Dr. Fred Moten on problem of academic labor and "studying":

When I think now about the question or problem of academic labor, I think about it in this way: that part of what I’m interested in is how the conditions of academic labor have become not conducive to study – how the conditions under which academic laborers labor actually precludes or prevents study, makes study difficult if not impossible. When I was involved in labor organizing as a graduate student, with the Association of Graduate Student Employees at the University of California Berkeley I was frustrated with the way that sometimes graduate student investment in thinking about themselves as workers was predicated on the notion that workers don’t study. But this was more than just a romanticization of authentic work and a disavowal of our own ‘inauthenticity’ as workers. It was that our image of ourselves as academic laborers actually acceded to the ways in which the conditions of academic labor prevented study. We actually signed on to the prevention of study as a social activity even while we were engaging in, and enjoying, organizing as a social activity. It’s like we were organizing for the right to more fully embed ourselves in isolation. It never felt like we studied (in) the way we organized, and we never approached a whole bunch of other modes of study that were either too much on the surface of, or too far underneath, the university. I think we never recognized that the most insidious, vicious, brutal aspect of the conditions of our labor was that it regulated and suppressed study.

Read the complete dialogue: "Studying Through the Undercommons: Stefano Harney & Fred Moten – interviewed by Stevphen Shukaitis"


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