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Power and the Ivory Tower

Power and the Ivory Tower

Academics as Intellectual Guerillas

(p.82) Chapter Three Power and the Ivory Tower
Black Power, Yellow Power, and the Making of Revolutionary Identities
Rychetta Watkins
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter considers how some academics took up the guerilla subjectivity, positioning Ethnic Studies as a critique of the mid-twentieth-century canon and positioning themselves as what Abdul JanMohamed called “border intellectuals.” It was the works Girda and The Black Panther that facilitated the guerilla’s move from image to identity position. This change turned the term “guerilla” from a subject to a term of subjectivity and identity. The change also established the guerilla as a participant in American political discourse. In the beginning, as this identity further broadened, the guerilla could take up the markers of this subject position even without engaging in combat. When militant activism fell out of favor, however, the identity of the guerilla shifted from one of military significance to one that meant militant resistance. The chapter thus explores what academics and writers had to say about guerilla subjectivity, as well as their position in the discussion.

Keywords:   guerilla subjectivity, Ethnic Studies, Abdul JanMohamed, border intellectuals, Girda, The Black Panther, guerilla, militant activism, militant resistance

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