"Social justice, grievance studies, victimhood culture and most of the other buzzwords that have come to dominate discussions about institutions of higher learning in recent years: none of this stuff is actually new."
This is one of the best and most astonishing essays of 2019. Thank you ⁦
An outstanding historical analysis of the culture of higher ed from . I know many argue these trends are a rejection of liberalism and I don't totally disagree but think it is worth considering them as a potential natural outcome of it.
"Those who aspire to reform institutions of higher learning would do well to study how, specifically, the paradigms which currently dominate those institutions came into such a position of prominence."
"The contemporary debate around ‘free speech’ and ‘political correctness’ bears an uncanny likeness to 1990s controversies on these same topics. Perhaps Santayana was right: those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Interesting: Seizing the Means of Knowledge Production
One of the best articles I've ever read explaining how the language and beliefs of intersectionality, social justice, privilege, safe spaces, etc came to dominate. Spoiler: it was a long-term effort pursued doggedly by many actors across many fields. 1/3
Here, I basically blow up the entire contemporary media conversation about higher ed. For starters, none of this stuff is actually new. And I mean NONE of it (social justice, victimhood culture, microaggressions, name it).
THIS is an excellent read by "Seizing the Means of Knowledge Production" (there are many views of his i don't agree with (which he + I would agree is the entire point of heterodoxy––and takes nothing away from his excellent points here)
Fantastic article by on the origins and history of terms such as 'Trigger Warnings', 'Intersectionality', 'Microaggressions', and 'safe spaces'.
"Rather than being a font of innovation themselves, academics tend to systematize, rationalize, extrapolate from various innovations that were produced by people outside their field, or outside of academia altogether."
"Rather than being a font of innovation themselves, academics tend to systematize, rationalize, extrapolate from various innovations that were produced by people outside their field, or outside of academia altogether. " via
Read this essay if you want to understand what Foucault meant by "power." (Also if you want to understand the institutional dynamics of what calls "the successor ideology")
Thread. makes a valuable contribution in this post: many controversial notions in higher education discourse--safe spaces, intersectionality, & so on--have been around for decades. Many emerged in the 1970s. /1
You should definitely check out my latest piece -- a deep sociological dive into how many of the current paradigms in U.S. higher ed took root. In the process, it basically explodes a lot of the prevailing discourse on higher ed over the past few years...
Trendy elitist admins trying to be 'down with the kids' are undermining higher education.
As argues recently, the *legal* battle for free expression on campus, etc. was already waged -- and won fairly decisively -- decades ago. To the extent that people don't *feel* free today, this is primarily an issue of culture:
"[The targeting of ed schools] was implemented in a very deliberate, systematic, forward-thinking way... [But] when their efforts began to come to fruition, it appeared as though it was a spontaneous, organic, student-driven movement."
But meanwhile the ideologues are laser focused on their mission. They're busy seizing and holding onto the means of knowledge production, and no one, certainly not HxA, can manage to effectively stop them. (4, end)
Personally, part of the reason I think the HxA approach will work is because it has already worked *very* well for institutionalizing a lot of other paradigms which dominate today. Indeed, the admin shift may be a good example, as I show here
Fortunately, 's has done just that. This essay is long but the single best description of how this tiny horde of intellectual poseurs has escaped the ivory tower and into corporations, schools, and the wider society. END
Many have praised "Seizing the Means of Knowledge Production" on the origins and rise of woke ideas and methods. It is *very good*. by e.g. it describes the tactics used:
The terms / concepts that dominate discussions about higher ed today -- literally none of this stuff is actually new. Reformers today should understand the processeses through which they were institutionalized:
All due respect -- I'm someone who came from a community college () and until a couple years ago was teaching at a public land grant university ()... yet as I explained in my essay Seizing the Means of Knowledge Production
That's not sexy, but its true: When HxA started, it was basically a blog and a list of names. This year we've invested a lot of time 'putting the organs in the organization.' We've built out a great team. But perhaps more importantly...
Erstwhile higher ed reformers often seem to lack understanding of how institutional change might plausibly occur. Here, I lay out examples reformers might want to look to (and blow up many pop. narratives in process):