Reflections on Work and Activism in the 'University of Excellence.'

Charles R. Menzies


This paper is a critical reflection on the possibilities for activism and the conditions of work within the contemporary university of excellence. I draw upon my experience as a student, and then as a faculty member, in North American universities of excellence (a la Bill Reading: The University in Ruin). Unlike the earlier university of 'culture' in which what one said had a potential impact, the measure of success in the contemporary university of 'excellence' is more focused upon how much one might say (in print in the 'right' journal). "Reflections on work and activism" presents three linked, but autonomous stories that offer counsel to our audience on the ways in which engaged progressive political action might intersect with the realities of everyday work and life in the contemporary university of excellence.


post-secondary education; anthropology of work; engaged anthropology

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