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“Who's Going to Man the Factories and be the Sexual Slaves if we all get PhDs?” Democratizing Knowledge Production, Pedagogy, and the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute

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Abstract

Identifying a policy/activism dichotomy in critical geography debates about political engagement, this paper uses the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute (DGEI) as a way to think about teaching as an alternative response for left geographers. By focusing on the DGEI's commitment to expanding access to knowledge production, not simply the dissemination of knowledge, the paper highlights the radical potential of a key form of academic work, teaching, but reconceived as a radically democratic project aimed at breaking the cycle of expert knowledge production. This potential has largely been marginalized in the development of radical geography, but it has been carried forward, latently, in much of the best thinking about the democratic possibilities of knowledge production, namely feminist discussions of situated knowledges. The paper argues that revisiting the DGEI helps to push those discussions further and restore teaching as a central concern of radical geography's project of promoting social justice.

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