What Is Academia Good For? Experiential Learning and Community Engagement(Panel)
Busra Copuroglu (Western University)
Jennifer Komorowski (Western University)
This panel seeks to explore the discussions—if not tensions—in and around academia concerning its impact and how it can possibly help shape, effect the “real” life, a discussion that further escalates/reaches a peak particularly in the arts and humanities. What is it all good for? What are we supposed to do with the information produced, created, accumulated in the “ivory tower” of humanities? What does activism mean in academia? Expressions such as “knowledge mobilization,” “community engagement,” and “experiential learning” are thrown around promiscuously in the humanities, but what do these terms actually mean? How can theoretical training in issues such as postcolonialism, gender studies, feminism, and critical theory effectively translate into the policy making procedures of municipalities, cities, states, or countries? More importantly, how can theoretical training find a resonance in the everyday lives of people in a way that creates positive change, and thus mobilize knowledge? Is academic activism solely confined to petition signing exercises? This panel seeks contributors who can speak to the ways in which this can be made possible through experiential learning and community engagement, where students undertake projects which have real world implications and turn theory into praxis.