Read Teresa's interview with Imani Bazzell  
  Bazzell extended her diagnosis—of the university that is allergic to the daily lives of local people  

Bazzell extended her diagnosis of a university allergic to the daily lives of local people with a fascinating discussion of university practices. Teresa had learned what a “meaningful exchange” meant to Bazzell as she took the podium at a Brown event, but Bazzell also had more general comments to make about the normal register of the university. Challenging the prevailing mode of presentation at universities, she asked boldly, “What is the point of reading from a book or a paper at a conference?” Here Teresa signaled her agreement in her notes, “I think this is a problem for many people who are looking for a dialogue. . . . There should be discussion, engagement; anything else is ‘boring.’ “ While some members of our team have attended fascinating and utterly democratic lectures read from a text, as well as seminars that, despite their protestations of being audience-centered, enacted dull and irritating displays of tyranny, all of us agree that presentations should aim to evoke dialogue and engagement. As Bazzell argued, the presentation that fails to observe or meet this goal “keeps the university closed.” Her biting critiques of the university aside, Bazzell was quick to note that the “only reason why I, as a person of color, can live in rural middle America is precisely because of this university.” Teresa and Bazzell had a good laugh when she said this. Several times chuckling “you know” under her breath, she continued: “In a small Midwestern town how else could, you know, a conscious person of color live unless it was in a university town. Because the university is a gateway to the rest of the nation and the rest of the world . . . other small towns would just be, of course, very parochial.” Bazzell’s ambivalence, involving simultaneous criticism and appreciation of the university, captures the sentiments of many of our interlocutors. (Chapter 2)

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