Community Building and How We Show Up


Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • How ‘the good life’ makes people disconnected and unhappy
  • Mia Birdsong’s work in community building
  • The intentionality required for creating communities of support
  • The importance of interdependence, vulnerability, accountability, and leaning on each other
  • And a discussion of her book How We Show Up

Today’s book is: How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong, in which Birdsong uses research, interviews, and stories of lived experience to explore how showing up—literally and figuratively—points us toward the promise of our collective vitality and leads us to the liberated wellbeing we all want.

Our guest is: Mia Birdsong, who was an inaugural Ascend Fellow and faculty member with The Aspen Institute, a New America California Fellow, and Advocate-in-Residence with University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. She has been published widely and speaks at conferences and universities across the country. A graduate of Oberlin College, she stays “apocalypse ready” by gardening, keeping bees and chickens, studying herbalism, and occasionally practicing archery. Her children, partner, and chosen family are her home.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, the co-creator and co-producer of the Academic Life.

Listeners to this episode might also be interested in:

  • How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong
  • Mia Birdsong’s website
  • Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown
  • Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformational Justice Movement, by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, eds.
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by Ibram X. Kendi
  • This Academic Life episode about finding mentors and friends

You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island and neither are we. We reach across our mentor network to bring you experts about everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DM us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.

Your Host

Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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