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Published on Sep 5, 2012
Rajani Bhatia, visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University, provides comments at the Tarrytown Meeting plenary roundtable "Activism Meets Academia; Advocacy Meets Scholarship."
The Tarrytown Meetings are unique in the diverse groups that they bring together, including scholars from a range of disciplines and advocates from a number of constituencies. Many participants have worn different hats at different points in their lives, and many move fluidly between the worlds of academia and advocacy. The Tarrytown mix has been enlivening and productive, with many participants from mainly academic backgrounds expressing gratitude for the opportunity to work with activists, and vice versa.
At the 2012 Tarrytown Meeting, we sought out to build on what we've begun, and explicitly considered the importance of academically engaged advocacy and publicly engaged scholarship. How might our work at Tarrytown learn from successful academic-activist partnerships that already exist -- the successes, the difficulties, and the knowledge gained along the way? What structures for communication, idea-sharing and collaboration could be set up to enable dialog between activists and academics after Tarrytown 2012? Now that the third Tarrytown Meeting is over, we will need to focus on taking our messages public, a pursuit that makes academia-advocacy partnerships all the more crucial.