At the end of the day, in other words, it is not a question of inside and outside: nothing could be more odious than a radical challenge whose “radicality” would be quantified in terms of distance from the institution or the practices of “the academy.” It is, simply put, a question of production: what does this “hack” - or any “hack” - allow us to do? What does it create that did not exist before? What does it allow us to think that we couldn’t think before?
Derrida’s legitimate distrust of the notion of “interdisciplinarity” is a perfect example of how a nominally or originally radical “hack” can be co-opted into a largely meaningless feel-good concept about which the academy can pat itself on the back. And if you need another example, what better to serve as one than the very fact that, within this imaginary dialogue, I can mobilize the words of Jacques Derrida, one of the most radical and irreducible thinkers of the 20th century, to serve as the voice of “the academy”?
There is no radical challenge that the institution can’t assimilate. Change emerges from productions we generate while their forces are regrouping.
Us. V them. Over and over again.