Seditious Acts: Being in, But Not of, the Neoliberal University

José Manuel Santillana Blanco, Kidiocus King-Carroll, Naimah Zulmadelle Pétigny, and Kong Pheng Pha

Almost all educational spaces and institutions in the United States are embedded within a long history of settler colonialism, chattel slavery, and racial capitalism. Many universities and colleges were founded as land-grant institutions through the Morrill Land-Grant Acts of 1862 and 1890. The Morrill Land-Grant Acts initiated the development of land-grant universities and colleges (now commonly and more accurately referred to as Land Grab Universities and Colleges) through the violent dispossession of Indigenous people in the United States. It is estimated that 11 million acres of Indigenous land belonging to 250 tribes, bands, and nations were forcefully obtained by way of over 160 violent treaties and land seizures. [1]Robert Lee et al., “Land-Grab Universities,” 2020,

Concomitantly, the social, political, and economic foundation of education was thoroughly intertwined with the Atlantic slave trade. The earliest American academies were financed, developed, and maintained through ill acquired profits from slave economies across the South. As Craig Steven Wilder notes, “It was the security that human slavery provided free man, the wealth that traders and slaveholders could generate, and the social networks of plantation economies that brought…the American academy and that carried the American academy into modernity.”[2]Craig Steven Wilder, Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, First U.S. edition. (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2013), 111. These historical legacies of colonial violence are what erects and propels the contemporary neoliberal university.

Today, an array of universities and colleges remain complicit in the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine and the genocide of the Palestinian people. For example, the University of Minnesota (UMN) is one of many academic institutions that manages its financial assets through the multi-billion dollar investment firm BlackRock. On campus, student organizers have drawn attention to UMN’s connections to the occupation vis-a-vis corporations such as Caterpillar, Raytheon, Elbit Systems and G4S. [3]The Minnesota Republic, “Students Ask UMN to Divest from Companies It Doesn’t Invest In,” Campus Reform, February 29, 2016, UMN and across the country, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and allies continue to be at the forefront of speaking out against Israel’s genocide of Palestinians as well as the targeting of scholars, students and educational institutions in Gaza and the West Bank. Time and time again, student activists have called for radical organizing on campus to resist border imperialism and neoliberal violences locally and across the world.[4]Harsha Walia, Undoing Border Imperialism. (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2013). Throughout the last several decades, students have led various campaigns to divest from the tobacco industry, South Africa during Apartheid, and the prison and immigration detention industries in the United States.

Still, the struggle and solidarity movements for a Free Palestine continues to garner unwarranted suppression through strategic censorship, manipulation, and retribution. Within universities and colleges, students, faculty, and workers who express concerns over the livelihoods of the Palestinian people and land are subject to punishment. Since October, student organizations including SJP, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Coalition Against Apartheid, and MEChA at American University, Arizona State University, Rutgers University, MIT, Case Western Reserve University, George Washington University and Columbia University were suspended. In April 2024, three students were expelled, one suspended, and twenty put on academic probation after students protested the Vanderbilt University administration’s removal of the student approved Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) initiative, Columbia University suspended and evicted six students for their involvement in planning a pro-Palestinian panel on campus grounds and Pomona College arrested and suspended eighteen students for protesting against the removal of pro-Palestinian artwork on campus. Among many others, University professors Jairo Fúnez-Flores (Texas Tech University), Abdulkader Sinno (Indiana University), Ameer Loggins (Stanford), Amin Husain (NYU), Rebecca Lopez (University of Arizona) and Abeer Abouyabis (Emory University) were suspended for speaking openly about settler violence in Gaza. In sum, universities have unabashedly performed the repressive and violent work of the state from the very founding of the U.S. settler nation to the present. 

Other recent struggles have contested the attacks on ethnic studies, critical race theory, and the unionization of students, postdoctoral scholars, and adjunct faculty. In 2010, Republican governor Jan Brewer signed a law banning Mexican American studies programs in Arizona. Right wing lawmakers accused educators in the field of teaching “racial resentment” and advocating for the “overthrow of the government.”[5]Hank Stephenson, “What Arizona’s 2010 Ban on Ethnic Studies Could Mean for the Fight Over Critical Race Theory,Politico, 2021. More recently, Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ administration proposed several bills targeting African American studies and critical race theory. The proposed bills blocked Advanced Placement African American studies curricula in high schools as well as any race-based discussions in businesses and public schools. 

While state-sponsored measures that seek to limit academic freedoms are ongoing, student-led movements of resistance struggles continue to intervene. In California, thousands of University of California (UC) graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and academic researchers secured new worker contracts through strikes and advocacy, while several college and university workers across the country began new efforts to address unfair labor practices and demand fair wages. Across campuses, student organizing continues to address the legacies–and ongoing effects–of slavery, settler colonialism, war, and imperialism and their entwinement with knowledge production in the contemporary neoliberal university. 

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Minnesota

The formation of the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) graduate writing group at UMN is a continuation of the legacy of radicalism and activism for social justice on America’s college campuses. We trace CRES’s establishment back to the January 14, 1969 “Morrill Hall takeover” at UMN. On that day, nearly a year after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seventy Black students from the Afro-American Action Committee (AAAC) occupied Morrill Hall at the central quad of the campus for over twenty-four hours to demand the creation of an African American Studies department. Their takeover was part of a long series of protests against the racist campus climate that isolated and excluded Black students from participating in university life.[6]Tina Burnside, “Morrill Hall Takeover, University of Minnesota,” MNopedia In response to this demand and the Morrill Hall takeover action, UMN established the Department of Afro-American Studies in 1969. It was one of the first Afro-American Studies departments in the nation, and later became the Department of African and African American Studies. 

By 1970, Chicanx and Latinx students in Minnesota began formulating conversations about the lack of resources for their community, as well as the possibility of establishing a Chicano Studies department in the Midwest. Dissatisfied with the University’s inaction to their call for creating spaces in the institution for rigorous engagement with Chicanx histories and ways of knowing, twenty Chicanx students occupied Morrill Hall on October 26, 1971. They demanded the establishment of a Chicano Studies department at the university within seventy-two hours. The university agreed to the students’ demand, and the Department of Chicano Studies was established the same year. In the fall of 1972, UMN offered the first Chicano Studies courses and accepted its first cohort of students.[7]Jessica Lopez Lyman, “Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, University of Minnesota,” MNopedia The department later transformed into the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies. 

Nearly 40 years later, a radical movement for racial justice was brewing on the UMN campus. In 2010, several undergraduate and graduate students, along with a faculty member, began convening to address what they argued was a fundamental contradiction between the rhetoric of “diversity” at UMN and the actual investment in fostering diverse student populations and learning environments on campus. Naming their movement as Whose University?, the group sought to preserve institutional memory about the lessons learned from student-led struggles at UMN. Whose University?, at its core, demanded the radical transformation of the university in order to democratize education. It named the violences of neoliberal multiculturalism, and traced their inner workings across various levels of the university. They drew inspiration from the 1969 Morrill Hall takeover, the 1971 Chicano student occupation, as well as the General College Truth Movement— the activism against efforts to dismantle the General College, an undergraduate college at UMN that prepared primarily first-generation and students of color for higher education. 

Whose University? and Whose Diversity?

Whose University? critiqued the institution by posing a series of questions: Who is admitted? Who is supported? Whose knowledge is valued? The movement’s messaging and critiques emerged from “numerous debates over the merits or political salience of words like ‘equal access,’ ‘excellence,’ ‘exclusions,’ and ‘underrepresented.’”[8]Quotations taken from Whose Diversity? minutes. Whose University? began working on a film to document the movement and organized a series of events for its Day of Education on April 20, 2011, that included a theatrical performance, a teach-in, and a panel discussion with four undergraduate students and the faculty directors/chairpersons of UMN’s four ethnic studies units (African and African American Studies, Chicano and Latino Studies, American Indian Studies, and Asian American Studies). Nearly 20 undergraduate and graduate students organized the events and over 700 individuals, including high school students, attended the Day of Education events.

Still capture from Whose University? “Day of Education” Trailer (2011) found on YouTube

In the fall of 2014, the Whose University? movement was revived by a new cohort of graduate students who established the collective Whose Diversity? Many of the founding members of the CRES graduate writing group were active organizers and members of Whose Diversity? The central critiques animating the activism of Whose Diversity? were: What does it mean when diversity reflects not substantive diversity but, instead, an institutional management of minority difference (i.e. the incorporation of minorities into the university’s mission)? How does the university acknowledge and transform cosmetic diversity into a more substantial engagement with diversity? Whose Diversity? argued that UMN cannot ethically continue to espouse its commitments to diversity without wrestling with these questions and implementing policy changes to improve outcomes for diverse and historically oppressed student populations. Ultimately, Whose Diversity? argued that “subscribers of cosmetic diversity are beholden to existing power structures and the interests of university administrators, the majority of whom are not representative of historically marginalized students” rather than ensuring the success and well-being of historically marginalized students.[9]Quotation is taken from Whose Diversity? minutes.

Whose Diversity? was a dynamic movement that organized consciousness-raising sessions, and engaged in highly visible activism, most notably the sit-in at UMN President Eric Kaler’s office at Morrill Hall in 2015. This sit-in was intentionally reminiscent of the 1969 Morrill Hall takeover. On Monday, February 9, 2015, sixteen students, predominantly graduate students of color, entered President Kaler’s office to present a set of demands. These demands included: ending racial descriptors in crime alerts, hiring more faculty of color (specifically in the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies), requiring all students on campus to take at least one course in ethnic studies, creating all-gender bathrooms in every building, and establishing a program to recruit students of color and low-income students from surrounding communities. The seven-hour sit-in ended with the arrest of thirteen students. A few days after, the university announced a cluster hire of four faculty members to be placed in the various ethnic studies departments, in addition to the departments of American Studies and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. 

Whose Diversity? members Melinda Lee, José Manuel Santillana Blanco, Irina Barrera, Max Franz, Alaina DeSalvo, and Rahsaan Mahadeo protesting at a Board of Regents meeting at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center on June 10, 2016.

CRES the Writing Group

In the immediate aftermath of this intense organizing, activism, and fighting against the university’s criminalization of our protests, we turned towards each other. We felt the need for a space to write and think with each other about our roles as scholars, workers, and students within a neoliberal institution. The  formation of the CRES graduate writing group in fall 2015 provided the necessary intellectual and political community for us to come into ourselves as radical scholars and educators. We needed to interrogate how the corporatization, neoliberalism, and violences inherent in American educational spaces produced feelings of exclusion for graduate students of color, resulting in modes of isolation that discourage us from forming intellectual communities in the university. CRES was imagined as a relational space for graduate students of color to rely on one another for emotional and intellectual support, and strategize about how to reduce our sense of isolation in the university. Essentially, CRES was, and continues to be, an intentionally collaborative and relational space that seeks to challenge the ethos of a neoliberal university that encourages competition and hyper-individualism at the expense of collaboration and co-production of knowledge.

CRES primarily operated as a writing group. We held bi-weekly meetings and circulated papers for feedback. The space had a two-fold mission. First, CRES was intentionally designed as a space to interrogate the university and its approaches to interdisciplinary work. Graduate students of color from various departments convened to write openly and courageously in interdisciplinary ways that challenged disciplinary dogmas and approaches to scholarship. We worked collaboratively to understand and ground our scholarship in intellectual traditions which centered Black and Brown liberation and healing, and required an “un-learning” of dominant epistimes. When we left campus, we held dinners and potlucks at our homes and went singing and dancing at local bars, all the while organizing, agitating, and learning from each other during after hours. We understood these acts occurring off-campus as challenges to the formal space of learning in the neoliberal university. Our work of collaborative knowledge reproduction was cultivated through pleasure and relationship building, things that are actively discouraged in official university spaces.

In sum, CRES was a direct affront to the whiteness of the university and the disciplinary modes of knowledge production that re-center and reproduce whiteness. Through CRES, we sought to reframe how we can create relationships with each other through creative methods of providing feedback, conducting research, crafting integrity, and holding each other accountable for support. CRES’ eight points of unity–submitting timely work, submitting work that matters to the author, attending meetings, providing written feedback on writing, not sharing others’ work, sharing workloads and responsibilities, and creating an intentional space–were central to how we as graduate students of color created spaces that affirmed our lived experiences. As a collective and radical writing group, we sought to create and embrace spaces rooted in our commitments to love, radicalism, and worldmaking. 

Seditious Acts: The Symposium 

CRES members organized the Seditious Acts: Graduate Students of Color Interrogating the Neoliberal University symposium in Spring 2017 on the UMN campus to convene like-minded graduate students of color from across the nation to share and present their scholarship. Dozens of graduate students of color and Indigenous students from across the nation, including from the University of Washington, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, UC-Irvine, UC-Santa Barbara, Queen’s University, Miami University, UMass-Amherst, and Michigan State University, presented their scholarship at Seditious Acts. The overwhelming, participatory interest in Seditious Acts evidences the shared feeling of isolation among graduate students of color across the country from The University of Minnesota and beyond. 

The symposium sought to advance emancipatory scholarship and activism that combats all forms of systematic violence. The symposium was an explicit act of resistance. We wrote in the symposium program, “This symposium is the result of the protest, scholarship, and experiences of working-class, first generation, feminist, and queer graduate students of color at the U of MN, who have experienced multiple marginalizations within the academy. Some of these marginalizations include being invisible and being left out of scholarly conversations, or more overt marginalizations such as students of color being arrested for expressing dissent, or faculty of color being denied tenure.”

It is instructive for us to reflect on publishing this issue nearly seven years after the Seditious Acts symposium. We all completed our study at UMN and have begun tenure-track positions elsewhere, but our political and intellectual commitments remain deeply connected to one another. That is, we are committed to publishing these works as an act of support for and investment in graduate students of color in the academy. While our new roles in the academy as faculty members are distinct from our roles as graduate students, we also understand the similarities that persist for academics of color. Faculty of color continue to be marginalized and targeted in the academy, and we carry some of the trauma and experiences of these violences with us into the tenure-track. We envision this issue as a mobilizing force which sustains our political commitments. In this vein, we view this issue as continuing the legacies of radical movement building within and outside of the neoliberal university. 

CRES members and faculty allies Kidiocus Carroll, Rahsaan Mahadeo, Naimah Petígny, Rose Brewer, Edén Torres and Idalia Robles De León at the Seditious Acts symposium discussing the commitments of graduate students and faculty of color to disrupt the neoliberal University in April 27, 2017.

Seditious Acts: The Issue

While the state continues its attacks on Indigenous, Black, queer, trans, Muslim, Palestinian, immigrant, refugee, and communities of color, radical voices across the board continue to resist by drawing attention to, and grappling with, new ways of addressing and confronting the state’s varied systematic violences. In the spirit of radical traditions cultivated inside and outside the academy, graduate students of color and Indigenous students are constantly interrogating what it means to be “in, but not of” the university.[10]Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Wivenhoe: Minor Compositions, 2013). They understand that being in the academy is a serious risk. The potential to reproduce the very violences they seek to dismantle is heightened by the fact that they are living, learning, and laboring in systems constructed on stolen land, subsidized by chattel slavery, and that thrive on racial capitalism and empire. Hence, some graduate students of color and Indigenous students are acutely aware of the inseparable violences within and outside the neoliberal university and how they are impacted and implicated within them.

Many graduate students of color experience tremendous distress over the pressure to “perform” for students, professors, and administrators. Some may even liken these academic theatrics to be a series of acts, composed of constantly evolving scenes, performances, and resistances, where one is coerced into performing. To “act” within the plot of the university requires adherence to particular roles and scripts, and maintenance of their spheres of power. The “acts”’ that make up this issue, however, are not part of any performance. These acts are seditious. Such acts refuse to be hailed by the university, and instead, turn toward other spaces of thinking and organizing. 

Students of color threaten the university with more than just our existence. Through our scholarship and activism, we transgress the very institutions that transgress us. When struggling to survive in inhospitable “climates,” both on campus and elsewhere, it is imperative to think and act, seditiously. Seditious Acts began as a thought for a symposium, but we offer it here as a concept that moves beyond that moment: as a practice and pedagogy of being in, but not of, the university. This practice of being in, but not of, the university is steeped in a rich history of activism and organizing as exemplified by the Morrill Hall takeovers and the Whose University? and Whose Diversity? movements. 

Acts of sedition  are collective moments of rebellion against ongoing colonial power. The long legacy of student resistance among Black, Indigenous, Chicanx, Latinx, Asian American, and communities of color which led to the establishment of ethnic and feminist studies departments across the United States and the intellectual traditions they gave us have profoundly influenced our understanding of sedition. Our vision aligns with the Black radical tradition of “fugitivity” that Stefano Harney and Fred Moten outline in The Undercommons–a vision that is about “connection” and “making common cause with the brokenness of being” within neoliberal governmentality.[11]Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Wivenhoe: Minor Compositions, 2013), 5. Their work is ultimately a reminder that engaging in seditious acts or adopting a seditious stance means entering into a fugitive relationship with the neoliberal university. 

Seditious acts are material embodiments against power, and require us to reposition ourselves. In the feminist of color tradition, sedition represents moments of rupture where our home knowledges transform pathways of education and action. They are found in Cherrie Moraga’s “theory in the flesh,” which encourages us to embrace theory and practice as an articulation of an embodied politics of resistance. [12]Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (New York: Kitchen Table: Woman of Color Press, 1981), 24.  Similarly, Audre Lorde’s “uses of the erotic” provides an episteme that centralizes the significance of sensuality as a “political, social, and academic tool of deconstruction, subversion, and imagination.”[13]Nikki Young, “Uses of the Erotic for Teaching Queer Studies,” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 40 (2012): 301. Fleshly and sensual matters are important feminist of color teachings that critique power, and provide foundations for disrupting the violences of the neoliberal university. 

This issue is the result of several conversations amongst graduate students of color from the Seditious Acts symposium. The works in this volume reflect the intersectional identities, experiences, and positionalities of its producers, who are working-class, first-generation, feminist, queer, and international students of the Global South. All of these locations contribute to the devaluation of their knowledges and experiences in institutions of higher education in the United States. As such, this issue is a series of self-reflections, interrogations, disruptions and (re)imaginings related to the substantial problems of knowledge production and academic culture. This issue also operates as a call and guide toward community building for those in academia impacted by systematic oppression. 

This issue of writings explicates the role of the academy in projects of disciplining knowledge production, whilst also exploring how graduate students of color, engaged in critical ethnic studies scholarship, approach questions of race, gender, sexuality, indigeneity, disciplinarity, and scholarly insurgency. This issue centers not only scholarly formats but personal narratives and non-traditional writing styles. It contains personal reflections, testimonies, manifestos, collaborative pieces, creative writing, and radical scholarship analysis from those who hold visions of decolonizing knowledge production.

Seditious Acts found a home at AGITATE! because of its unwavering commitment to unsettle the boundaries of scholarship, art, activism, and creative expression. AGITATE! shares our politics of utilizing our social locations “to catalyze new conversations, visions, and narrative practices in multiple genres and languages, in order to advance struggles for sociopolitical and epistemic justice.”[14]“Our Ethos,” AGITATE! Journal, Additionally, this issue is fundamentally grounded in collaboration, first through the space of CRES, second through the Seditious Acts symposium, and third through this collaborative process of writing and publishing the issue. The editorial collective at AGITATE! operate as an anti-hierarchical collective who advances anti-disciplinary approaches to community building and scholarship. As such, our collaboration with AGITATE! constitutes the manifestation of our shared commitments to unsettling dominant politics and practices of knowledge production.

New Futures

Sedition is speculative. Even as our collected writings chart a possible way forward–in and through the various forms of dispossession enacted by the institution—there are no guarantees.  And yet, we gather, organize, and write to mark particular moments in this struggle. 

We want this issue to demonstrate the wide-ranging fields of study that we are situated within, and are continuing to transform. We write to imbue our disciplines with criticality, care, and a deeper orientation towards freedom. Through centering personal narratives and non-traditional writing styles, we are highlighting these forms of scholarship as critical examples of knowledge production, especially well-suited to critique institutional power and systemic violence. We hope that this writing finds you. The you who have growing concerns about academic freedom. The you who believe writing is movement building. The you who has traversed spaces of higher education and who too feels at odds with academic culture and its complacency with violence. 

Through this writing, we want to reach out to graduate students of color who feel isolated and conflicted in their roles as educators in higher education. Graduate students of color critiques and readings of university life are often dismissed as personal and ungrateful. However, we argue that these critiques contend with serious matters of political life, knowledge production, sociality, and institutional power. And while this dismissal of voices has resulted in graduate students of color being silenced, criminalized, and isolated from community, we know that speaking out and finding each other is well worth the risk. We affirm that building networks of aid not only challenges the myth of individualism, but helps us remember the centuries-long legacies of collaborative and liberatory struggles for freedom which we have inherited as scholars in the neoliberal university.

As this issue agitates and archives, it hopes to incite new modes of thinking and critique which challenge pervasive ideas about the university as the center of knowledge and power. Our future is not invested in giving tips to the university on the management of minority differences or the institutionalization of diversity understood in its most narrow sense. We reject such a use of our histories. We have no use for cosmetic diversity work untethered from organizing movements  or inclusion imagined as a checklist. What we are agitating for is justice and freedom. 

Sedition is our toolbox. We work to build spaces that welcome our full humanity—the disjunctures, tensions, suspended realities, colonial afterlives, erotics, and abundances of it all. Although posturing as a pathway to freedom, the university has proven itself repeatedly to be a space of contention, power struggle, silencing, and violence. We as critical race and ethnic studies scholars dare to invest in each other, build situated solidarities, and sustain the creativity of our research within and beyond academia. We move seditiously toward futures capable of holding the fullness of our demands—liberation, solidarity, shared knowledge production, connection, and rest.

Seditious Acts

AGITATE! Special Volume

Edited by José Manuel Santillana Blanco, Kidiocus King-Carroll, Naimah Zulmadelle Pétigny,
Kong Pheng Pha, in collaboration with the AGITATE! Editorial Collective

Introduction: Seditious Acts: Being in, but not of, the Neoliberal University”
José Manuel Santillana Blanco, Kidiocus King-Carroll, Naimah Zulmadelle Pétigny, and Kong Pheng Pha

Introducing ‘Seditious Acts’: AGITATE! Special Volume with CRES
AGITATE! Editorial Collective

I Have Been to the Future—We Won
Simi Kang

Building Relations, Critical University Studies and Student Activism: A Conversation with Roderick A. Ferguson
Kong Pheng Pha and José Manuel Santillana Blanco, with Roderick A. Ferguson

Brownness and Being in the Twenty-First Century
Joy Mazahreh

Three Poems for Palestine by Faiz Ahmad Faiz
Translated from Urdu to English by Gwendolyn S. Kirk

Where is the Moral Fortitude of the University’s Leader? Palestinian Rights are Human Rights
Nadia Aruri

Section I: Infractions
Keywords: Erasure, (In)visibility & Embodiment

Introduction to Section: Infractions
Richa Nagar

“Did They Drag You Here”?: Challenges of Existing as an International Student in the United States
Ana Cláudia dos Santos São Bernardo

Seditious Intuition: Flesh Bone Heart & Bodies of Engagement
William Amado Syldor-Severino

Violent Invisibilities: The Battle for Hmong and Southeast Asian American Legibility in Higher Education
Kong Pheng Pha, Kaochi Pha, and Dee Pha

Section II: Transgressions
Keywords: Subjectivities, Narratives, Racialization, Neoliberalism & Epistemology

Introduction to Section: Transgressions
Edén E. Torres

Moving Toward Transitional Pedagogies: The Second Sight of Graduate Students of Color in the Neoliberal University
Ezekiel Joubert

Toward a Marginal Understanding of Object Being in the Neoliberal University
Emily Mitamura

A Cold Place: Notes on Antiblackness and the Neoliberal University
Kidiocus King-Carroll

Section III: Insurgencies
Keywords: Praxis, Defiance, Resistance & Decolonization

Introduction to Section: Insurgencies
Rose M. Brewer

Unruly Subjects: On Student Activism, the Neoliberal University, and Infiltration
José Manuel Santillana Blanco

Razing the Anti-Ebony Tower: An Academic ‘Grammar Book’
Rahsaan Mahadeo

Within and Without the Settler University: Reflections on Decolonization, Spirituality and Research as Ceremony
Marcelo Garzo Montvalo

Suggested citation format for essays in this volume:
Author name. 2024. Title of article. In eds. José Manuel Santillana Blanco, Kidiocus King-Carroll, Naimah Zulmadelle Pétigny, and Kong Pheng Pha in collaboration with AGITATE! Editorial Collective. Seditious Acts: AGITATE! Special Volume with CRES: URL of article.

Suggested citation:

J.M. Santillana Blanco, K. King-Carroll, N. Z. Petigny, & K. P. Pha. 2024. “Seditious Acts: Being in, but not of the Neoliberal University.” In eds. José Manuel Santillana Blanco, Kidiocus King-Carroll, Naimah Zulmadelle Pétigny, and Kong Pheng Pha in collaboration with AGITATE! Editorial Collective. Seditious Acts: AGITATE! Special Volume with CRES:


1 Robert Lee et al., “Land-Grab Universities,” 2020,
2 Craig Steven Wilder, Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, First U.S. edition. (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2013), 111.
3 The Minnesota Republic, “Students Ask UMN to Divest from Companies It Doesn’t Invest In,” Campus Reform, February 29, 2016,
4 Harsha Walia, Undoing Border Imperialism. (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2013).
5 Hank Stephenson, “What Arizona’s 2010 Ban on Ethnic Studies Could Mean for the Fight Over Critical Race Theory,Politico, 2021.
6 Tina Burnside, “Morrill Hall Takeover, University of Minnesota,” MNopedia
7 Jessica Lopez Lyman, “Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, University of Minnesota,” MNopedia
8 Quotations taken from Whose Diversity? minutes.
9 Quotation is taken from Whose Diversity? minutes.
10 Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Wivenhoe: Minor Compositions, 2013).
11 Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Wivenhoe: Minor Compositions, 2013), 5.
12 Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (New York: Kitchen Table: Woman of Color Press, 1981), 24. 
13 Nikki Young, “Uses of the Erotic for Teaching Queer Studies,” WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 40 (2012): 301.
14 “Our Ethos,” AGITATE! Journal,

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