From the New Deal to the Raw Deal: 21st Century Poetics and Academic Labor

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Virginia Ann Konchan


The corporate University today offers advanced degrees in the humanities, but, increasingly, contingent employment upon graduation, a development of what Rodrigo Toscano calls “the soft labor of investiture without return.”  In “From the New Deal to the Raw Deal: 21st Century Academic Labor,” I argue that the survival of the humanities is contingent upon an awareness that knowledge production today exists within an exploitative wage-labor economy:  what academic Cathy Wagner calls the “sharecropper estate” of academia.

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Author Biography

Virginia Ann Konchan, University of Illinois at Chicago

My work has appeared in The New Yorker, Best New Poets 2011, the Believer, and The New Republic, and recent criticism in Boston Review, Quarterly Conversation, A Critical Flame, and Barzakh Magazine. Co-founder of Matter, a literary journal of political poetry and commentary, I have presented academic papers on intentionalist criticism, 20th century, resistance literature, affect studies, and the digital archive.  A recipient of fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow, and Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, I live in Chicago, where I am a Ph.D student in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.