By now, you’ve seen the video of UC-Davis police lieutenant John Pike pepper-spraying a peaceful sit-in. You’ve seen his strutting little-man-in-a-big-body sadism, giving his beefy little canister a nonchalant waggle before strolling down the line of nonviolent protesters, aiming the toxic stream into their faces from a few feet away. You might even have signed […]

On Saturday afternoon, using the illegal crowd-control tactic called kettling, police riot squads swept the sidewalks near Union Square with orange construction nets. In the same way that ocean trawlers capture indiscriminately, officers penned hundreds of peacefully marching Occupy Wall Street protesters together with bystanders, pedestrians, reporters, and neighborhood residents. Witnesses called police targeting of […]

a guest post by Zach Schwartz-Weinstein Zuccotti Park in the Lower Manhattan financial district has been occupied by a politically diverse group for the last three days, with participation of up to several thousand at a time. Protesters have renamed the space “Liberty Park,” to brand it as an American counterpoint to Cairo’s Tahrir (“Liberation”) […]

So I’m supposed to be finishing my entry, “Labor,” for the second edition of Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler’s widely adopted Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Yay, I’m in the volume, but also totally depressing. I mean, it’s a class war out there and labor’s lost every battle since I started shaving. And by “labor,” […]

Do yourself a favor and give five minutes of any of your 250 or so labor days this year to El Empleo (“Employment”), an extraordinary award-winning 2008 animation by Argentine illustrators Santiago Grasso and Patricio Gabriel Plaza. You won’t need any help interpreting the film’s conceit, which makes visible the complex web of relationships in […]

When we added humorous chapter books (eg Roscoe Riley) to my three-year-old’s story time, we were appalled to find that one of them featured one of the cruder and, we thought, outmoded Asian stereotypes–the New Kid from the Black Lagoon, it turns out, is not the scary blue-skinned alien from Mars that the other kids […]

Peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice. Without justice there will be no peace. –Martin Luther King, Jr. May 17 is the 57th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, and educators across the country are on the march once again. At 1 pm EST you can catch the live […]

Yesterday’s U.S. launch of the ASUS Transformer tablet with a detachable clamshell keyboard sold out in minutes on every major online retailer (hours if you were clever and out-thought the tech crowd by actually showing up in the flesh). Why so popular? ‘Cause Asus clued in to the fact that we produce content with our […]

By my count of positions discussed on the essential Academic Jobs Wiki: Seven of forty-three positions in French with “interviews scheduled” were interviewing by Skype and bypassing the MLA convention in Los Angeles this week. (More fools them: The rains are ending and the forecast is lovely.) Five of the seven were tenure track positions. […]

“Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land, A hard working man and brave. He said to the rich ‘Give your goods to the poor.’ But they laid Jesus Christ in His grave…. “This song was written in New York City, Of rich man, preacher and slave, But if Jesus was to preach […]

What’s worse than a fat lip? How about a one-term presidency? The post-Thanksgiving White House news was all about Reynaldo Deceraga, whose elbow connected with the Presidential face during a basketball game. But those twelve stitches are nothing compared to the potentially career-ending injuries caused by another of Obama’s hoopsters, Education Secretary Arne Duncan. There […]

Just when you thought that everyone was going to buy a CB radio/pet rock/mood ring/Betamax/eight-track, you had the courage of your convictions and held off. Good for you.You probably also haven’t yet tied your mobile media consumption to either Apple or Amazon. Double good for you–waiting a year has paid off. Now you can buy […]

I’d like you to imagine the following. Suppose we are going to have a national summit on health care. Do you not suppose that a substantial number of the voices included would be from professionals in health care, including doctors and nurses? Would you have 3 people with just the head of the AMA to […]

Only way to please me turn around and leave and walk away –Alabama Getaway, lyrics by Robert Hunter Many who learn that the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) amputated a $650,000 state appropriation, not to mention a flow of grant money, just to rid itself of a labor center (and Glenn Feldman, the accomplished historian who […]

Just last year, Stanley Fish was playing Clint Eastwood with his manifesto: Do Your Job, Punk! (or, My Tinfoil Hat Keeps Politics Out of My Teaching–Get Yours Today!) In that widely panned book, he argued that the role of the faculty was to produce and distribute knowledge magically apart from the mundane and political. Earlier […]

In a nine-page report, the ACLU just slammed the Berkeley administration for trampling on the rights of two student protesters. And: is the Minneapolis conference about this year’s campus unrest the last act, or a prelude to even bolder action? Watch the live broadcast to find out.  There was a police confrontation at a sit-in […]

I wouldn’t buy the iPad for me, but I’d certainly consider buying something like it for my son. Infants acquire the ability to point around ten months of age. With touch-screen interfaces, shortly thereafter most can interact with literacy programs designed for much older children. About this time last year, when Emile was fourteen months […]

  Eric Lee’s Labour Start clearinghouse for global labor news has just announced nominees for its first-ever award, Labor Video of the Year. Two of the five finalists are inspired by working conditions in higher ed. I think both are among the three likeliest to win. My top choice is the clever, often hilarious series […]

What’s worse than David Horowitz’s brand of right-wing drivel giving yellow journalism a bad name? A ghost-authored Horowitz sequel, padded with over 150 witless, tendentious summaries of courses that the compilers erroneously imagine will frighten middle America into hauling the faculty up the nearest telephone pole. The current issue of American Book Review highlights their […]

Slow dissolve: Manhattan, fifteen years ago. I walk a few blocks from my place on Third Street– next to an anarchist squat, across from the NuYorican Poets Cafe–to the headquarters of the Modern Language Association (MLA), then in Astor Place. I explain the agenda of the Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) to the director of the […]

Okay, let’s imagine the impossible of total supply-side control. Clamp off admissions to EVERY doctoral program in history immediately and what happens? They all keep pumping out new PhDs at contemporary levels for ten years. Scratch that. They actually pump out higher levels, because fewer of those enrolled will drop out, believing that they have […]

Bérubé How many submissions did you receive for The Institution of Literature? Williams 385, not counting the nine essays you submitted, eight of which sucked, if you don’t mind my saying so. Bérubé Not at all. I totally respect your opinion when it comes to essays of mine that suck. Williams Well, they did. As […]

Several hundred students gathered at the Oakland courthouse Monday to protest the filing of felony burglary charges against protesters last week, then began an impromptu march over to the University of California’s Office of the President (UCOP), the building from which Mark Yudof directs the entire UC system. About 70 members of the crowd pushed […]

I’m told that Amazon has picked HTUW for 40% off back-to-school pricing, which means they’ve shaved 9 bucks off the 23 dollar list. Yes, I know they do it by being union-busting assholes and crapping on the life of the mind, as represented by independent booksellers.

Seems I attract the Czars of Obsession, even when I’m not pasting Che posters to the Temple of the Free Market (People, However, Chained to Their Desks). My fairly light-hearted post on early learning, for instance, sparked a little rage: “It’s All Fun and Games, Pal, until Someone’s Child Injects Themselves with Autism!” and “How […]

One of the things that child-rearing has taught H. and myself is that parenting is the new mystical Belief System in Many Flavors. Like the old belief systems still causing wars around the planet, Parenting Choices (PC) are not really suitable dinner conversation. Those whose children are older don’t fight with each other about these […]

So appropriate, and at the right price. Whether you dropped half a million in your TIAA-CREF or are standing in line for free cheese this holiday season, you may be looking for ways to cut back on your dispensation of holiday cheer, while still letting your friends and colleagues know that you’re thinking about them. […]

Emile had a visit with his physician upon our return from Quebec, and at 7 1/2 months, he was up 11 pounds and 11 inches. The eleven inches part is kind of scary when you think about it–1.5 inches a month! He also has 3 teeth, nearly 4, and pre-verbalizes, we would like to believe, […]

I’m humbled and touched by a slew of spring/summer 2008 reviews, by Stanley Aronowitz (below), Jan Clausen (below), Louis Proyect (the Unrepentant Marxist), Jon Whiten of In These Times, Mr. Adjunct Whore , Anna Creech at BlogCritics, Gregory Zobel at Adjunct Advice,  Delight and Instruct, and Paolo Do in Posse (Italian only), and of course the very […]

Hey, I just got my invitation from the National Association of “Scholars” to join their Golden Snitch project–they called it the Argus project, but I didn’t get what that means, ’cause I’m in English and that reference requires a course in Classics. Like most NAS invitees, I insist on coloring inside the lines. My invite […]

As a couple of folks have noticed: I haven’t issued a new video in a while, despite having fifteen or so great interviews backed up on my monster new 750-gig external hard drive. The videos will begin releasing again in May, about 1 per week. They include great interviews with AAUP past president Jane Buck […]

If you’re trying to get the book from an online bookseller and seeing an estimated delivery of 1 week, it’s because the first printing of HTUW has sold out. The second printing was due in warehouses April 4, and should be shipping shortly. (The best price–$15.84 to $17.60–is at Barnes and Noble. Ordering directly from […]

As of Monday, February 4, How The University Works and yours truly will also be available at the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s Brainstorm, which already features Gina Barreca, Dan Greenberg, Laurie Fendrich, Mark Bauerlein, Stan Katz, Robert Zemsky, and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. This should be interesting! For the first week or two over there, I’ll […]

In today’s mailbag, Miriam at The Little Professor has a nice reading of HTUW, and raises a couple of good questions in relation to the book. She wants to learn more about the way affect or “teaching for love” helps drive exploitation and wants to know what could happen to contingent faculty if contingent work […]

In a matter of hours, 2,000 union supporters joined the facebook group backing Derek Blackadder, the Canadian academic unionist, and won his reinstatement. Facebook members can friend me. Some of the How The University Works videos are circulating on facebook and have been used in courses in Australia and Germany. (Viewings on Youtube are around […]

Play PhD Casino! was the top video in the “education” issues section on Youtube’s elections 2008 page, racking up 1600 views in two days, many of them folks who are new to the realities of higher education employment. It’s not Britney or lonelygirl15, but not bad, people, not bad at all! Thanks to Monica Jacobe […]

Oh. My. God. I thought I’d heard all the stories already. Wrong. In the discussion of the Faculty on Food Stamps video over in the non-tenure track forum at the Chronicle of Higher Education, plenty of others chimed in that they’d been forced to take their families on public assistance. One guy even slept in […]

I’m just about to upload part 2 of the Berube interview–on the role of professional associations (like the MLA) in struggling against the corporate university. In the meanwhile, a 1-minute clip on blogging and the collapse of civilization… Quicktime version (.mov) Windows version (mpg-1) (highest quality)