GPACW Presentation on Invisible Adjunct and the Chronicle

Tomorrow I leave for the GPACW conference, and I have finally finished my presentation. This time, I used Drupal's collaborative book module, which made the whole thing much more wieldy and easier to edit. Below is the table of contents:

I cut a lot, but I still need to cut more (for my oral presentation--the version here will remain as is). Guess I'll be doing that in the hotel tomorrow night.


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Hey, thanks for the quotation

Hey, thanks for the quotation!

I've linked a post to this on my blog (not that it says all that much)


A few thoughts

1. While academic ranks are nominally hierarchical, in fact, hierarchy in most academic institutions isn't nearly as vertical as they imply--the main divide is between tenured, untenured but tenure-track, and non-tenure track faculty; whether administrators exert meaningful presence hierarchically over faculty is actually highly variable.

2. You pigeonhole the Chronicle somewhat to make your argument work. It's more heteroglossic than you represent it to be. This is a classic methodological problem in discourse studies and cultural studies: how does one make claims about what constitutes a representative or centrally constitutive discursive form or norm for a given publication or type of text? Your characterization isn't totally unfair, but you probably need to acknowledge that the Chronicle publishes a pretty wide variety of sentiments.

3. On the other side of things, I'd also say you focus on one aspect of the discourse at Invisible Adjunct at the expense of some other key themes. One of the key themes that came up again and again was the degree to which the posters actually believed in the core values of academia--in fact, refused to see the idea of academia in Foucauldian terms, as mere power/knowledge. The concern for academic labor was often counterpoised in some interesting ways against or within a concern for the salvation of the "higher ideals" of academic life.


Thanks for your comments. You bring up some important issues, particularly in the first and third points. As for the second, I agree that the Chronicle is heteroglot insofar as it includes many different voices, but is it subversive? I'm wondering--would you mind pointing out some examples of articles in the Chronicle that engage seriously ideas for radical institutional reform like we saw on IA?

I'm so glad to see this kind

I'm so glad to see this kind of work done, and these topics addressed. I found your article through Rana's link.


p.s. doesn't IA still live in NYC?( Not that this helps much in determining which institutions she's teaching at...

Well, read the second section

Well, read the second section of the Chronicle, the one that includes longer opinion pieces. I don't think it's that wildly unusual for some fairly radical or strongly articulated ideas about academia to appear there--it's just that they also run alongside a larger number of much more ordinary or banal defenses or mild critiques of academic life.

The Chronicle

I'm really delighted that you are taking the ongoing debate about the academic labor system seriously, but I think you paint the "First Person" columns at the CHE with a rather broad brush. Jill Carroll's columns represent a pro-individualist tendency that many columnists--including me--have attacked over and over again. Thomas H. Benton.

Thanks--I found one.

Here. I love the Walter Pater reference in the introduction. :-)

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