Work, Work, Work, Post-Work
Lifetime n+1 member, first-time letter writer. I’m grateful to you for publishing “Spadework,” as well as the other academy-related pieces, in Issue 34. Alyssa Battistoni’s granular approach to describing organizing in the era of Obama and Trump reminded me of the defeated feeling that I often had doing Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) work during the late Clinton and early Bush years (1999–2003), when I was a grad student in the French department at Yale. Plus ça change!
Depending on whom you ask, I was either railroaded from the program in 2003 by my professors due to my union organizing or I chose to leave the program ABD after no tenured professor in my own department would agree to steer my thesis about the influence of the EU on French literary and cinema culture. Or maybe it was a mix of those two things, plus a few others. In any case, I remain angry and bitter at the institution, though profoundly grateful for my time in the union.