In the past 25 years, higher education has seen some major transformations. The percentage of college students who are Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and Native American has increased steadily while the percentage of white students declines. Unfortunately, increased enrollment and newfound visibility does not necessarily translate into a seat at the table. University administration and faculty do not reflect the demographic shifts seen in student populations. In 2013, 84 percent of full-time professors were white, and 53% white male. At the same time, tuitions continue to rise, but rarely do those funds trickle down to the classroom. More money is being funneled into administrative positions and away from tenure-line hires. Most teaching positions are now part-time and low-paid adjunct positions. According to a 2012 report from the American Association of University Professors, contingent faculty make up over 75% of all instructional staffing. In 1975 only 25% were in these positions.
The most active individuals addressing these institutional shifts, are the contingent faculty members themselves. Unfortunately, their marginalized positions limit their ability to participate in campus governance. In addition, the culture of insularity and individualism challenges any attempts at solidarity building and delegitimizes the experiences of the precariat when they take their concerns out into the public sphere. Their work, their experiences, and their contributions to scholarship and teaching are often dismissed, mislabeled, misunderstood, or entirely ignored.
The Precariat and The Professor addresses common misconceptions and will serve as a valuable resource for anyone trying to understand the effects of recent transformations in higher education. In order to address the many false premises and beliefs currently circulating about contingent faculty, we welcome submissions from all those affected by the reliance of precious labor in higher education, and especially welcome the work of students and the contingent. We anticipate that the volume will attract a wide readership. It will speak to scholars, activists, parents, students, teachers and laypeople interested in higher education, pedagogy, activism, identity politics, and advocacy.
Committed to presenting a body of work that recognizes the fullest possible range of experiences, The Precariat and The Professor encourages traditional scholarly submissions (historical, demographic, and sociological), as well as more interdisciplinary, creative, and self-reflective contributions. Moreover, we want to look to the future. Can we envision positive change? Is there a way to “fix” the issue of contingency? How can faculty off the tenure-track transition to other jobs that recognize and utilize their talents? What is the role of the public intellectual, and what relationship does that have with precarious faculty? Can we envision a path towards transformation and revolutionary solidarity?
Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:
- The history of labor and unions in the academy
- Contingency and the tenure process
- Interactions between contingent faculty and graduate and undergraduate students
- Personal memoir and creative writing (short fiction, poetry, flash fiction, creative non-fiction) by and about adjunct or contingent faculty experiences
- Affect and the neoliberal university
- Landscapes of power and privilege on campus and in the classroom
- Organizing, activism, and labor unions
- Gender, race, and class (or other intersectional perspectives) while contingent
- Mythologies and ideologies of success, tenure, and advancement
- Collegiality and departmental politics
The manuscript will be divided into three roughly sketched sections:
- The Teacher: Ways that contingency shapes, or changes, your experiences as a classroom teacher. This can broadly cover the literal experience of being inside the classroom space; the experience of working on multiple campuses; teaching online, or hybrid teaching; or the way classroom teaching as contingent faculty shapes, or changes, your day to day life.
- The Scholar: The ways that contingency affects scholarship, i.e., being “othered” by the academy, and lacking real institutional support, both fiscally and logistically, or ways outsider status allows for views and scholarly work not traditionally held or practiced by academics.
- The Human: Effects of contingency on one’s personal life. Includes but is not limited to finances, mental, physical, and emotional health, family life, professional relationships, and relationship with scholarly or creative work.
Submitted contributions may include full-length academic essays (about 5000 – 7000 words), shorter creative pieces, cultural commentaries, or personal narratives (about 500 – 2500 words), poetry, and photo-essays.
300-word abstract/proposals are due 7/1.
Submit proposals, inquiries, or questions to the editors:
Jillian Powers: email@example.com
Emily Van Duyne: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to your submissions.