Schol…Exodus? Learning Within/Against/Beyond the Institution

  • Bennett Carpenter Duke University
  • Laura Goldblatt University of Virginia
  • Lenora Hanson New York University
  • Karim Wissa Duke University
  • Andrew Yale SEIU Local 73
Keywords: higher education, activism, workplace activism, academic freedom


Critical approaches to the political landscape of higher education are often divided between suggesting either that the university is in such a ruins that it must be abandoned, or that it exists as one of the only vestiges of a public good that needs to be restored and defended. Here, we take an alternative approach to analyzing the crisis-ridden landscape of higher education: class composition, a term we inherit from militant co-research projects. As defined by Marta Malo de Molina, class composition is the “subjective structure of needs, behaviours and antagonist practices, sedimented through a long history of different struggles.” This use of composition seeks to understand how worker and student subjectivities are forged through antagonism and difference to capitalist exploitation and its investments in technology, development, and “progress.”
Defining and Contesting the Terms and Terrain of "Schol-Activism"