Wed, 6 November 2013
supplemental episode (40.75) An Unconference of students, student groups, community organizations, and faculty
gendercast supplemental episode 40.75: The University of Washington Unconference
Listen along with the University of Washington's 2013 Disorientation Unconference. This is a supplemental episode to follow Episode 40 that explores the four different segments of the first UW Disorientation, and Episode 40.5 features the Radical History Tour of Campus. For folks that could not be there in the moment, take a listen, and if you feel moved contact the organizers or stay tuned about how to get involved next year or in your local area.
From its founding on occupied Duwamish land, to the passage of a diversity credit requirement, the University has always been a part of the larger landscape in both destructive and generative ways. The history of campus is shaped by militarism, departments founded and funded in the service of a litany of wars. Today we see corporate models of management imported into University life. We see the reduction of students to “consumers” of a degree, and big banks profiting off student debt. We see academic salaries stagnate and working conditions degenerate.
But we also remember histories of struggle, and we recognize that the University space can cultivate resistance. Disorientation is a place to challenge oppressive structures by expressing our creativity, diversity and curiosity around the themes of social justice, decolonization, and liberatory education. A decolonized university is a place where we can learn to “write back” to imperial power–not do research in its service. A liberatory education questions the gatekeeping that claims classrooms as the only spaces where knowledge can be cultivated. By looking at our histories and sharing stories, we can begin to shake off the dominant narrative of privilege and exceptionalism.
As students, faculty, and community members connected to the University of Washington, we have the power to reorient the University’s path toward justice. So we ask, how has our university been radically repurposed in the past? How do we reclaim those histories now? What might this look like?