Bring Kate to Your Town

  • Bring Kate to Your Town
    To bring Kate to your school or town for a performance, workshop, lecture, or all of the above, please send an email to the following address. PLEASE do not use this email for personal correspondence. It will not be answered. This address is only for booking touring engagements: katebornstein at earthlink dot net. Twitter is still the best way to reach Kate for any personal reason.

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    October 23, 2008


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    oh, kate. how we love you.

    the animosity toward both art & activism within the academy upsets me. i see it a lot. that if you are an academic, you can't have a POV (much less a heartfelt calling!). it's supposed to be for the sake of "intellectual neutrality" or being "objective." to me, it's a farce, but there you go.

    of course this may have nothing to do with why they weren't smart enough to talk with you. probably it's quite simple: they just weren't smart enough to know with whom to lunch.

    i would be happy to gather you a crowd of academics whenever you'd like, here, or when I'm in Wisconsin teaching.


    Despite the lack of scholars that showed up to the luncheon, I'd say we had a pretty good conversation anyway.

    I still hold the opinion that IAS just isn't advanced enough yet for the topic of "body and knowing" and certainly not advanced enough for you to have taught them something.

    They missed a great opportunity, they really did.

    MJ Gilbert

    Well, Kate, I just want you to know that your little "chat" at the U of MN school of social work on Tuesday, at which undergrads, MSW students, PhDs and faculty, including the director of the school were represented, sent a buzz through the building that went beyond the attendees. You opened a discourse which is going to continue in OUR particular ivyed walls. I am teaching your work, work that has taught me, and saved me. I would not be at the SSW were it not for what Ilearned from you about living out loud.

    IAS is obviously populated by FOOLS, or perhaps just people too fearful to approach the topic and challenge thir internalized bully. You are welcome at the SSW ANYTIME!!


    Thanks for this post and description of the journey through emotions when it comes to academia, such a familiar journey to me:

    I'm teaching community college students (you rocked their worlds, BTW, seriously), and I've had to work through my own gamut of emotions when I return to the institution of "advanced" academics because I'm working at such a "lowly" place. Uh huh.

    One note that might help: I've been to other events at the IAS, events that were widely publicized, and only a few attendees showed up. Of course this doesn't excuse the absolute rudeness of those absent scholars.

    "Advanced" indeed. They don't even have simple manners!

    Erin Scott

    Thank you so much for coming to Augsburg yesterday! It was awesome to hear about your take on the upcoming elections. Your work has helped many people find their inner warrior, and it was truly refreshing to hang out with you for awhile. Be well in your travels, Kate!

    Kate Bornstein

    Thanks for your encouraging words. There's more I want to put together on this issue of mine, so I'm grateful for your perspectives on academia from the inside. And Nico, yes you're right -- you and Cassie and Angie and I did have a lovely conversation, with lotsa laughter.

    I had a WONDERFUL time in Minnesota, land next to the land of my birth. I'm back home now in NYC. I'm smiling, smiling, smiling, at the thought of all the friends, old and new who I got to connect with while I was there.

    Special message to all the folks I left behind in the land of Nice: pretty please elect Al Franken. What a hoot he'd be on the Senate floor!

    kiss kiss



    Those people do not know what they missed. We at AQLF who were lucky to see you DO know --and we were all so lucky to not miss you.

    I read your FREAKS book on the plane on my way home, and it rocked my world. I'm so grateful to have a book I can suggest to any young (or not so young) person I think might need it.

    You save lives.


    I'll be honest; I didn't attend any of your events, because as an undergrad working 2 jobs (one in a failing Minneapolis Public School that we're trying to save from restructuring) I just simply wasn't available. And I'm STILL bummed about it, even though there's not really much I can do about it now. But to read that some prickish scholars at the University snubbed you when there were people like me dying to attend one of your events, that's frustrating. More than frustrating--it pisses me off. But no worries, as I'm glad to hear you had an otherwise good experience at the University. I know a few of the people that escorted you around town and I'm sure they were wonderful.
    Anyway, I love my University and it pisses me off to see representatives of it representing the University and students in such a shitty manner.
    I hope you come back to the cities soon!
    P.S. I've asked around, and I've yet to find someone who's even heard of the IAS. So they're not really as big of a deal as they think they are, anyway.

    Kate Bornstein

    Ever since I posted this piece, I've been looking for this Idres Shah story, from his book "Wisdom of Idiots." -- Kate


    Sufi Ajmal Hussein was constantly being criticized by scholars, who feared that his repute might outshine their own. They spared no efforts to cast doubts upon his knowledge, to accuse him of taking refuge from their criticisms in mysticism, and even to imply that he had been guilty of discreditable practices.
    At length he said:
    ‘If I answer my critics, they make it the opportunity to bring fresh accusation against me, which people believe such things. If I do not answer them they crow and preen themselves, and people believe that they are real scholars. They imagine that we Sufis oppose scholarship. We do not. But our very existence is a threat to the pretended scholarship of tiny noisy ones. Scholarship long since disappeared. What we have to face now is sham scholarship.’
    The scholars shrilled more loudly than ever. At last Ajmal said:
    ‘Argument is not as effective as demonstration. I shall give you an insight into what these people are like.’
    He invited ‘question papers’ from the scholars, to allow them to test his knowledge and ideas. Fifty different professors and academicians sent questionnaires to him. Ajmal answered them all differently. When the scholars met to discuss these papers, at a conference, there were so many versions of what he believed, that each one thought that he had exposed Ajmal, and refused to give up his thesis in favor of any other. The result was the celebrated ‘brawling of the scholars.’ For five days they attacked each other bitterly.
    ‘This,’ said Ajmal, ‘is a demonstration. What matters to each one most is his own opinion and his own interpretation. They care nothing for truth. This is what they do with everyone’s teachings. When he is alive, they torment him. When he dies they become experts on his works. The real motive of the activity, however, is to vie with one another and to oppose anyone outside their own ranks. Do you want to become one of them? Make a choice soon.’


    Hi Kate

    I have a PhD, it just means I went to school forever! I read your stuff, I teach your stuff and I use your work in the textbooks I write. I affirm you - not that you bloody well need it, right?

    Keep doing what you do.


    If you are interested the book is Marchbank, J & Letherby, G (2007), Introduction to Gender: Social Science Perspectives, London, Pearsons


    Thank you Kate, for exactly what I needed to read this morning. I'm always teetering on the precipice of depression (no matter how perky I get)and if it wasn't for low self-esteem I'd no self-esteem at all. I often feel like an aging failure who other people tolerate but don't take seriously, but you remind that there are a few out there whose life is better(or at least more interesting) for having met me.

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