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Civic LaborsScholar Activism and Working-Class Studies$
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Dennis Deslippe, Eric Fure-Slocum, and John W. Mckerley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040498

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040498.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 25 May 2022

My Life as a Wonk

My Life as a Wonk

(p.217) Chapter 13 My Life as a Wonk
Civic Labors

Colin Gordon

University of Illinois Press

In this chapter, the author describes the two-way relationship that can exist between scholarship and engagement by drawing on his experience as an engaged scholar. He recounts how his traditional academic study of urban decline in St. Louis became useful to present-day residents as they debated future urban policies regarding schooling and housing. He also explains how his involvement with the Iowa Policy Project led him to rethink the direction of his own scholarship. By producing work in nontraditional formats designed to reach a large audience, the author has been able to make his research more useful to present-day policy discussions than most academic historical writing. His work with IPP led him to present basic research results to new and varied audiences—labor education classes, religious congregations, legislators, editorial boards—a task that shaped both his research and his teaching. He argues that sustained civic participation and engaged scholarship—drawing simply on the time and resources and skills that come with most academic jobs—will make a lasting difference.

Keywords:   urban decline, St. Louis, urban policies, schooling, housing, Iowa Policy Project, research, teaching, civic participation, engaged scholarship

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