Eli Meyerhoff & Zach Schwartz-Weinstein
What role have universities in the United States played in the making and continuation of settler-colonialism, white supremacy, and more recently neoliberal capitalism? Have universities been the unwilling victims of the corporatization of higher education, or have they been active agents in their own neoliberal transformation? And how true are common narratives that universities once experienced a golden age of progressive knowledge production and shared governance in a post-WWII United States?
All of these questions and more are discussed in this episode with our guests Eli Meyerhoff and Zach Schwartz-Weinstein. Meyerhoff and Schwartz-Weinstein also open up the conversation to discuss potential alternatives to modern universities in their exploration of abolitionist university studies, inspired by abolitionist movements against slavery and prisons in the US. Abolitionist university studies poses a left-wing critique of universities that traces their lineage to the making of racial capitalism and settler-colonialism in the US, and seeks to move beyond current university configurations toward more liberatory modes of education.
Suggested further reading for this episode include:
Abolitionist University Studies: An Invitation by Eli Meyerhoff, Zach Schwartz-Weinstein, Abbie Boggs, and Nick Mitchell
Beyond Education: Radical Studying for Another World by Eli Meyerhoff
(get a copy for 30% off using code MN85410- expires December 31, 2019)
Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities by Craig Steven Wilder
Eli Meyerhoff is academic staff at Duke University and author of the recent book, Beyond Education: Radical Studying for Another World published by University of Minnesota Press. He has worked for the Social Movements Lab and participated in two separate unionization efforts to organize graduate student workers at the University of Minnesota.
Zach Schwartz-Weinstein is an adjunct most recently at Bard Prison Initiative. He served on the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) at NYU where he participated in a 7-month strike during 2005-2006. Swartz-Weinstein currently researches food service, maintenance, and clerical workers at US universities and is working on a book about a series of strikes conducted by Yale food service workers in the late 1960s throughout the 1970s.