Tempered radicalism and intersectionality: Scholar-activism in the neoliberal university

Jennifer Richter, Flóra Faragó, Beth Blue Swadener, Denisse Roca-Servat, Kimberly A. Eversman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Using a collaborative critical personal narrative methodology grounded in intersectionality, we interrogated tensions in identifying ourselves as tempered radicals and scholar-activists who were involved in a local university-community activist organization. We assert the value of informal activist spaces within the university and identify issues related to the lack of recognition of scholar-activism as legitimate scholarship, including the paradox of universities as colonizing and liberatory spaces for community engagement and activism. Our themes highlight how mentorship affects scholar-activism and how activism transforms and disrupts the neoliberal university. Yet, activism is rendered invisible, making homeplaces for scholar-activism critical for students, faculty, staff, and the community to address structural inequalities within and outside of the university. We conclude with recommendations to improve mentorship for scholar-activists, to revise tenure and promotion policies to include scholar-activism, and to recognize spaces within the academy that honor scholar-activism as a critical form of praxis informed by intersectionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1035
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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