The Academy

After <em>Columbia</em>

After Columbia

Deans often feign surprise at graduate student complaints, and claim not to notice the thousands petitioning them every semester.

We need an Obama or Clinton NLRB to step in at Harvard and Yale, in other words, because Obama’s and Clinton’s friends and allies, their cronies and chiefs of staff, are preventing workers at those universities from exercising their rights. The reason we need to put a Democrat in the White House is to keep Democrats at bay in the private sector. The reason we need an Obama or Clinton to run the state is to stop Obamism and Clintonism in civil society.

The Piazza and the Parking Lot

The Piazza and the Parking Lot

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and literary activism

In this business of recollecting the world before the free market, before globalization, voluntary memory misleads, and the flicker of involuntary memory throws up, as ever, an array of fragments and sensations, but doesn’t, in itself, instruct us in the ethics of the vanished order, an ethics we have critiqued but whose proximity we no longer sense. So it is almost impossible now to remember—as it was impossible then to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall and the advent of President Obama—that poetry was the literary genre to which the greatest prestige accrued until the mid-’80s.

On Horseshit

On Horseshit

Letter from Amsterdam, Part II

A few weeks ago I wrote a chronicle of a revolution at the University of Amsterdam, where I teach. To recap: On February 13, a student protest group called De Nieuwe Universiteit occupied a campus building to protest dreadful budget cuts, and to challenge more fundamentally the neoliberal managerialism that has crept into academic governance since the 1990s, even in public universities like this one. They were evicted eleven days later.

On Becoming More Human

On Becoming More Human

Not dying is not living

Increased surveillance, tape-recorded representations of life, played back and rewound and remixed over and over again, digitally and virtually, will only remind jurors of an imitation of life, but it won’t revive the real thing. Rather than die knowing my death had been recorded by the camera, I would just rather not die. And rather than not die, I would like to choose to live.

Letter from Amsterdam

Humanities, rally!

Occupying the Maagdenhuis in protest is a minor tradition here. In 1969, students did so for five days. Now, it’s been almost a month. Back then, students and teachers were generally on opposite sides of the barricades, or at least teachers represented the establishment. Now, teacher and student are allies against a new establishment—the university’s Board of Directors (College van Bestuur, or CvB)—and against trends in Dutch academia and the broader world: the financialization of the university, something called rendementsdenken, neoliberalism itself.

Endangered Speakers

Endangered Speakers

Catching disappearing languages

It’s three miles to South Williamsburg, one of the last Yiddish-speaking neighborhoods in the world, where a whole new dialect, some say a separate language, is coming into being. Farther out in East Bushwick, James Lovell is teaching Garifuna, an Afro-Indigenous language of the Caribbean. The Garifuna are descendants of African slaves who escaped a shipwreck off the island of St. Vincent in 1635 and intermarried with the Arawak and Carib natives.

GSOC

GSOC

Graduate employees at public universities have long been granted that right, but private schools have lagged behind, often struggling against anti-union administrations in addition to being reliant on the shifting internal politics of the NLRB. Now, however, the recent NYU election and the administration’s agreement to remain neutral and honor the results are showing graduate employee unions at other private universities that sustained organizing pays off and that they do not need to wait for the NLRB to act to do so themselves.

After <em>Columbia</em>

After Columbia

Deans often feign surprise at graduate student complaints, and claim not to notice the thousands petitioning them every semester.

We need an Obama or Clinton NLRB to step in at Harvard and Yale, in other words, because Obama’s and Clinton’s friends and allies, their cronies and chiefs of staff, are preventing workers at those universities from exercising their rights. The reason we need to put a Democrat in the White House is to keep Democrats at bay in the private sector. The reason we need an Obama or Clinton to run the state is to stop Obamism and Clintonism in civil society.

The Piazza and the Parking Lot

The Piazza and the Parking Lot

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and literary activism

In this business of recollecting the world before the free market, before globalization, voluntary memory misleads, and the flicker of involuntary memory throws up, as ever, an array of fragments and sensations, but doesn’t, in itself, instruct us in the ethics of the vanished order, an ethics we have critiqued but whose proximity we no longer sense. So it is almost impossible now to remember—as it was impossible then to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall and the advent of President Obama—that poetry was the literary genre to which the greatest prestige accrued until the mid-’80s.

On Horseshit

On Horseshit

Letter from Amsterdam, Part II

A few weeks ago I wrote a chronicle of a revolution at the University of Amsterdam, where I teach. To recap: On February 13, a student protest group called De Nieuwe Universiteit occupied a campus building to protest dreadful budget cuts, and to challenge more fundamentally the neoliberal managerialism that has crept into academic governance since the 1990s, even in public universities like this one. They were evicted eleven days later.

On Becoming More Human

On Becoming More Human

Not dying is not living

Increased surveillance, tape-recorded representations of life, played back and rewound and remixed over and over again, digitally and virtually, will only remind jurors of an imitation of life, but it won’t revive the real thing. Rather than die knowing my death had been recorded by the camera, I would just rather not die. And rather than not die, I would like to choose to live.

Letter from Amsterdam

Humanities, rally!

Occupying the Maagdenhuis in protest is a minor tradition here. In 1969, students did so for five days. Now, it’s been almost a month. Back then, students and teachers were generally on opposite sides of the barricades, or at least teachers represented the establishment. Now, teacher and student are allies against a new establishment—the university’s Board of Directors (College van Bestuur, or CvB)—and against trends in Dutch academia and the broader world: the financialization of the university, something called rendementsdenken, neoliberalism itself.