By Lawrence Krader
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Extra resources for Formation of the State
And even after having heard that collection and my mentor's intellectual, theoretical, and literal record collections in my graduate work, I still didn't quite hear my own blend yet, my own mix. I didn't hear it in the many layers of the individual track of my intellectual commitments, nor did I envision it yet in the mix between the many different tracks of an academic career (check chapter 4)—especially when I considered the blend between the campus and disciplinary role of the scholar and the attempt to employ my work in some kind of service, some kind of community engagement.
The "they don't really care about the folk" argument just doesn't work, because I've witnessed far too many creative projects and scholars who write about such work with passion and commitment and clarity. Yet my resistance remains, even as I work on this chapter. There are many reasons for my resistance to writing on this subject: I don't like having to describe this kind of work in the language of grant funders or other scholars; I absolutely detest the thought of having to describe a project as if it has produced specific quantifiable or documentable results.
In fact, I often feel ill at ease even talking about community work. I don't think I'm good at it, and I'm frequently worried I don't have language to describe what I'm doing or what I want to do. Finally, beyond the language or the scholarship, in some ways I feel like committing to community work is an exercise in learning that one has only momentary successes in the midst of glaring, obvious failure. M i x / 41 In confronting that resistance, I think I remained hesitant because I did not know how I would describe the roles I imagined for scholars engaging local communities or how I would talk about strategies they might employ, because much of the scholarship I found presented a very different role for the scholar and a different orientation toward the work than any I might look to.