Stanley Fish Makes Good and Supports Academic Unions in Discussion with Walter Benn Michaels

I’m not ordinarily a fan of Stanley Fish and his editorials on The New York Times, but as he does says in his conversation with Walter Benn Michaels, we all can be wrong. I may have been too critical of Fish as he recognizes that he was wrong about the importance of unions to the university.

In the editorial, “We’re All Badgers Now,” Fish and Michaels respond to Naomi Schaefer Riley’s op-ed piece in USA Today, “Why Unions Hurt Higher Education.” They examine the reasons why unions are needed today more than ever: universities are increasingly becoming corporatized, faculty and researchers have less say in the operation of the university, and the university is increasingly made subservient to political forces rather than a place to challenge and critique all positions as part of its pedagogical mission. Perhaps more importantly, they diagram the discourse of the right that purposefully confuses job performance with academic independence, negligence with radicalism. This is recommended reading: Lessons From Wisconsin About Unions and Higher Education – NYTimes.com.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.