Happy new year.
I'm transporting here from FB a public discussion and a sharing of the links about a recent and important conversation among Rebecca Schuman, Tenured Radical (Claire Potter) and many, many others over the miserable state of the job market, the adjunctification of the university, and the culpability of tenured faculty and the graduate programs in which they participate. If you are an academic at any point in your career (and even if you are not, honestly) you should be thinking about the issues that have been raised.
On FB I linked to this recent summary and analysis on the blog The Professor Is In. Karen Kelsky makes some essential points and the piece is well worth reading. I shared the link with this caveat though: I have some trouble with the analogy the post is built around, which simplifies how racism works in order to make a point about the denial that undergirds TT/NTT relations (racism is not only a structure of denial [if it were it would be eradicated through exposure of the facts]; it is also a structure of fantasy and perverse enjoyment, and thereby much more difficult to budge). Framing the issue through economic and social privilege works better than the blog's title invoking an equivalence with racism: the latter diminishes the lived effects of racism by rendering them metaphoric.* Kelsky's recommendations for what to do next seem right on the mark. She suggests that tenured faculty:
- Slash or halt graduate admissions
- Make job market training (both academic and non-academic) central to the curriculum
- Reduce time-to-degree of graduate programs
- See and include adjuncts in the running of the department-both formally and informally
- Tell the truth about the corporatized funding models in their universities that sustain their salaries and research funds by cutting other labor costs through the exploitation of adjuncts.
Essential food for thought on this first day of 2014.
*David Leonard made a similar point about the the injustice to actual enslaved peoples that equating adjuncting with "slave labor" enacts (though unfortunately his blog post comes across at some points as a defense of the status quo: it does not matter that some adjuncts choose their part-time schedules, and that a few are well paid).