Wanted: A Real Consumer Guide to College

It’s clearly good news that the DEI jackboots are getting the boot in a lot of places, and that Ivy League presidents are being shown the door for their moral turpitude. But as everyone knows, these improvements are marginal, as the inmates (faculty and administrators alike) are still fully in charge of the asylum.

Even without the DEI thought police, you still have to contend with faculty such as this person, whose name and institution I shall omit, but is a real person at a premier university (and not a mental institution as you might very well think):

I am a Visiting Assistant Professor (Professorial Lecturer) of American Studies at ——— University, where I teach classes focused on disability and madness, settler colonialism and racial capitalism, and gender and sexuality. I am currently exploring a new project tentatively titled Queer³: Intersections of Spectrums, which would focus on the overlapping experiences of queerness, genderqueerness, and neuroqueerness. My work on madness/disability, political economy, and popular culture has been published in several anthologies as well as in American Quarterly, Lateral, and the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies. In 2015 I served as the interim managing editor of the Disability Studies Quarterly and from 2015-18 as the co-chair of ASA’s Critical Disability Studies Caucus.

I am also working on a manuscript, “Autism, Anxiety, and Neuroqueerness: A Mad Critique of Political Economy,” which uses a crip of color materialist approach to intervene in the current academic (re)turn to political economy that has often focused on neoliberalism as an explanatory paradigm and a field of adversity. Analyzing a range of discursive sites—from radical left manifestos and so-called neoliberal literature to pop psychology and the sharing economy—I challenge current discourses of political economy to move from their focus on neoliberalism to the co-constitution of racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and liberal democracy by investigating ongoing investments in rationality and their concomitant pathologization of intensity. More specifically, I investigate how these anti-neoliberal discourses employ contemporary racialized conceptualizations of madness and mental illness in order to showcase how the psychiatrization of mental states reflects liberal investments that remain dominant in knowledge production in the humanities.

I think this person got all the buzzwords in, no?

I’ve long had a beef with the college rankings from U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, Forbes, etc. They are really just reflections of general reputation, and do you really need U.S. News to know that Harvard has a reputation as an elite school? These guides offer no guidance at all for students choosing classes, and selecting which professors to seek out, and which to avoid.

It would be a great service to humanity if there was some kind of service that emulated the way FIRE ranks colleges for their protection of free expression. FIRE gives three levels of evaluation along with their overall rankings: Green, Yellow, and Red, with a Red rating meaning that a college is very poor in protection free speech. (And Harvard finished last in the nation in FIRE’s last rankings.)

If individual faculty and course offerings were rated in a similar way, the professor who wrote the drivel above would earn a double-red light, meaning avoid this professor at all costs!

Stay tuned to this space. I might have a news about just such an effort before long. . .

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