Spence on Black Studies in the 21st Century


Lester Spence asks what Black Studies should be in the 21st century:

As Black Studies increasingly mimics its traditional counterparts the university itself is undergoing a process of neoliberalisation. Universities public and private are increasingly forced to rely on their endowment, with wealthy donors becoming more and more influential in shaping university agendas. What types of students universities recruit, what types of intellectual projects universities decide to take on, what type faculty the university decides to hire, becomes increasingly connected to donor desires. University faculty are expected to be more and more productive, and are expected to consistently go on the market in order to raise their profile and their salaries. The tenure track itself becomes more and more of a pipe dream, as the number of tenure track jobs decrease while the number of low paying adjunct faculty jobs increase.

The end result is that a small number of black faculty are now given the opportunity to make as much money as lawyers and wall street bankers, but are under pressure to move from place to place to place (and to consistently produce produce produce) in order to do so.

We’re now seeing a wave of black student protest that we haven’t seen since the years right before Black Studies 2.0 took hold. What might Black Studies 3.0 look like? What should it look like?

I’m coming up against my word count so I can’t go long. But instead of definitively answering this question I’ll pose a series of questions I think people interested and invested in this should ask….

Read it all: Black Studies 3.0 | Lester Spence


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