The Last Professors
The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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owe my longest-standing debt of gratitude to the Ohio State graduate students in various incarnations of my seminar on academic labor. They helped me to work out the ideas and arguments expressed here, and dedicating the book to them seems the least I can do to repay them for their...
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Universities are timeless. A Carnegie Foundation study forty years ago counted sixty-six institutions that have been in continuous operation since 1530: the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the parliaments of Iceland and the Isle of Man, and sixty-two universities. Professors are a...
Chapter 1: Rhetoric, History, and the Problems of the Humanities
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Too many observers now describe the current state of higher education, particularly of the humanities, as a crisis. I wish instead to characterize it as an ongoing set of problems, a distinction that might at first appear only to be semantic. The terms of the so-called crisis, from the academic humanist perspective, are always the same: corporate interests and values are...
Chapter 2: Competing in Academia
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The most prominent discussions of professional life in the humanities share three characteristics: they date from the 1980s forward, they are narrowly focused, and they are intensely polemical. The focus has been the job ‘‘crisis,’’ as almost everyone in this branch of academia calls it. The origins of that ‘‘crisis,’’ however, can be traced back to the early 1970s...
Chapter 3: The Erosion of Tenure
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Any meaningful debate about tenure has to start with the fact that it is slowly but surely disappearing, and the current workforce in higher education is unwittingly hastening its extinction. These may seem counterintuitive, even bizarre assertions, but both the numbers and the prevailing attitudes of the academic workers involved bear them out. I’ll make the...
Chapter 4: Professors of the Future
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Writing in 1842, Francis Wayland, president of Brown University, offered an astonishingly prescient speculation about the future of American higher education. If the colleges did not provide the training desired by the mercantile and industrial interests, he argued, businesses would set up their...
Chapter 5: Prestige and Prestige Envy
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As one moves outside the realm of for-profit universities and the community colleges that increasingly resemble them, the key term in the marketing of higher education ceases to be ‘‘jobs, jobs, jobs,’’ as Stanley Aronowitz decried, but instead becomes prestige. Prestige is both fascinating and frustrating to write about because it is so ghostly. Yet I believe that...
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Page Count: 172
Publication Year: 2008