Why Adjuncts Need More Than Solidarity


Gordon Haber in HIPPO Reads:

I want to stop blogging about adjuncting because (a) there are more qualified people doing it and (b) it doesn’t earn me any money. And then something comes along that irritates me so much I feel compelled to respond.

A.W. Strouse recently wrote an op-ed for The Chronicle of Higher Education criticizing the “wild popularity of a new genre of academic writing: the graduate-student blog about the evils of graduate school.”

Let’s leave aside that nothing related to academia is “wild.” Strouse’s piece is irksome to me for its criticism of academic peons who are sick of living in penury (for more see “Death of an Adjunct” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the story of this homeless professor). What is most irksome—and inadvertently quite revealing—is that nowhere in the piece does Strouse directly address why graduate students and adjuncts are so upset:because they are starving.

Maybe we do need an “ethics of solidarity” between graduate students, adjuncts and tenured faculty, as Strouse suggests. But there is one overarching problem: graduate students and tenure-track faculty are too afraid to help adjuncts, and tenured faculty do not seem to care much about adjuncts.

More here.