Dismissing Academic Surplus: How Discursive Support for the Neoliberal Self Silences New Faculty

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Julie Gorlewski


As the essays in this collection reveal, academics entering the field today are firmly ensconced in the neoliberal economy. Positions are scarce and precarious, remuneration is barely sufficient (or insufficient), resources are inadequate and shrinking, and workloads are increasing. This essay, however, focuses on the academic community and the discursive messages, both formal and informal, that constrain conversations aimed at positive change. The public project – the contribution of scholars to fields of knowledge to benefit humanity – is what matters most of all. Graduate school, ideally, begins as an act of love: passion for a particular content connects with a desire to contribute to new ways of knowing. It should end with discovery, excitement, and hope.

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