Panel: «On Academia’s Response-ability during Genocide»

«Pause for Thought»: On May 15, 2024 «Visdomsspirer» («Buds of Wisdom») hosted a Zoom seminar on the Academy’s responsibility during genocide. Moderator: Rannveig Haga. Panelists: Adnan Mahmutović, Ingela Visuri, and Dag Herbjørnsrud. A recording is available at this YouTube link.

Info from Visdomsspirer:

«In our second Pause for Thought- Seminar we have invited Adnan Mahmutović, Ingela Visuri and Dag Herbjørnsrud to discuss the response-ability of academia during the ongoing genocide in Gaza. The discussion takes off in the norm of distancing between scholars and the topics of study, which has led to an academic disengagement and detachment from the world. We must ask how has this detachment influenced our ability to respond to large historical moments, wars, and ecological catastrophies? Does our academic training make us less able to respond? Is that why students who are new to academia now are leading the way in their response to genocide?

The image from Al-Jazeera shows how protesting students gives hope to the citizens of Gaza. More established academics have been more silent, and those who have spoken up have in many instances been opposed and actively silenced, as has especially been the case in Germany. A question is if we now have less academic freedom, or are the limits simply more visible to us in dark moments of history?

As Edward Said stated in 1993: «I think the major choice faced by the intellectual is whether to be allied with the stability of the victors and rulers or the more difficult path to consider that stability as a state of emergency threatening the less fortunate with the danger of complete extinction, and take into account the experience of subordination itself, as well as the memory of forgotten voices and persons.»

Contradictions become visible as the response to the invasion of Ukraina was easily and widely condemned within Western academia. The question posed by Audre Lorde in order to become free from domination: «How do we transform silence into language and action?” leads us to ask further: How do we enhance our ability to act in the face of the threat of extinction? How do we start to recreate a world where we can be alive and engage and appreciate the presence of the other?»

Photo Credit, Al-Jazeera:

The panel is awailable to watch here:

Link to Visdomsspirer: