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The Neoliberal University and Academic Feminism
This panel takes inspiration from our insistent critique of the academic corporation in which we find ourselves working today. Increasingly, faculty are underpaid and hired as temporary, contingent, or lecturers, who are nevertheless often expected to give service beyond teaching. Our senior administrators, compensated at the same levels as the corporate structure, are hired as much for their fundraising abilities as for their academic inclinations or interests. Juggling multiple jobs, our students are enmeshed in an aggregation of precarity that is not only financial: their protests of the institution’s raced, gendered, sexed and classed inequities, for instance, are repurposed into website photographs designed to advertise the institution’s openness to critique. Particularly as women, as queer, as trans, and as first-generation, the discomfort with an institution that is hostile to them is transformed into a burden to reform the institution. Does our activism and theorizing alleviate or intensify these inequities? How is the genealogy of such processes, which we often hear ourselves take for granted as deeply unethical, connected to the humanist values we espouse and teach? Some senior administrative positions, such as Diversity Officers, for instance, are the result of our successful struggles to force the administration to be ethical. What if the neoliberal university is not, in fact, antithetical to our goals or practices as feminists and principled social actors in the institution? Finally, how might we think both critically and imaginatively about the temporal implications of the neoliberal university today and our place in it: the claim now made on all of our time; our conception of “free” time; our justification of time spent away from the institution’s demands; the disproportionate burden of time placed on some students, staff and faculty?

Panelists include:
Eng-Beng Lim, Dartmouth College

Iyko Day, Mount Holyoke

Jigna Desai, University of Minnesota

Sep 17, 2020 06:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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