What I’ve Learned About Activism, Privilege, and Negotiating Boundaries as an Early Career Academic

  • Shane Ryan Brady Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work University of Oklahoma
Keywords: Academia, activism, Ferguson, LGBTQ


This article reflects on the author’s experiences as an early career academic engaging in activism for social justice goals that is often oppositional to and not supported by academic social work. The author reflects upon two major efforts that he was actively engaged in; the first was related to organizing a national campaign against a major social work research organization that attempted to hold its conference in a location under boycott by low wage workers, and the second related to acting as an ally for a group of undergraduate students seeking to travel to Ferguson, MO in order to protect voter rights and stand with community members against racial injustices. Through these experiences, the author has faced difficult challenges that often put him in a position to have to choose between the values of academia and those of social work and humanity.

Author Biography

Shane Ryan Brady, Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work University of Oklahoma
Dr. Shane Brady is an assistant professor of social work at the Anne and Henry Zarrow school of social work, University of Oklahoma. Dr. Brady is a lifelong community organizer from metropolitan Detroit and has worked in the areas of mental health, homelessness, organized labor, racial justice, violence against women, and LGBTQ equity as a practitioner and scholar for the past ten years. Dr. Brady previously taught at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.