The Feminist Wire comes through with a nice write up about academic labor. Here Paul Seltzer, a GW Women’s Studies major, articulates the painful implications of the academic culture which insists on students and faculty suffering in order to retain connection to the school.
Flexible instructors and flexible students, dependent upon the corporate university for a wage and a future, are those whose labors and bodies stretch to satisfy the requirements that would make them valued members of the university’s community, less at-risk to a budget cut here or a rise in tuition there. Flexibility means that when the corporate university applies such pressures, instructors and students will bend as much as they can so that they will not snap. Sure, I can teach another class for minimal pay. Sure, I will work freshman orientation in return for free housing. Sure, I will go into debt.
I observe in my own academic life that the credibility of the institution is used to help justify these kinds of decisions.