Coming to this late, but I really appreciate this analysis. And the 'best practices' you lay out, difficult as it all is to navigate.

Not an academic myself but have friends who are or do admin stuff in academia, and a similar line of stuff plays out in legal education and practice. I'm currently reading Sapphic Slashers, after buying it a long time ago. Reading any critical theory reminds me of undergrad & law school politics (better and worse parts). Reading a really good theory book also reminds me how necessary the mental shock from re-encountering rigorous scholarly work that interrogates and pushes boundaries is for me, as a lawyer in social welfare areas of practice, and in writing fiction focused on the past. And, of course, theory is on my mind right now as people go on about CRT, since the formative texts of the real thing were just being published back when I was a student at an elite but relatively diverse law school.

I have so much respect for anyone who has continued to try to do that work, despite all the obstacles in academia since I left it - in the wake of some failed and some only-thinly-successful attempts to diversify faculties undergrad and grad, and change institutional practices.

Btw, SS is also randomly proving very useful in thinking about a fiction thing I am writing with part set in a college in the early 1900s - the reminder of how close the US Civil War was before 1910-1930, and what social and economic formations were in motion through to WW2, it's all incredibly helpful. Besides being a juicy read. Thanks...

Expand full comment
Jan 19, 2022Liked by Lisa Duggan

I recall that my former advisor talked trash about other PhD students to me. It was not surprising at all that he also talked trash about me behind my back. The most difficult part, for me, is not the break of trust between the advisor and advisee, but to realize the fact that someone writing about 'justice,' 'power,' 'inequality' and so on treated others so differently from whatever value he asserted in his publications. (Just wanting to provide a little more context, I am also an international student + queer of color in the US.) Thank you for this post.

Expand full comment
Jan 18, 2022Liked by Lisa Duggan

This post will resonate especially with international graduate students like myself. So much of the affective landscape you have described becomes a prerequisite for international students to embody if they want access to the Western university. Also, an addendum, would like to comment on enforced affective ephemera within academia. The criticality you speak of, must only last for the duration of a semester. Anything longer is deemed infeasible. We don’t know how to have a sustained relationship with our texts anymore.

Expand full comment

This! Love it. And it’s the bourgeois politesse of the academy that grates my soul.

Expand full comment
Jan 17, 2022Liked by Lisa Duggan

This is so resonant, Lisa. Thank you!

Expand full comment