Monday Sep 20, 2021

Episode 82: Higher Ed is Imploding! with Asheesh Kapur Siddique

In this episode, Johanna and Nathan are joined by historian Asheesh Kapur Siddique to issue blistering critiques about how universities are full-fledged corporations whose number 1 aim is to exploit the labor of graduate students, all faculty (not just contingent ones), and athletic workers—as well as students’ loans—to earn profits.

After walking us through his research on how the British empire governed their colonies through paper and archives in the 18th century, we shift to how we are governed inhumanely by our universities: by business people and executives who often have right-wing political and capitalist interests. Asheesh details his phenomenal Teen Vogue piece from May 2021, “Campus Cancel Culture Freakouts Obscure the Power of University Boards,” about how our universities and colleges are run by Boards of Trustees filled with corporatists and not academics, from Harvard’s racist ‘Board of Overseers’ to even supposedly left-leaning Oberlin College. We discuss the people who are most vulnerable to higher ed’s corporatization especially during Covid – from graduate students and contingent faculty, to athletic laborers and even cutting permanently-employed faculty. Asheesh importantly details the huge potential impact of The Chair discourse (sarcasm), and the threats that we all face in higher education if we continue to ignore our exploitation.

During our conversation we mentioned pieces on how universities are becoming hedge funds with schools attached, and how universities diverted billions of government CARES Covid funds away from educational support to athletics.

Asheesh Kapur Siddique is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently working on his book, Rule Through Paper: Archive and Language in the Governance of the British Empire. His work has appeared in numerous academic journals, as well as Teen Vogue and The Daily Beast, Inside Higher Ed, and more.

You can find Asheesh via his website here, as well as on Twitter @AsheeshKSi.



For a transcription of this episode, please click here. (Updated semi-regularly Credit @punkademic)

Research Assistance for The End of Sport provided by Abigail Bomba.


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