What can an open, insurgent publishing body do? – An Interview with Stevphen Shukaitis

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

This quote struck me:

There’s something quite interesting about collectives and projects that persist for that length of time. Oftentimes within radical political circles you don’t get that level of persistence in time. It’s interesting to see what value you can have for forms of collectivity that endure. Midnight Notes, AK Press, and Ruigoord are other examples. I think there’s a value in—not necessarily stability because obviously they keep changing—but what kinds of projects persist and that hold together a kind of milieu. That’s what I see as one of the main values of that kind of project.

And this one:

It’s strange because doing all those other things like writing a book, doing public speaking events, or doing interesting things politically or artistically are the things that your colleagues are interested in – but they aren’t the things that register in the value metrics of the university. It’s almost like a kind of schizophrenia between knowing these two things in order get any credit for your work. It says you have to publish in these places and do this, and there’s stuff you also want to do. It’s almost as if you manage to play the first set of value metrics in a way that is deemed to be satisfactory, then you are allowed a greater leeway where with the other things you are doing you can do what you want. It’s kind of a schizophrenic response to knowing how to use those different measures of importance – and the difficult part is how to play with them without letting them change what’s really important to you.This is somewhat awkward for me, in that I didn’t want to have to divide up doing, you know, ‘this is my political work and this is the academic work.’ Sometimes it’s helped to actually make that sort of division.

And then this one, for me, seems to be the focus of the radical academic’s “measurable written outputs that fit the value metrics of the university”:

It’s just this sort of punctuated point where you have to constantly say, ‘okay, this is what’s happening. How do I think about it in a way that sort of re-opens political possibilities?’

The blog on which I found this article is awesome, and finding it makes me feel my morning has not at all been wasted. Thanks Chris R for sharing it on facebook. See you soon. Cycle safe.

Class War University


Summary: Stevphen Shukaitis, editor of Minor Compositions, talks about the possibilities for open publishing as an experiment and a provocation. Drawing on his book, Imaginal Machines, he reflects on the challenge of resisting the recuperation of radical energies in work. As a professor in a business school, he shares his approach to radical teaching: using traditional materials for subversive ends. 

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