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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Politics of Space in Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: How the Austin Project Reattaches the Connection among Activism, Academia, and Community”


This paper reviews Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project, a book edited by Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Dr. Lisa L. Moore, and Sharon Bridgforth. The book discusses the connection among race, gender, academia, and community and how the Austin Project provides a safe space for women of color and their allies to create work within a jazz aesthetic in order to invoke social change. My paper discusses the disconnect between academia and community and how, for women of color, upward socioeconomic mobility often means severing themselves from their community. My paper analyzes what shape women of color’s activism takes and how the founders of The Austin Project effectively use spirituality to summon social change. It argues that in providing a safe, feminist space for women of color to air their emotions, grievances, and honest thoughts, The Austin Project is doing important, groundbreaking work, work that should eventually become the norm in academia if academia wants to take a more communal activist approach to education. The paper also discusses the effectiveness and politics behind “safe spaces” for women of color and argues that these spaces are a necessary part of activism.

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