Monday, December 07, 2015

The Myth of Leftist Academia

The ideological control of the university is intimately related to the economics of “higher education” in the neoliberal era.  Professors who profess too much in ways that might offend concentrated power are easily dispensed with when they are hired only by the course, semester, or academic year.  Department chairs and deans can avoid headaches merely by not renewing the troublemakers’ contracts. Adjuncts and temporary instructors (glorified “Assistant Professors” at many universities) who wish to keep a foothold in academia are well advised not to rock doctrinal boats. As the AAUP notes, “The insecure relationship between contingent faculty members and their institutions can chill the climate for academic freedom…Contingent faculty may be less likely to take risks in the classroom or in scholarly and service work….The free exchange of ideas may be hampered by the fear of dismissal for unpopular utterances.”

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