How to write "Beyond" the academy: translating scholarly writing for a public audience
Facilitator: David J. Leonard
For many within academe, the “peer reviewed” journal article is the Holy Grail. Despite being read by 12 people, we are told over and over again, that it is the measure of our worth as both scholars (and people). On the other hand, a piece written for a newspaper, magazine, or online space is at best to community service and at worst antithetical to the true work of a scholar. Sure, it may have been read by more than 100,000 people but in the end it is a distraction for the real work. Despite the dismissal of public writing as antithetical to “academic” and “scholarly” work, at its core it is what we do as teachers, intellectuals and scholars. Public writing is another form of teaching, a public pedagogy that engages “students” outside and INSIDE the classroom. Public writing not only makes scholarly work better, but it is the scholarly work. While clearly useful in terms of bridging the academic and public, in terms of speaking to the potential impact, the power of public writing rests with its ability to engage discourses, shape conversations, and teach.
This workshop takes up the question of public writing, defending its importance within the academy and society as a whole. Beyond speaking to its importance, this workshop will provide advice and suggestions on integrating public scholarship into one’s research portfolio and how best to respond to the critics.
David J. Leonard is an Associate Professor and chair in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at Washington State University, Pullman. He is the author of After Artest: Race and the assault on blackness (SUNY Press, 2012). He is also author of Screens Fade to Black: Contemporary African American Cinema (Praeger, 2006); he is co-editor of Visual Economies of/in Motion: Sport and Film (Peter Lang, 2006), and Commodified and Criminalized: New Racism and African Americans in Contemporary Sports (Rowman and Littlefield, 2011). His work has appeared in Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Cultural Studies: Critical Methodologies, Game and Culture, as well as several anthologies. Leonard is a regular contributor to a number of popular outlets including the Chronicle of Higher Education, New Black Man, The Huffington Post, and Feminist Wire.