About This Blog

Like all good things, this blog started from a need. I found it too easy to have conversations about how heavy workloads and too hard to have conversations about how to have a good time. So hence the blog.

This blog offers a space for reflecting on the messed up nature of academic labor today. The half-artisanal, half-corporate nature of academic training enables universities to work PhD students far beyond what their pay grade would suggest. Yet while you hear many academics complain about how they are not getting paid enough for their labor, fewer aspire towards actually working less. This is a problem.

We work in a field where heavy work loads, sleepless nights and weekends full of reading are considered a given, and the diminished personal life, mental health issues and substance abuse that pervade academic life are seen as necessary evils. Building long reading lists and trudging through thousands of pages of reading every week is seen as a badge of honor, as being committed to the profession. This is wrong.

This blog is committed to the idea that managing workloads, reducing stress, saying ‘no’ to new commitments is not anathema to being a good academic – rather, it is a foundation. It is committed to the idea that the problem of voluntary overwork is both a political and a personal issue. So let’s have a discussion of how we got here, what we imagine a healthy academia would look like, and how to take concrete steps for improving our own working life while fighting for better working conditions for all.

This blog is informed by conversations like these:

Salon.com/AlterNet – Bring back the 40 hour work week by Sara Robinson

Jacobin Magazine – In the Name of Love by Miya Tokumitsu

Minnesota Review – We Work by Marc Bousquet

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