4.12.03

A FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD DOWN. So does a university. Invisible Adjunct reacts to Stanley Fish's special pleading (links to additional commentary here.) Key observation:
Fish utters not one word about the large-scale and systemic restructuring of the terms of academic employment -- a transformation that has to be seen as the single most significant factor in the weakening of the bargaining power of academic faculty. To repeat the point: when (as in the year 2001), only "about one-quarter of new faculty appointments were to full-time tenure track positions (i.e., half were part-time, and more than half of the remaining full-time positions were 'off' the tenure track)," we are looking at an extremely vulnerable profession: a profession that is vulnerable not only to direct attacks by Republican legislators but also to the more indirect effects of much broader and amorphous social and economic changes.
But setting up Experimental Prefigurative Communities of Transfiguration, and hosting expensive wine-and-cheese receptions for Cutting Edge Bulls... Postmodernists is so much more important, and at least within the academic echo chamber, griping about Those Mean Republicans is so much easier than acknowledging the university's breaches of the social contract and putting those breaches right.

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