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In this paper, we reflect on a collective set of challenges, critiques, and questions occupying our academic and professional experiences as community-engaged scholar-practitioners learning and working at various United States (U.S.) higher education institutions. Specifically, we engage questions that emerged through our reading group—the Critical/Abolitionist University Studies Edification (CAUSE) Group—where we sought to learn from others’ experiences to create new practices for our own work at our respective institutions. We reflect on the nature of CAUSE (itself a third space), our professional experiences, and the questions that arose from our collective grappling with community-engaged scholarship and/in the current model of higher education. We combine first-person reflections that synthesize the various ideas we have encountered in our readings on and engagement with critical and abolitionist university studies under three topic areas: 1) the ambiguity of third space labor; 2) community-engaged scholarship as a third space; and 3) the institutionalization and professionalization of third space labor.
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