The Precarious plight of American WorkingClass Faculty: Causes and Consequences
Keywords:Working-class faculty, higher education, precarity, performativity, cultural capital, imposter syndrome, neo-liberalization, hegemony
For working-class Americans, the path of the professor is precarious. The neo-liberalization of higher education and the hegemony of academic elitism have made working-class faculty an endangered, disadvantaged, and invisible minority within the professoriate. On one hand, financing a graduate school career from humble origins is an increasingly risky investment. On the other, working-class Americans who secure a faculty job are often under-matched to low salary, high workload positions and endure classist ostracism and micro-aggressions. This essay is intended to not only trace the tragic trajectory of American working-class faculty but, more importantly, to invite conversations and identify suggestions that lead to our colleges and universities becoming more personally supportive workplaces and professionally empowering platforms for working-class professors.