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Kindness as Water in the University

Kindness as Water in the University If kindness were a thing, what would it look like? A rose without thorns? A cat without claws? Acts of kindness are often associated with feelings of warmth and softness: things that makes us feel comfortable, cared for. When we think of kindness as a form of activism, however, we find ourselves likening it to water: a liquid body of microresistances that can carve out routes in rock. As academics working in the often unkind institutional context of the neoliberal university, we experience kindness as an activism that is flowing, that pools around and seeps into the solid form of the neoliberal university, being shaped by and shaping it. Such kindness could be viewed as weak, when up against strong institutional structures and policies. Yet we find value (and even power) in the weakness of kindness, a gesture that emboldens us to move away from anthropocentric, proprietary and competitive modes of relating to others in the university, towards relations with them that are multi-specific, non-proprietary and collaborative. This article explores a liquid ethics of kindness through interleaving the forms of essay, story and poem: one apparently stable, the others flowing around and through it. Keywords: kindness; response-ability; alliance; becoming-other; neoliberal university; pluriversity http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Knowledge Cultures Addleton Academic Publishers

Kindness as Water in the University

Knowledge Cultures , Volume 9 (3): 22 – Jan 1, 2021

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Publisher
Addleton Academic Publishers
Copyright
© 2009 Addleton Academic Publishers
ISSN
2327-5731
eISSN
2375-6527
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

If kindness were a thing, what would it look like? A rose without thorns? A cat without claws? Acts of kindness are often associated with feelings of warmth and softness: things that makes us feel comfortable, cared for. When we think of kindness as a form of activism, however, we find ourselves likening it to water: a liquid body of microresistances that can carve out routes in rock. As academics working in the often unkind institutional context of the neoliberal university, we experience kindness as an activism that is flowing, that pools around and seeps into the solid form of the neoliberal university, being shaped by and shaping it. Such kindness could be viewed as weak, when up against strong institutional structures and policies. Yet we find value (and even power) in the weakness of kindness, a gesture that emboldens us to move away from anthropocentric, proprietary and competitive modes of relating to others in the university, towards relations with them that are multi-specific, non-proprietary and collaborative. This article explores a liquid ethics of kindness through interleaving the forms of essay, story and poem: one apparently stable, the others flowing around and through it. Keywords: kindness; response-ability; alliance; becoming-other; neoliberal university; pluriversity

Journal

Knowledge CulturesAddleton Academic Publishers

Published: Jan 1, 2021

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