One Activist Intellectual’s Experience in Surviving and Transforming the Academy

My survival in higher education has its roots in the connections between my lived experience as the immigrant son of farm worker parents and the lessons learned in overcoming systemic obstacles as a community organizer and intellectual activist. Whenever the road in academia got rough I had to face another hurdle, I always remembered the difficulties that my immigrant farm worker family had to face. In this way, the problems I encountered in academia appeared smaller and more manageable. My struggles with learning English and growing up in a poor immigrant farm worker family became the foundations of language, labor, and immigration issues that I passionately took up in my organizing, teaching, and research as an activist intellectual in academia.

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José Z. Calderón

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Stockdill, B. C., & Danico, M. Yu. (2012). Transforming the Ivory Tower:  Challenging Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in the Academy. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press.


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