Was honoured to participate in @GlobalThursdayTalks this past week. Thank you Fatma Mizikaci and Eda Ata from University of Ankara for organizing these events and the invitation to participate. Also thanks to everyone who attended the live event. Here’s the video of the interview.
Call for Papers: The Labour of COVID section of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labour
As instructors and students brace for a fall semester taught on-line, the effects of COVID on the labour of post-secondary learning continue to set in. Course outlines and assessment criteria are being reworked. Students wrestle with rising tuition and the prospects of prolonged periods of unemployment. As recent Canadian Association of University Teachers survey results suggest, the pandemic is making higher education even less tenable for current and prospective students. International students stuck in their home countries will be forced to participate in classes across time zones. Research programs are being put on hold. Making matters worse, the gutting of teaching and learning resources at some universities have forced administrators to piece together support for instructors and staff ill-equipped to make the transition on-line. Workloads have increased. But in the midst of this crisis, some post-secondary institutions seek opportunity to advance particular agendas. It was only after significant backlash from students and lecturers that the UK’s Durham University halted its attempt at providing online-only degrees in its effort to significantly cut in-person teaching. In Alberta, the government has merely delayed a performance-based funding model as a result of COVID, signaling that austerity, not improving the quality of education, is driving policy decisions. Meaningful interventions by faculty associations have been limited as the collegial governance process is sidelined for the sake of emergency pandemic measures. And what of academic and support staff who face increase workloads and the prospects of limited child care when the fall semester resumes? To this concern, what are the gendered effects of COVID? What do these circumstances mean for precariously employed sessional and term instructors? This special edition of Workplace invites all academic workers to make sense of COVID through a work and employment lens. Possible themes include:
- Faculty association responses to a shift towards on-line education
- “Mission creep” and the lure of distant learning for post-secondary institutions: opportunities and threats
- The gendered and racialized implications of COVID in the classroom and on campus
- Implications for sessionals, adjuncts and the precariously employed
- COVID and workplace accommodations: from child care to work refusals
- Student experiences and responses
- COVID and performance-based funding policies
- COVID and the collective bargaining process
- Internationalization and the COVID campus
Aim and Scope: Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor is a refereed, electronic, open access journal published by a collective of scholars in critical higher education promoting a new dignity in academic work. Contributions are aimed primarily at higher education workplace activism and dialogue on all issues of academic labour.
Invitations: Contributions from all ranks of academic workers – from tenured and tenure stream to graduate students, sessional instructors, contract faculty, and administrative support staff – are encouraged to submit.
Deadlines: Submissions will be considered for peer review and publications on a rolling basis. The final deadline is February 28, 2021. A complete volume of The Labour of COVID will be complete and made available in the spring of 2021. Formatting and submission guidelines can be found here
Please direct questions about the special issue to Dr. Andrew Stevens at Andrew.email@example.com
Special Issue of Workplace
Karen Lynn Gregory & Joss Winn
Articles in Workplace have repeatedly called for increased collective organisation in opposition to a disturbing trajectory in the contemporary university… we suggest that there is one response to the transformation of the university that has yet to be adequately explored: A thoroughgoing and reflexive critique of academic labor.
Table of Contents
- Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor
Karen Lynn Gregory, Joss Winn
- Towards an Orthodox Marxian Reading of Subsumption(s) of Academic Labour under Capital
- Re-engineering Higher Education: The Subsumption of Academic Labour and the Exploitation of Anxiety
Richard Hall, Kate Bowles
- Taxi Professors: Academic Labour in Chile, a Critical-Practical Response to the Politics of Worker Identity
Elisabeth Simbürger, Mike Neary
- Marxism and Open Access in the Humanities: Turning Academic Labor against Itself
- Labour in the Academic Borderlands: Unveiling the Tyranny of Neoliberal Policies
Antonia Darder, Tom G. Griffiths
- Jobless Higher Ed: Revisited, An Interview with Stanley Aronowitz
Stanley Aronowitz, Karen Lynn Gregory
Never a dull moment these days in Education activism! Parallel with the fallout from records regarding the governance and management of UBC and calls for accountability by our Faculty Association is the BCTF’s work in holding the government to account for its legislation of bargaining rights.
Of course, our Institute for Critical Education Studies has provided extensive analysis and commentary on both cases.
Keeping activism in context, we are thrilled to launch this Special Issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labour:
Special Issue Edited by Mark Stern, Amy E. Brown & Khuram Hussain
Forward: The Systemic Cycle of Brokenness
Introduction to the Special Issue: Educate. Agitate. Organize: New and Not-So-New Teacher Movements
Mark Stern, Amy E. Brown, Khuram Hussain
Principles to Practice: Philadelphia Educators Putting Social Movement Unionism into Action
Rhiannon M Maton
Teaching amidst Precarity: Philadelphia’s Teachers, Neighborhood Schools and the Public Education Crisis
Julia Ann McWilliams
Inquiry, Policy, and Teacher Communities: Counter Mandates and Teacher Resistance in an Urban School District
Katherine Crawford-Garrett, Kathleen Riley
More than a Score: Neoliberalism, Testing & Teacher Evaluations
Megan E Behrent
Resistance to Indiana’s Neoliberal Education Policies: How Glenda Ritz Won
Jose Ivan Martinez, Jeffery L. Cantrell, Jayne Beilke
“We Need to Grab Power Where We Can”: Teacher Activists’ Responses to Policies of Privatization and the Assault on Teachers in Chicago
The Paradoxes, Perils, and Possibilities of Teacher Resistance in a Right-to-Work State
Place-Based Education in Detroit: A Critical History of The James & Grace Lee Boggs School
Christina Van Houten
Voices from the Ground
Feeling Like a Movement: Visual Cultures of Educational Resistance
Erica R. Meiners, Therese Quinn
Construir Y No Destruir (Build and Do Not Destroy): Tucson Resisting
Existential Philosophy as Attitude and Pedagogy for Self and Student Liberation
Sheryl Joy Lieb
No Sermons in Stone (Bernstein) + Left Behind (Austinxc04)
Richard Bernstein, Austinxc04
New Workplace Issue #25
- Writing About Academic Labour
- Survival in the New Corporatized Academy: Resisting the Privatization of Higher Education
- The Radical Keynes: An Appraisal
- “A Multitude of Wedges:” Neoliberalism and Micro-Political Resistance in British Columbia’s Public Schools 2001-2014
- British Columbia Obstructs the Shock Doctrine: Struggle, Solidarity, and Popular Resistance
- Higher Education Reform in Bangladesh: An Analysis
Md Moazzom Hossain, Amir Md Khan
- Film Review of Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives
Sandra Ximena Delgado, Michelle Gautreaux
New Workplace Issue #24
- Academic Bullying and Mobbing: Introduction to the Special Issue
Institute for Critical Education Studies
- Of Sticks and Stones, Words that Wound, and Actions Speaking Louder: When Academic Bullying Becomes Everyday Oppression
- Beyond Bullies and Victims: Using Case Story Analysis and Freirean Insight to Address Academic Mobbing
Julie Gorlewski, David Gorlewski, Brad Porfilio
- Graduate Students as Proxy Mobbing Targets: Insights from Three Mexican Universities
Florencia Peña Saint Martin, Brian Martin, Hilde Eliazer Aquino López, Lillian von der Walde Moheno
- Bullying in Academia Up Close and Personal: My Story
- Mobbing in the Context of a Woman’s Life
Rachel Morrison Kenney
- Pathogenic Versus Healthy Biofilms: A Metaphor for Academic Mobbing
Antonio Pedro Fonseca
- Threat Convergence: The New Academic Work, Bullying, Mobbing and Freedom
Stephen Petrina, Sandra Mathison, E. Wayne Ross
Special Issue of Workplace:A Journal for Academic Labor
Guest Editors: Karen Gregory & Joss Winn
Articles in Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor have repeatedly called for increased collective organisation in opposition to a disturbing trajectory: individual autonomy is decreasing, contractual conditions are worsening, individual mental health issues are rising, and academic work is being intensified. Despite our theoretical advances and concerted practical efforts to resist these conditions, the gains of the 20th century labor movement are diminishing and the history of the university appears to be on a determinate course. To date, this course is often spoken of in the language of “crisis.”
While crisis may indeed point us toward the contemporary social experience of work and study within the university, we suggest that there is one response to the transformation of the university that has yet to be adequately explored: A thoroughgoing and reflexive critique of academic labor and its ensuing forms of value. By this, we mean a negative critique of academic labor and its role in the political economy of capitalism; one which focuses on understanding the basic character of ‘labor’ in capitalism as a historically specific social form. Beyond the framework of crisis, what productive, definite social relations are actively resituating the university and its labor within the demands, proliferations, and contradictions of capital?
We aim to produce a negative critique of academic labor that not only makes transparent these social relations, but repositions academic labor within a new conversation of possibility.
We are calling for papers that acknowledge the foundational work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for labor theory and engage closely and critically with the critique of political economy. Marx regarded his discovery of the dual character of labor in capitalism (i.e. concrete and abstract) as one of his most important achievements and “the pivot on which a clear comprehension of political economy turns.” With this in mind, we seek contributions that employ Marx’s and Engels’ critical categories of labor, value, the commodity, capital, etc. in reflexive ways which illuminate the role and character of academic labor today and how its existing form might be, according to Marx, abolished, transcended and overcome (aufheben).
- A variety of forms and approaches, demonstrating a close engagement with Marx’s theory and method: Theoretical critiques, case studies, historical analyses, (auto-)ethnographies, essays, and narratives are all welcome. Contributors from all academic disciplines are encouraged.
- Any reasonable length will be considered. Where appropriate they should adopt a consistent style (e.g. Chicago, Harvard, MLA, APA).
- Will be Refereed.
- Contributions and questions should be sent to:
● Fully referenced ABSTRACTS by 1st February 2015
● Authors notified by 1st March 2015
● Deadline for full contributions: 1st September 2015
● Authors notified of initial reviews by 1st November 2015
● Revised papers due: 10th January 2016
● Publication date: March 2016.
Possible themes that contributions may address include, but are not limited to:
- The Promise of Autonomy and The Nature of Academic “Time”
- The Laboring “Academic” Body
- Technology and Circuits of Value Production
- Managerial Labor and Productions of Surplus Markets of Value: Debt, Data, and Student
- The Emotional Labor of Restructuring: Alt-Ac Careers and Contingent Labor
- The Labor of Solidarity and the Future of Organization
- Learning to Labor: Structures of Academic Authority and Reproduction
- Teaching, Learning, and the Commodity-Form
- The Business of Higher Education and Fictitious Capital
- The Pedagogical Labor of Anti-Racism
- Production and Consumption: The Academic Labor of Students
- The Division of Labor In Higher Education
- Hidden Abodes of Academic Production
- The Formal and Real Subsumption of the University
- Alienation, Abstraction and Labor Inside the University
- Gender, Race, and Academic Wages
- New Geographies of Academic Labor and Academic Markets
- The University, the State and Money: Forms of the Capital Relation
- New Critical Historical Approaches to the Study of Academic Labor
Issue Guest Editors:
Karen Gregory is lecturer in Sociology at the Center for Worker Education/Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the City College of New York, where she heads the CCNY City Lab. She is an ethnographer and theory-building scholar whose research focuses on the entanglement of contemporary spirituality, labor precarity, and entrepreneurialism, with an emphasis on the role of the laboring body. Karen cofounded the CUNY Digital Labor Working Group and her work has been published in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Women and Performance, The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, and Contexts.
Joss Winn is a senior lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Lincoln, UK. His research extends broadly to a critique of the political economy of higher education. Currently, his writing and teaching is focused on the history and political economy of science and technology in higher education, its affordances for and impact on academic labor, and the way by which academics can control the means of knowledge production through co-operative and ultimately post-capitalist forms of work and democracy. His article, “Writing About Academic Labor,” is published in Workplace 25, 1-15.
New issue launched!
Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
No 23 (2014): Equity, Governance, Economics and Critical University Studies
Table of Contents
Critical University Studies: Workplace, Milestones, Crossroads, Respect,
Stephen Petrina, E. Wayne Ross
Differences in Black Faculty Rank in 4-Year Texas Public Universities: A
Brandolyn E Jones, John R Slate
Academic Work Revised: From Dichotomies to a Typology
No Free Set of Steak Knives: One Long, Unfinished Struggle to Build
Education College Faculty Governance
Ishmael Munene, Guy B Senese
Year One as an Education Activist
Rethinking Economics Education: Challenges and Opportunities
Sandra Ximena Delgado-Betancourth
Review of Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think
C. A. Bowers
Educate, Agitate, Organize!
Teacher Resistance Against Neoliberal Reforms
Call for Manuscripts
Special Issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
Mark Stern, Colgate University
Amy Brown, University of Pennsylvania
Khuram Hussain, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
I can tell you with confidence, one year later [from the Measure of Progress test boycott in Seattle schools], I know where our actions will lead: to the formation of a truly mass civil rights movement composed of parents, teachers, educational support staff, students, administrators, and community members who want to end high-stakes standardized testing and reclaim public education from corporate reformers.—Jesse Hagopian, History Teacher and Black Student Union Adviser at Garfield High School, Seattle
As many of us have documented in our scholarly work, the past five years have witnessed a full-fledged attack on public school teachers and their unions. With backing from Wall Street and venture philanthropists, the public imaginary has been saturated with images and rhetoric decrying teachers as the impediments to ‘real’ change in K-12 education. Docu-dramas like Waiting For ‘Superman,’ news stories like Steve Brill’s, “The Teachers’ Unions’ Last Stand,” in The New York Times Magazine and high profile rhetoric like Michelle Rhee’s mantra that students, not adults, need to be “put first” in education reform, all point to this reality: teachers face an orchestrated, billion dollar assault on their professional status, their knowledge, and their abilities to facilitate dialogical spaces in classrooms. This assault has materialized and been compounded by an austerity environment that is characterized by waning federal support and a narrow corporate agenda. Tens of thousands of teachers have suffered job loss, while thousands more fear the same.
Far from being silent, teachers are putting up a fight. From the strike in Chicago, to grassroots mobilizing to wrest control of the United Federation of Teachers in New York, to public messaging campaigns in Philadelphia and boycotts in Seattle, teachers and their local allies are organizing, agitating and confronting school reform in the name of saving public education. In collaboration with parents, community activists, school staff, students, and administrators, teacher are naming various structures of oppression and working to reclaim the conversation and restore a sense of self-determination to their personal, professional, and civic lives.
This special issue of Workplace calls for proposals to document the resistance of teachers in the United States, Canada, and globally. Though much has been written about the plight of teachers under neoliberal draconianism, the reparative scholarship on teachers’ educating, organizing, and agitating is less abundant. This special issue is solely dedicated to mapping instances of resistance in hopes of serving as both resource and inspiration for the growing movement.
This issue will have three sections, with three different formats for scholarship/media. Examples might include:
I. Critical Research Papers (4000-6000 words)
- Qualitative/ethnographic work documenting the process of teachers coming to critical consciousness.
- Critical historiographies linking trajectories of political activism of teachers/unions across time and place.
- Documenting and theorizing teacher praxis—protests, community education campaigns, critical agency in the classroom.
- Critical examinations of how teachers, in specific locales, are drawing on and enacting critical theories of resistance (Feminist, Politics of Love/Caring/Cariño, Black Radical Traditions, Mother’s Movements, and so on).
II. Portraits of Resistance
- Autobiographical sketches from the ground. (~2000 words)
- Alternative/Artistic representations/Documentations of Refusal (poetry, visual art, photography, soundscapes)
III. Analysis and Synthesis of Various Media
- Critical book, blog, art, periodical, music, movie reviews. (1500-2000 words)
400-word abstracts should be sent to Mark Stern (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 15, 2014. Please include name, affiliation, and a very brief (3-4 sentences) professional biography.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by May 15. Final drafts will be due October 1, 2014. Please note that having your proposal accepted does not guarantee publication. All final drafts will go through peer-review process. Authors will be notified of acceptance for publication by November 1.
Please direct all questions to Mark Stern (email@example.com).
Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor founding editors—Kent Puckett and Marc Bousquet—published the first issue of the journal in the fall of 1998. Closely connected to activism emerging from the Graduate Student Caucus of the Modern Language Association, the journal’s mission was defined by Bousquet in his Foreword to the first issue, “The Institution as False Horizon”:
Workplace is a … journal that asks you to join with Graduate Student Caucus as the agent of a new dignity in academic work. This means that most of its contributors will try to convince you that becoming a Workplace activist is in your immediate and personal best interest, even by the narrowest construction of careerism.
Let me be clear about this. If you’re a graduate student, I’m saying that becoming an activist today will help you get a job in your interview tomorrow.
If you’re an undergraduate, or parent, or employer, I’m saying that a dignified academic WORKPLACE delivers better education.
By “dignified” I mean very simple things.
I mean a higher-education WORKPLACE in which first-year students—those most at risk for dropping out and those requiring the best-trained and most-expert attention—can expect as a matter of course that they have registered for classes taught by persons with experience, training, and the terminal degree in their field (usually a Ph.D.), an office for conferences, a salary that makes such meetings possible, a workload that enables continuing scholarship, a telephone and answering machine, reasonable access to photocopying, and financial support for professional activities.
Remove any one of these values, and education suffers. Who would ask their accountant to work without an office? Or a telephone? Or training and professional development?
Most of the teachers encountered by students in first-year classes have none of these things. No office. No pay for meetings outside of class. No degree. Little or no training. No experience to speak of.
Little wonder that nobody’s happy with the results.
The good news is that there’s plenty of work in higher education teaching for those who want to do it. The bad news is that all of that work no longer comes in the package of tenure, dignity, scholarship, and a living wage that we call “a job.”
The struggle for dignity in the academic workplace continues and 17 years later Workplace remains a journal focused on critical analysis of and activism within universities, colleges, and schools.
Throughout it’s existence Workplace been an open-access journal. Initially housed on servers at the University of Louisville, the journal moved to the University of British Columbia and transitioned from an html-based journal to the Open Journal Systems (OJS) a journal management and publishing system developed by the Public Knowledge Project. PKP is a multi-university initiative developing free open source software and conducting research to improve the quality and reach of scholarly publishing.
The Workplace journal archive project, led by Stephen Petrina (co-director of the Institute for Critical Education Studies and Workplace co-editor), has been underway for several years and is now complete. Back issues #1-#12 are now reformatted and accessible through the journal Archives, bringing the journal up to date under a new unified numbering system and collecting the complete journal contents in one place for the first time since 2005.
This was a monumental task, facilitated by the impeccable editorial work of Graduate Assistants Maya Borhani and Michelle Gautreaux.
We encourage you to explore the very rich archives of the journal and to join us in promoting a new dignity in academic work. We welcome your submissions on issues of workplace activism and dialogue on all issues of academic labor.