Non-Profits, NGOs, and "Community Engagement": Refiguring the Project of Activism in Gender and Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies

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This essay centers on the ubiquitous undergraduate curricular offering, the internship, as a fulcrum for critical inquiry about the project of activism in an era of neoliberal government, which casts a long shadow across our intellectual and political endeavors. Though more and more curricula across disciplines and schools are integrating the internship (usually credited as an independent study) into programs of study (often as a professionalizing turn), the internships we discuss here as community engagement or service learning signal especially complicated histories and vexing conjectures for those interdisciplinary fields querying power and knowledge. For gender and women’s studies and ethnic studies in particular, the community-engagement internship foregrounds these fields’ activist roots as political projects, enacts a return to community, and guarantees for these fields both a practical bent and a democratic self-narration.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScholar & Feminist Online
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016



  • activism
  • education
  • gender
  • labor
  • neoliberalism
  • race

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