What Can Activist Scholars Learn from Rumi?
Philosophy East and West, Volume 64, Number 1, January 2014, pp. 1-24
25 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2014
Date Written: January 15, 2014
The neoliberal restructuring of higher education everywhere is accompanied by a distinctive branch of knowledge known as activist scholarship. Drawing from a number of disciplines including education, sociology, social anthropology, social theory, law, and human rights, activist scholarship proclaims as its core mission Marx’s imperative that philosophy should transform the world. Activist scholars affirm human emancipation as the goal of scholarship and set themselves the task of building bridges between theory and practice. There is a spectrum of views on the theory-practice nexus. Regardless, they all share certain common grounds that affirm (1) a nexus between theory and practice; (2) a relationship between knowledge and action; (3) knowledge as a condition for emancipation and freedom; (4) the affirmation of love and solidarity for social change; (5) the importance of everyday life; and (6) the role of the activist scholar in social change. These themes form part of a long and entrenched tradition in dissident Eastern philosophies, in particular the poet-saint traditions. Here each of the themes in activist scholarship is interrogated using the works of Mawlana Jalal al Din Rumi, the thirteenth-century Persian poet. What can activist scholars learn from Rumi?
Keywords: Activist Scholarship, Rumi, Theory and Practice, Knowledge and Action, Love and Solidarity, Social Change, Everyday Life, Research Methods, Ontology and Epistemology
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