Category Archives: Higher Education

Monetizable (415)

I think this story is fascinating. An art college in Lyon altered a photograph of a group of its students– making it appear that some of them were people of color– in order to appeal to prospective US students. I take this to be a consequence of living in a society where everything is monetizable, including racial and ethnic identity. Under neoliberalism an uncritical, opportunistic version of diversity easily becomes just another marketing technique.

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Employability (415)

If there were any doubts that students are interpellated as consumers at SFSU, a quick glance at the  Campus Store website should dispel them. Even in this apparently trivial fashion, the institution of higher education functions to produce neoliberal subjects who conceive of themselves as market actors and their educations as enhancements of their “employability.”

Take 2 minutes to listen to Omar Aktouf:

I take it that when he mentions Socrates, Rimbaud, etc. he’s gesturing at an intellectual inheritance common to all of us extending beyond a purely western tradition.

A Question

I’m thinking of teaching The Clansman by Thomas Dixon next semester. Dixon was a white supremacist, an admirer of the Confederacy, and a staunch supporter of Jim Crow. The Clansman, the second installment of a trilogy about the post-Civil War South, became the basis of one of the most influential films in cinema history, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation. The novel is replete with racist invective and celebrates the KKK. It is also a historically significant text that provides insight into the ideology of white supremacy and the political uses of the genre of historical romance. Do you think this kind of fiction belongs in the classroom? Would you be interested in reading such a book in one of your courses? If you have any thoughts on this matter please share them, either in the comments field of this post or via email. I appreciate your feedback.