Yoda: Twilight of the Professors

Academia, Corruption
Got Crowd? BE the Force!
Got Crowd? BE the Force!

Broken, they are.

Twilight of the Professors

Twenty-eight years ago Russell Jacoby argued in The Last Intellectuals that the post-WWII expansion of higher education in the U.S. absorbed a generation of radicals who opted to become professors rather than freelance intellectual troublemakers. The constraints and rewards of academic life, according to Jacoby, effectively depoliticized many professors of leftist inclinations. Instead of writing in the common tongue for the educated public, they were carrot and sticked into writing in jargon for tiny academic audiences. As a result, their political force was largely spent in the pursuit of academic careers.

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Even if there are more potential outlets for critical analysis, the same conservatizing forces noted above—tougher job competition, contingent employment, surveillable online instruction, demands for grant-getting and conventional forms of productivity, more stringent accountability regimes, legislative monitoring and related attacks—continue to gain strength.

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