When I was young(er), I wanted to grow up to be Jamie Robinson. When that proved difficult, my ambition changed to something slightly less fanciful—transnational feminist scholar activist.
No, I didn’t use that term until years later, when I needed to name it for the grad school application. And now, it’s the end of the year, and I’m in a reflective mood. Transnational feminist scholar activist? It sounded good enough to get me back into school, but I’m struggling to get my bearings.
* is about having a question or questions you need to answer. Not want, need to answer. For you or for the world. Not for your tenure committee or to fill out your vita. To inform the world. To change the world. To find the truth. Your truth, whether continent or eternal.
* is about watchfulness, about seeing the detail that changes the meaning of the picture.
* is about seeing the big picture. Your big picture, no one else’s.
* is about telling people who need to know. They might not be the people who “matter,” but they still need to know.
* is about integrity, about craft, about fashioning a perfect thing.
* is about joy, about the delight in watching the mind work, about delight in watching the minds of our interlocutors work, about delight in the process of seeing students’ synapses–or our own–connect and lightbulbs go on.
* is about power. Power to determine what is real, what is important. Power to tell our OWN stories as we see fit.
I’ve been thinking about this for the past week, especially in the context of combining teaching and research here in the US when my heart is with Filipina women back home. I’ve been thinking of all this in light of the growing corporatization of the University of the Philippines, my alma mater—a corporatization that, despite key challenges, many others are uncritically welcoming.