heirarchy of Levels of Public Intellectual Public Intellectuals are often a trained in a particular discipline and are on the faculty of a college or university. When such a person decides to write and speak to a larger audience, he or she becomes a "public intellectual.” Level I Speaking and writing for the public exclusively about your discipline. This kind of discourse is extremely important, and it involves good, clear, simplified explanations of the national debt, the how cancer genes work, or the science of global warming. (Marita Sturken writing op-ed pieces in the New York Times about cultural memory and 9/11; Carl Sagan) Level II Speaking and writing about your discipline and how it relates to the social, cultural, and political world around it (Henry Jenkins testifying before Congress on children and media; Todd Boyd being quoted by every newspaper in the country during the trial of the cops who beat Rodney King) Level III The intellectual has become elevated to a symbol, a person that stands for something far larger than the discipline from which he or she originated (Noam Chomsky writing about politics more than linguistics)
    4. 4. Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar” (1837) Idea of the "One Man” the person who embodies all dimensions of human potential and actuality -- the farmer, the professor, the engineer, the priest, the scholar, the statesman, the soldier, the artist. Emerson's intellectual, while enriched by the past, should not be bound by books. His most important activity is action. Inaction is cowardice. Emerson's intellectual preserves great ideas of the past, communicates them, and creates new ideas. He is the "world's eye." And he communicates his ideas to the world, not just to fellow intellectuals. Emerson's intellectual does all of these things not out of obligation to his society, but out of obligation to himself. Public action is part of being the One Man, the whole person.
    5. 5. Edward Said, “Representations of the Intellectual” (1993) An intellectual's mission is to advance human freedom and knowledge. This mission often means standing outside of society and its institutions and actively disturbing the status quo. At the same time, Said's intellectual is a part of society and should address his/her concerns to as wide a public as possible. Thus Said's intellectual is constantly balancing the private and the public. His or her private, personal commitment to an ideal provides necessary force. Yet, the ideal must have relevance for society. How does the intellectual stand both outside society and inside society? How does the intellectual find common ground between what is of deeply personal and private interest and also what is of public interest? How does the intellectual engage him or herself with the changing issues of society while at the same time remaining true to certain unchanging principles?
    6. 6. Susan Sontag “ The Last Intellectual” (1978) on Walter Benjamin, New York Review of Books “ One cannot use the life to interpret the work, but one can use the work to interpret the life.” From “Regarding the Torture of Others” New York Times May 23, 2004 “ Words alter, words add, words subtract. It was the strenuous avoidance of the word ''genocide'' while some 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda were being slaughtered, over a few weeks' time, by their Hutu neighbors 10 years ago that indicated the American government had no intention of doing anything. To refuse to call what took place in Abu Ghraib -- and what has taken place elsewhere in Iraq and in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay -- by its true name, torture, is as outrageous as the refusal to call the Rwandan genocide a genocide.”
    7. 7. Rick Prelinger
    8. 8. We’re all going to die…
    9. 9. We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be like you; leave a body of published work as a monument to yourself
    10. 10. We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be like you; leave a body of published work as a monument to yourself Public Intellectual Academia is your day job; write books and essays that regular people actually buy and read; participate in social and political organizations
    11. 11. We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be like you; leave a body of published work as a monument to yourself Public Intellectual Academia is your day job; write books and essays that regular people actually buy and read; participate in social and political organizations Artistic Intellectual Gain credibility, recognition and access to media through artwork, then broaden our sphere of competence
    12. 12. We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be like you; leave a body of published work as a monument to yourself Public Intellectual Academia is your day job; write books and essays that regular people actually buy and read; participate in social and political organizations Artistic Intellectual Gain credibility, recognition and access to media through artwork, then broaden our sphere of competence
    13. 13. We’re all going to die… Traditional Intellectual Get tenure; write books; teach students to be like you; leave a body of published work as a monument to yourself Public Intellectual Academia is your day job; write books and essays that regular people actually buy and read; participate in social and political organizations Artistic Intellectual Gain credibility, recognition and access to media through artwork, then broaden our sphere of competence Electronic Intellectual Use our ability to control media, networks and technology to amplify our voices and organize around issues
    14. 14. Critical Art Ensemble
    15. 15. Electronic Disturbance Theater
    16. 16. SARAI
    17. 17. Raqs Media Collective
    18. 18. The Believer
    19. 19. McSweeny’s
    20. 20. Make
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