The past 25 years have transformed higher education. Most significantly, money is being funneled into administrative positions and away from tenure-line hires; this, combined with dramatic budget cuts for public, state-funded institutions, has led to most teaching positions being part-time and low-paid. 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% of faculty held contingent positions.
adjuncts refuse to remain silent. The work, the experience, and the contributions of the precariat to scholarship, teaching, and service are often dismissed, mislabeled, misunderstood, or entirely ignored by their full-time colleagues, their workplaces, and the public-at-large. And yet, they persist.
In this book, the precariat speaks: their work, experiences, teaching, and scholarship are the center of this anthology. Within it, they argue that tenured faculty’s clinging to notions of “academic freedom”—the most common argument on behalf of the tenure-system remaining in place as-is—is an inadequate response to the crisis of precarity. Instead, they contend that battles fought over who is sufficiently recognized and compensated for knowledge production must be understood in light of economic systems of power and inequality that shape working conditions both domestically and globally, if they are ever to be transformed in favor of the worker. Based on multidisciplinary research, autobiographical accounts, and even performance scripts, this urgent analysis offers sobering insights into such varied manifestations of “the imperial university.”
variety of institutional and academic settings. Five different countries are represented in this volume, either through the nationality of the authors, or the subjects of their chapters.
Introduction: What Is Precarity?:
Pedagogies and Practice:
This section focuses on how contingency shapes and changes the experience of teaching. Special consideration is given to the ways contingency, ironically, discourages active
discussion or analysis of the role pedagogy plays in the classroom, since the large course loads and low pay of most adjuncts often makes real pedagogical writing, and assessment, impossible. Also discussed are ways the outsider status of the contingent can create forms of activist pedagogy not traditionally held or practiced by academics with more stable positions.
The Affective and the Intimate:
This section explores the effects of contingency on one’s personal life, and includes, but is not limited to finances; mental, physical, and emotional health; family life, professional relationships, and their relationship with scholarly or creative work.
Activism and Organizing: