[-empyre-] Engineering the University : Week One : Nguyen and Simpson

Hamilton, Kevin kham at illinois.edu
Tue Mar 3 10:29:06 AEDT 2015

March on empyre : Engineering the University

Punk Materialities: Activism and the Academy


elizaBeth Simpson
Masters student, Department of Communication
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Mimi Thi Nguyen
Associate Professor, Gender and Women's Studies & Asian American Studies
Conrad Humanities Scholar
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Today we're starting our first of four weeks of conversations about the changing shape of academic labor in research settings. Each week, one of the grad students in our Seeing Systems (http://seeingsystems.illinois.edu/) cohort here at Illinois will lead a conversation with a scholar whose work and path lends some possible examples, models or theories to reflective engagement or critique of existing academic structures.

We're going to get started here with elizaBeth Simpson, who is currently a Masters student in Communication here at Illinois. She brings a rich history to her graduate studies of activism, teaching, facilitating and organizing, with an emphasis on performance, art, and storytelling as a basis for anti-oppression work. She has been a long-time teacher with the School for Designing a Society here in Urbana, IL, and a leader in our town's Maker and Indymedia communities.

elizaBeth invited Mimi Thi Nguyen (http://mimithinguyen.com), who though not part of our Seeing Systems project has been engaged in other efforts at home and abroad to which our faculty and students are deeply indebted. She's an ally and an example for many of us in her scholarship and organizing, and engages a wide variety of venues and forms for her scholarly production. From her book The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages (Duke, 2012) to her longtime role as zine editor (Slander, Race Riot) and columnist (Punk Planet, Maximumrocknroll), or her recently published chapbook through Sara McCarry's Guillotine, Mimi has navigated a remarkable collection of venues and forms. She'll be our only guest this month who is from our own institution, and we are extremely fortunate to have her at Illinois and on empyre.


Hey elizaBeth, could you start us off by telling us what made you think of Mimi's work in relation to our month's theme, and our group's efforts?

Thank you all!!

Kevin Hamilton
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