I enjoyed this article in the Baffler on labour, hoaxes, and the neoliberal academy. But one paragraph in particular chimed with something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
I’ve noticed a strong resistance to the notion that tackling a grueling workload in the face of constant precarity has even a minor impact on how academics actually think, as if the form that contemporary academic discourse is compelled to take somehow leaves its content immaculately unaffected. This guileless posture is especially striking as it overtakes a class of people who make their livings by critiquing the ways other institutions shape other forms of knowledge.
It’s not exactly the workload and precarity that worried me in this context, but, specifically, the kinds of writing that support the environment. Chief among these being the constant applications for grants and the concomitant demands to think and write in a compartmentalised, managerialised way. Only today I used the word “ambassador” to refer to (and big-up) myself, and not to describe a diplomatic representative of a foreign political power.