[iDC] Discussion: The Edupunks' Guide

Anya Kamenetz anyaanya at gmail.com
Mon Aug 8 23:14:24 UTC 2011

Hi John,
I think that book would be a lot of fun to write and to read. The ideal
writer would of course be a college dropout, or maybe someone who faked
their way to a PhD. As you suggest, I was more interested in being
immediately useful with this guide, and maybe that means I played things
safer than I should have.
I definitely agree with you that punk /= academic.
The point I was making originally: that the people who did coin and
popularize the term "edupunk" are in fact academics; because of the inherent
contradictions in that pose, they tend to get their dander up about the
parts of my work that do, however tamely, detract from the academic status
quo; thus accuse me of misappropriating the word. While I might indeed
violate the statutes of Original 1970s Punk Rock I just disagree that I'm
committing a crime against Edupunk (c. 2008). Disputes about who's punk and
who's not do get very boring though. I probably should have stuck with the
term DIY which is broader and better encapsulates the practical, hands-on
nature of the approach.

On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 4:36 PM, john sobol <john at johnsobol.com> wrote:

> Anya, I think your book looks quite useful and I genuinely hope people use
> it. But I don't think anything in it positions you to criticize academia for
> not being 'punk rock'. Academia is not - of course - punk rock in any way.
> For not only does it not embody the values or behaviours or style of punk
> but it actually represents their antithesis. But then again academia never
> said it was punk rock. Whereas your book does claim that heritage.
> I haven't been part of the Edupunk discourse in any way so I don't know how
> seriously anyone who uses it takes the punk thing, but in the context of the
> many radical DIY pedagogical possibilities enabled by the web I think it
> deserves to be taken quite seriously. Or at least as seriously (and not) as
> it took itself. Which isn't the case with your book.
> For example, DIY training in order to gain certification from existing
> learning authorities can hardly be considered to reflect the DIY spirit of
> punk culture, yet that seems to be a very significant focus of your book.
> Again, I have no real problem with this. If people want to do it they should
> go for it. But the deeper possibilities are to explore how knowledge can be
> usefully located, generated and shared *outside* of existing
> knowledge-certification academies. Which also includes the possibility -
> indeed the likelihood - of being in direct conflict with those institutions,
> or of trying to achieve goals that are not supported by those institutions.
> In fact, punk rock went out of its way to constantly provoke those
> conflicts, and to both implicitly and explicitly highlight subversive
> epistemologies and non-conformist social values. So where is your chapter on
> hacking? Stealing degrees? Making plagiarism pay? Somehow I think Malcolm
> McLaren would have approached the Edupunk's guide with a little more
> panache. I mean, the Gates Foundation, really?
> A more radical and authentic punk pedagogy in the age of the web would I
> think focus on radical personal creativity, explicit defiance of educational
> norms, the power of collective action, networked subversion, etc. A mashup
> of John Dewey, Kathy Acker and Julian Assange maybe. Whereas your book -
> useful as it may be - is a whole lot safer than a book with its title should
> be. Or could be.
> js
> --
> www.johnsobol.com
> bluesology • printopolis • digitopia
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*New ebook!** *The Edupunks'
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