Dear University President, You Could Run Out the Clock


“It’s been shocking how impoverished, craven, and imprudent the leadership of the Anglophone’s wealthiest and flagship universities have been this past year.”

The following is a guest post by Eric Schliesser (University of Amsterdam) on how university administrators have been reacting to protests on their campuses.

(A version of it first appeared at his blog, Digressions & Impressions.)


Dear University President, You Could Run Out the Clock; a Plea for Repressive Tolerance—and Renewal
by Eric Schliesser

Once upon a time, university presidents knew that by mid-May campus would be emptied of most students, including the student activists and the student reporters of the campus daily zine, all of whom had impressive internships lined up with NGOs in DC or foreign countries. Some seniors would even be willing to forego the cause in order to party one last time with classmates in graduation week. That is to say, they knew they could manage the clock as they pleased while they organized some sanitary facilities for the ‘encampment’ and exhibit curiosity about the underlying issue by proudly attending the teach in. After all, the world’s experts on the topic are often on payroll. (A good thing that interdisciplinary program was not cut.)

One of the oddities of our age is that the professional managers that have taken over the running of universities show themselves so unimaginative and so insecure with their authority. They echo each other’s slogans, and they role-play leadership from behind a large desk. Even as risk and reputation managers they are a flop. This is not just an American thing (although the armed snipers on rooftops are). The first time I noticed this state of affairs was a few years ago when peaceful student campers/campaigners got kicked off my Amsterdam campus with non-trivial police brutality because a dean didn’t want them present near graduation. I forget the activists’ cause, but not the triviality that moved the campus hierarchy into action.

When universities resort to force long before that’s necessary—and the present generation of student activists have been a most harmless bunch, so far (has anyone been physically hurt by any of them?)—they educate their students to distrust argument, they teach their students cynicism about persuasion, and they teach them contempt for the gift of civilization, which is all about the art of managing fierce disagreements with words. They teach our students that education is not about patience and the slow mastery of skill, but that it is all about who has the ear of the police commissioner. They deny their students the possibility to discover and thereby learn from their mistakes, but teach them that obedience pays.

I am no friend of the aesthetic frisson that some of my leftwing colleagues feel when they see a mass of mostly young human bodies gathered in protest facing off with men (well mostly men) in uniform; the breathless reports from the ‘streets,’ the talk of demos and democracy, the instinctive trust of the crowd by the lords of a dinner-party. I detest the unwillingness to make distinctions because solidarity demands it. I find it comic when full professors insist that social hierarchy must be abolished. But, at least, their passion pays respect to something other than force.

It’s been shocking how impoverished, craven, and imprudent the leadership of the Anglophone’s wealthiest and flagship universities have been this past year. Yes, they face organized hostility from many sides. But that is, alas, the human condition.

A bit over a year ago I tried to organize my thoughts on these matters and wrote a piece for my campus newspaper, although it was originally written in Dutch. I circulated a draft among some of my department colleagues. They all urged me to remove an inchoate idea that I expressed with the clumsy and archaic phrase, ‘spiritual authority.’ And I did. I should have asked for better suggestions.

I regret dropping the phrase ‘spiritual authority.’

Yes, repressive tolerance for its own sake is potentially a higher form of cynicism. But true authority is born from a self-confidence that doesn’t originate in a job-title or praise; it is rather nourished because one is secure in one’s identity in serving the university’s mission to elevate us, to discover new truths, and to expand our intellectual horizons, to organize curiosity. All discovery is a journey into the unknown, a voyage without a clear destination, and without knowing what will ‘work.’ And this is grounded in a kind of faith that I have called ‘spiritual.’

A certain self-described ‘realist’ thinks that an institution’s true nature is revealed when water-cannons, batons, and shields (or worse) are deployed against their own students. It’s true now. Some of our very best will walk away from us in disgust.

But universities haven’t lasted for centuries without turmoil, and bouts of renewal. Perhaps, on some campus (originating in the Latin for ‘field’), or encampment of tents, some of the more thoughtful young will have seen through the façade of the administrative building, and sketched a vision for a virtual (not in the new sense of ‘online’ but in the supposedly obsolete sense of ‘full of excellence’) university.

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

53 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ryan
23 days ago

Nice piece. Thanks for sharing. You pick up quite rightly on what the recent protests have said about university administration.

But let us not forget that administrators–with the complicity of faculty–have for decades been disemboweling the university through labour casualization; structural exploitation of graduate student labour; and you know the rest of the list.

Recent events are not surprising; they’re confirmatory.

An adjunct
An adjunct
23 days ago

what authority

Kenny Easwaran
23 days ago

I’m trying to figure out what strategy Schliesser is calling for here. At UT Austin, and perhaps Columbia, it seems that the universities were too fast to call in the police. But the reports I’ve been hearing from UCLA suggest that there the university was too slow.

Though at all of these universities, I’m struggling to figure out what actually happened (it was probably a week before I saw a discussion of the events at Columbia that made clear that the original encampment wasn’t obstructing access to buildings when they were forcibly removed, and I’m still trying to figure out what happened at UCLA two nights ago). Perhaps it is clear to some people what university leadership should be doing, and I would appreciate learning where they are getting the clear information from that they are basing this judgment on!

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
23 days ago

I should say, until reading the news yesterday morning, I had been under the impression that most of the UCs, including UCLA, had been taking a good approach, in leaving the encampments alone while acknowledging that they do violate relevant laws.

Phineas
Phineas
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
23 days ago

Re: what happened at UCLA, pro-Israel counter-protestors showed up at night and tried to tear down the encampments and assault students. Some Israel supporters and Jewish students have spoken about how this makes their cause look bad. The police and campus security let this go on for ~3 hours.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/ucla-student-encampment-attack-pro-israel-1235013151/

Gerard
Gerard
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
23 days ago

Being too fast to call in police to break up peaceful protest, and being too slow to protect peaceful protesters from being violently assaulted, are not really being fast and slow at the same thing 🙂

Closet conservative
Closet conservative
Reply to  Gerard
22 days ago

too slow to protect peaceful protesters from being violently assaulted

It sounds like you’re saying all (or much) of the blame for the violence that unfolded at UCLA falls on the counterprotestors, and none (or little) falls on the pro-Palestine protestors. On it’s face, this is very implausible. Initially, one would think that tensions between the two sides escalated to a fever pitch and culminated in a clash. This would be my default assumption (I have no prior evidence that all pro-Palestine protestors are pacifistic angels while all counterprotestors are violent agitators.) What evidence is there that my default assumption is wrong? Much of the evidence here is coming from social media, which is a notoriously bad source of evidence. Is there good, non-defeatable evidence here you would mind sharing?

Daniel Weltman
Reply to  Closet conservative
22 days ago

I have not been following the news at all, so I’m not sure about what actually happened, but one might think that the default assumption would be that the pro-Palestine protestors would benefit from preventing the situation from devolving into violence, while the counterprotestors (and agitators pretending to be protestors) would benefit from escalating the situation into violence, and so we should expect one side to be pulling for nonviolence and the other to be pulling for violence.

Recheck
Recheck
Reply to  Closet conservative
22 days ago

The position is pretty clear to anyone paying attention.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2024/05/03/us/ucla-protests-encampment-violence.html

please
please
Reply to  Recheck
22 days ago

And it’s worth noting that the NY Times is, uh, not exactly a hotbed of pro-Palestine propaganda (what I’m trying to say is: quite the opposite).

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  Recheck
20 days ago

This was a very helpful article to see.

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
20 days ago

Yes, agreed.

That said, one thing I’ve seen from other sources and which the NYT doesn’t discuss is video evidence of protesters barring some students from entry to libraries and other areas of campus on grounds of being “zionists”. It would be good to know if there is any more information on that. Obviously it wouldn’t in any way justify counterprotester violence, but it would if true be the sort of coercive action by protesters that would make it harder for UCLA itself to accept the protesters’ continued presence.

Matthew J Brown
Reply to  David Wallace
19 days ago

What I have read is that they’re only barring access to the encampment itself, and there is always a way to go around the encampment to get where one is going. The claim is that the videos are staged by anti-protest provocateurs.

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Matthew J Brown
19 days ago

Thanks – that certainly makes a difference, though I’m still not thrilled that a group of students can unilaterally set rules for who and who is not allowed into a given part of the campus.

Laura
Reply to  Closet conservative
20 days ago

I watched video of the whole thing and nothing happened until counter protestors showed up and started trying to tear down the encampment “walls”, beating people with sticks and trying to drag them out. I had no prior judgment about whether the protest was a good or bad thing – unless the video is faked, it was 99% the fault of the “counter” protest group. They did not clearly appear to be students or pro-Israel, either.

off the cuff
off the cuff
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
22 days ago

Unnamed bureaucrats sent in the provocateurs (counter-protesters at UCLA) to promote violence, then used that violence as the basis for aggressive police action.

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  off the cuff
22 days ago

Wait, what? Why would the university administration want counterprotesters to attack the encampment? That seems like very bad PR for the university, and the other UC schools all seem to be faring much better from everyone’s point of view! (Other than people who specifically want violence, and don’t particularly care who is injured in that violence.)

off the cuff
off the cuff
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
22 days ago

The relevant bureaucrats in these things are usually in the city gov or police — I expect the college admin were likely misled or just not fully informed of the procedure. The city or police officials send in the provocateurs or see that someone else is sending them, and the police arrange to be elsewhere when mayhem ensues.

off the cuff
off the cuff
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
21 days ago

A NY Times investigation shows that “violence ebbed and flowed for nearly five hours, mostly with little or no police intervention. … Counterprotesters attack[ed] students in the pro-Palestinian encampment for several hours, including beating them with sticks, using chemical sprays and launching fireworks as weapons.” (Neil Bedi et al., “How Counterprotesters at U.C.L.A. Provoked Violence, Unchecked for Hours,” May 3, 2024)

Throughout, security personnel stood back while the attacks happened. During this time, several protesters were singled out and swarmed by counter-protesters. It took two hours after the attacks started for UCLA officials to call in the LAPD. City and state police didn’t begin to arrive till about three hours after the attacks began. It took another roughly one hour before they moved in to stop the violence.

Times reporters document several instances in which counter-protesters beat protesters near the cops, who just stood by and watched.

This was clearly an organized slow response to help the counter-protesters.

grad student
Reply to  David Wallace
21 days ago

How much stupidity can this principle tolerate, though? One wonders whether not interfering for an hour(!) whilst the officers were already on the scene can plausibly be attributed to stupidity.

One wonders also whether this principle makes much sense in a context in which malice is so widespread (just some quick links here, I have no doubt there’ll be readers of this blog with better resources on this):

US police lie and perjure themselves often and with impunity: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/06/us/police-reports-lying-videos-misconduct-trnd/index.html

…in general often engage in misconduct of various kinds: https://gothamist.com/news/nypd-police-ccrb-database-shows-confirmed-record-misconduct (this is just about NYPD)

…and police provocateurs are a common US police and FBI tactic:
https://theintercept.com/2020/06/02/history-united-states-government-infiltration-protests/

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/09/hous-s10.html

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/feb/14/fbi-abuse-of-power-alleged-informant-denver-blm-protests

Laura
Reply to  David Wallace
20 days ago

Often useful advice but in this case police or security – not sure which – are standing by observing as groups of men armed with sticks are trying to drag people out to be beaten. Stupidity isn’t enough to explain that.

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Laura
20 days ago

Tell that to the parents at Uvalde.

Bharath Vallabha
23 days ago

The argument of the post seems to be the university administration’s use of force is undermining the intellectual authority of the life of debate, which is the heart of a university. But the protests also seem to be undermining the intellectual process since there is no debate to be had when people are camped out on the lawn. It’s strange to think in the midst of scores of buildings literally devoted to debate, one has to stand outside those buildings to start a debate.

What this shows I think is that the people protesting have lost faith not just in the administration but also in the faculty. If the university investing in arms is a problem (which I agree is a problem), the people complicit aren’t just the administration but also the faculty who are fine with getting a pay check to pursue topics which have nothing to do addressing an unjust war. Why is financial investment the main kind of investment which is to be protested? Why isn’t the investment of intellectual resources also to be protested?

The faculty have an easy scape goat in blaming the administration. But while the protestors put their lives on the line, is it right the faculty, especially those with tenure, use their energies mainly for pursuing their “intellectual passion” even if it means writing a fourth book on the same topic addressed to the same fifty people? If the faculty had different priorities such that they value fostering debate in public as much as in professionalized circles, the protestors might be drawn to debate as a way to express their frustrations and righteous anger. Protesting the administration is reaching for lower hanging fruit.

The faculty are using the protestors as cover to avoid making hard decisions themselves in how they want to use their platforms as professors. Imagine if faculty who care about the injustice of the war start talking about how their areas of inquiry connect up to the war. Academic freedom suggests they can do that – the faculty can do anything they want. As people say, you can make a philosophy of X of anything. If the faculty do that, the administration would jump in and object, and maybe suspend or fire those faculty. Then the battle will be between the administration and the faculty – and when the administration uses brute power, the faculty can respond with the power of ideas and see how much faculty support each other. That I think is how spiritual and intellectual authority is defended. Not by letting those already with the least security take the hit and be the face of the debate.

Confused_Junior
Confused_Junior
Reply to  Bharath Vallabha
22 days ago

“But the protests also seem to be undermining the intellectual process since there is no debate to be had when people are camped out on the lawn.”

This is incorrect, at least about some (I suspect all) of the protests.

Last week, I spent around ten hours total divided between three days casually observing the encampment protest at my university. I can confirm that there was was plenty of calm and reasonable debate between protesters and, for lack of better terms, detractors and merely interested observers. Both other students not involved in the protest and members of the general public were welcome and, in fact, encouraged to come to the encampment to talk. Many did, including myself! What mattered, as far as I can tell, was whether detractors were engaging in good faith, i.e. whether they showed up to have an actual debate and not simply yell at or harass the protesters.

I don’t see why one would think that students simply camping out on a lawn prevents debate. A lot of the chatter on Dailynous (to say nothing of chatter elsewhere!) reveals that many folks with pretty strong opinions about the protests aren’t actually familiar with how they have been organized and run. Simply popping by a protest for a few hours would dispel many of the misgivings that folks here keep reporting…

Bharath Vallabha
Reply to  Confused_Junior
22 days ago

If there was calm and reasonable debate, which I fully believe, why camp out in the first place? Why not have, say, a 24 hour debate space in a building – kind of like a debate vigil? I am guessing it’s because even if debate is possible, that isn’t the point of the encampment. The main point is to force action and to raise awareness – to break people out what is seen as their complacency; to get beyond the normal by disturbing the normal.

I am sympathetic to this, but I think the protestors are getting the source of the frustration wrong. The deep issue here is the model of debate academia fosters is seriously limited. What is taught is how to have endless debate – that is what professional expertise of writing for journals, etc focuses on. “Both siding it” is exactly what is taught from intro classes on. This means the transition from reflection to action is unclear – in fact academia is set up to contrast reflection from action. So if you want to act, it can feel like protest is the only option.

I would guess the protestors don’t want to do a debate vigil because it will feel like both siding it 24 hours a day, and nothing will change. But that is because what is not being taught in classes is how to use debate itself as a form of rhetoric – how to get beyond both siding it to move people through ideas to your side. Where “move people” doesn’t mean convincing them about the one justified path, but rather to inspire them to share your values even if an opposing perspective can’t be shown to be conclusively wrong. The civil rights and the anti colonialism movements had to get creative to inspire people to change – they used protests because they didn’t have the opportunity to debate. That is what made protests back then rhetorically effective. But it isn’t as rhetorically effective to demand the right to protest when one has the opportunity to debate and find creative ways to inspire people through ideas.

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Bharath Vallabha
20 days ago

“ The faculty have an easy scape goat in blaming the administration. But while the protestors put their lives on the line, is it right the faculty, especially those with tenure, use their energies mainly for pursuing their “intellectual passion” even if it means writing a fourth book on the same topic addressed to the same fifty people? ”

This seems to conflate two different issues. If I think my scholarship is a pointless and insular activity (‘the fourth book … to the same fifty people’) I should develop different scholarship, or do something else with my life. But the thing I’m paid to do is scholarship and education, not activism. As Stanley Fish puts it, save the world on your own time.

Derek Bowman
Derek Bowman
Reply to  David Wallace
20 days ago

But doesn’t your reply simply grant the substance of Bharath’s critique? The reason you need to “save the world on your own time,” is because, on Fish’s conception, the job of an academic is not to engage in any of the debates or dialogues that actually matter, and because none of our academic expertise fits us to make any special contributions to those debates.

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Derek Bowman
20 days ago

Define what “matters”. I don’t buy the claim that most research is useless, and if someone thinks their own research is useless, they should stop doing it. Plenty of academics do research that’s salient to the Israel/Gaza war, and of course those people should draw on that expertise. I’m rejecting the idea that there is some generalized ability to contribute to whatever the current issue du jour is, that comes simply from being an academic.

Bharath Vallabha
Reply to  David Wallace
20 days ago

I don’t think there is any generalized ability that comes from just being an academic. My point is if a professor wants to support protestors, given the interconnectedness of most hot button topics, one can find creative ways of connecting one’s research and teaching to it, and to do it in an inspiring way that can get beyond the surface emotions of activism – the problem with protests is they actually keep us at the level of the surface emotions. If a faculty member doesn’t want to support protestors, I am not saying anything about that here.

Bharath Vallabha
Reply to  David Wallace
20 days ago

David, I agree with your second sentence (as noted by Derek, that is my point). But that doesn’t imply your next two sentences.

My point is if a professor wants to support the protestors, they should do more than say the administration should let them protest. They should reorient their scholarship so it can be a more fruitful venue for raising dialogue about the issues at stake in the protest. To pass it off as an administrative issue is to pass the buck, which is ironic since the complaint by pro-protestor professors is also that the administrators are taking too much power. The economic forces which give administrators power is of course real – whether that implies they are threatening the intellectual authority of universities depends a lot on whether professors reorient their intellectual priorities.

The scholarship vs activism divide is very blurry. Is Peter Singer an activist because he translates his scholarly work into efforts at practical change? What about Dennett’s work on religion? Or Rawls’ work? Or Nozick’s reply to Rawls? If humanities professors disconnect what they are paid to do from the practical domain, it seems their work is nothing more than a fun way of talking for people who like it – which is Fish’s view, and which I take to be a reductio. Like Rorty, Fish interprets the fact that the humanities aren’t the sciences to mean they are just cute ways of talking. But there is another possibility: they are ways in which people connect the shifting fields of knowledge to the changing terrains of human life. The problem with the stereotypical activist professor isn’t the activism, but the idea that linking inquiry to action must be done with a sense of moral superiority.

David Wallace
Reply to  Bharath Vallabha
19 days ago

I agree that there is a blurry line between scholarship on matter X and trying to influence attitudes or policy on matter X. But for any given practical issue, the great bulk of scholarship is not salient to that issue – and most scholarship is not *directly* relevant to any practical issue at all. Dennett’s work on religion is indeed very tied to a form of activism, but most of his work is not. Yet nor is it “a fun way of talking for people who like it” – it’s a substantive contribution to the foundations of cognitive science and AI, aimed to (and, I’d say, successful in) influencing the development of important areas of science.

I agree that if the alternative to research of direct practical benefit is just “a fun way of talking for people who like it”, then everyone should reorientate their research to be of direct practical benefit. But I don’t think there are good arguments for accepting that view. If so, then (and this is where we came in) people whose research is *neither* of direct practical benefit, *nor* contributing to worthwhile longer-term scholarly goals, should stop doing that research. But if your research *is* of scholarly value, I don’t see why you should be under any more obligation to stop doing it and research something else – any more than, say, someone working in the tech sector is under an obligation to quit and join an NGO.

(I should say that I endorse Fish’s attitude to academic leadership, but not his Rortyesque postmodernism.)

Bharath Vallabha
Reply to  David Wallace
18 days ago

Don’t think we are disagreeing here – though we might disagree more broadly. I am not making a claim about obligations to stop doing any research, and I see such claims as unhelpful. More generally, I think it’s unhelpful to tell people what to think or how to spend their time. I also agree it’s a false contrast between direct practical benefit or fun way of talking for people who like it. That’s Fish’s contrast, not mine. Sounds like you like Fish’s punchline, but not his view or the argument he takes to get there.

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Bharath Vallabha
18 days ago

As so often with interesting thinkers, it’s possible to endorse some but not all of Fish’s views. Beyond that, I think we’re talking past each other a bit, and the recesses of this discussion thread probably aren’t the best place to find clarity! Thanks for the interesting response.

Bharath Vallabha
Reply to  David Wallace
18 days ago

Agreed. Thanks for the exchange.

JTD
JTD
23 days ago

One of the oddities of our age is that the professional managers that have taken over the running of universities show themselves so unimaginative and so insecure with their authority. They echo each other’s slogans, and they role-play leadership from behind a large desk. Even as risk and reputation managers they are a flop.

I agree with this Eric, and agree that they have badly mismanaged the current protests. However, this problem has been going on for years and has been largely ignored by academics on the left because the interference by administrators has generally catered to their side of politics. For instance, this is an example from three years ago of university administrators being “unimaginative and so insecure with their authority” and there are hundreds more like this. Indeed, part of the reason why the administrators have got themselves into the current mess is that applying a blatant double standard (we must police the innocent use of terms like “trap house” because some students might find it offensive, but chanting “from the river to the sea” is just students exercising their free speech) makes them easy fodder for politicians to ridicule and censure.

We all need to push back against these overzealous administrators who want to limit student expression. Universities should let students say things that others find offensive and tolerate, whenever feasible, them being noisy and disruptive. However, leftwing academics who have been silent about this issue in recent years but have, just now, suddenly found their voice, are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Nicolas Delon
Nicolas Delon
Reply to  JTD
23 days ago

Thank you.

Derek Bowman
Derek Bowman
Reply to  JTD
23 days ago

However, this problem has been going on for years and has been largely ignored by academics on the left because the interference by administrators has generally catered to their side of politics.”

I suspect a more likely explanation is the same combination of fear, indifference, and felt powerlessness that has prevented many of the same academics from resisting the continued erosion of faculty governance and the growth of exploitative reliance on adjuncts.

Nicolas Delon
Nicolas Delon
Reply to  Derek Bowman
22 days ago

These don’t appear to be mutually exclusive.

David Wallace
Reply to  JTD
22 days ago

Some of us have been saying so on DN and elsewhere for years, to be fair.

David Wallace
Reply to  David Wallace
19 days ago

In fact (though I’d forgotten it till just now), almost six years ago I observed that arguments used to justify suppressing supposedly-racist speech might also be used to justify suppressing criticism of Israel as anti semitic.

Last edited 19 days ago by David Wallace
Animal Symbolicum
Reply to  JTD
22 days ago

Agreed.

I wonder, though, if university leadership is not actually applying a double standard. Maybe they’re consistently applying the principle that, roughly, the customer is always right.

Louis Zapst
22 days ago

Good piece. Protesting is not a form of academic debate. Universities have an obligation towards their non-protesting majority of students who simply want to pursue their education without being obstructed. For the sake of students who simply want to go to class and are prevented from doing so, suspending or expelling violent or disruptive students is entirely appropriate. At the same time, it’s prudent and costs nothing to tolerate non-disruptive protesters whom I would rather see venting harmlessly by shouting slogans than taking direct action against those whom they imagine to be oppressing them. If people want to reasonably argue their points and convince others regarding Israel, Hamas, and Palestinians, they should organize lectures and debates about these issues. This is what I expect from a university.

Conflicted Graduate Student
Conflicted Graduate Student
22 days ago

Can someone point me to philosophers (or non-philosopher academics) currently working on the philosophy of protest/civil disobedience?

Recently, I’ve realized how overwhelmingly conflicted and cluttered my thoughts are wrt protest ethics and efficacy.

Rex2
Rex2
Reply to  Conflicted Graduate Student
22 days ago

The Delmas and Brownlee entry on Civil Disobedience in the SEP might be helpful to you.

Rex2
Rex2
Reply to  Rex2
22 days ago

I also found Olberding’s book on rudeness interesting.

Castorp
Reply to  Conflicted Graduate Student
21 days ago

I have always liked Robin Celikates’ work on this topic. E.g. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8675.12216

Conflicted Graduate Student
Conflicted Graduate Student
Reply to  Castorp
21 days ago

Thanks! I quite like his approach here.

Henry Krahn
Reply to  Conflicted Graduate Student
21 days ago

Kimberley Brownlee, Candice Delmas, Avia Pasternak, CM Lim, Ten-Herng Lai, Erin Pineda have all done great recent work on protest. For campus protest in particular, there’s a 2018 edited collection just called “Academic Freedom” edited by Jennifer Lackey that has a section with three essays that apply some ideas from the more general protest literature to issues like no-platforming. Somewhat self-servingly, these are also precisely the kind of issues my dissertation is about!

Last edited 21 days ago by Henry Krahn
Conflicted Graduate Student
Conflicted Graduate Student
Reply to  Henry Krahn
20 days ago

Thanks Henry!

Animal Symbolicum
Reply to  Conflicted Graduate Student
21 days ago

With respect to efficacy, I got a lot out of reading Zeynep Tufekci’s book, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest (Yale University Press, 2017). She’s a sociologist with lots of on-the-ground experience and investigation. From what I’ve seen of protests since the book was published, the lessons she draws there have not yet been appreciated. It is especially striking when she explains why the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 worked so well. A dark thought crosses one mind: how much do contemporary protests really mean it?

Conflicted Graduate Student
Conflicted Graduate Student
Reply to  Animal Symbolicum
20 days ago

Thanks!

This sounds like it will be a great listen (I’m a sucker for an audiobook, and was glad to see this had an audio version)