The Neoliberal University: How to Defend Education, Programs, and Jobs

Higher education has been transformed over the last several decades. State funding has been dramatically reduced, tuition fees have exponentially increased, tenure track jobs have been replaced with adjuncts and graduate students, and staff have laid off and those that remain forced to work longer and harder for less,

The pandemic and recession have triggered an enormous crisis in this neoliberal model of higher education, putting not only jobs but entire institutions in jeopardy. This panel, organized by Spectre Journal, will address how faculty, staff and graduate students can organize and defend their jobs, programs, and higher education in the US.

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Panelists:

Tithi Bhattacharya is a professor of South Asian History and the Director of Global Studies at Purdue University. She is the author of The Sentinels of Culture: Class, Education, and the Colonial Intellectual in Bengal (Oxford University Press, 2005) and the editor of the now classic study, Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression (Pluto Press, 2017). Her recent coauthored book includes the popular Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto (Verso, 2019) which has been translated in over 25 languages. She writes extensively on Marxist theory, gender, and the politics of Islamophobia. Her work has been published in the Journal of Asian Studies, South Asia Research, Electronic Intifada, Jacobin, Salon.com, The Nation, and the New Left Review. She is on the editorial board of Studies on Asia and Spectre Journal.

Cinzia Arruzza is associate professor of philosophy at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College. She is the Vice-President of the New School AAUP chapter and the co-author of Feminism for the 99%. A Manifesto. She is a member of the editorial board of Spectre Journal.

Kathleen Brown is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan in the department of American Culture and a member of the Graduate Employees' Union Local 3550. She helped organize GEO's historic 9-day abolitionist strike in September 2020 and studies 1930s transnational movements against fascism.

Henry Drobbin has been active in the Higher Education Labor Movement for the past 12 years. He held the title of Steward, Lead Steward, and Lead Organizer with The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1205. Most recently, he worked with the Leadership of ACT-UAW 7902, AAUP, AFM 802, and IBT 1205 to form the New School Labor Coalition.

Nancy Welch(moderator) is Professor of English at the University of Vermont and a member of UVM United Academics AFT-AAUP. Her recent publications include the co-edited collections Unruly Rhetorics (with Jonathan Alexander and Susan Jarratt) and Composition in the Age of Austerity (with Tony Scott). Her essay "A Semester to Die For" and interview "Standing Together Against Sexual Assault at Dartmouth" were published last summer at spectrejournal.com.

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