Today, we offer to you a must-read about the value of academia in a neoliberal age. UT American Studies Ph.D. alumnus Siva Vaidhyanathan writes on his entry into higher education and “the calling” of education. We’ve pasted an excerpt below but be sure to read the whole piece here.
I explained that I was back in school to figure out how I could learn to write books. I had bigger and different questions in my head than my current writing outlet would accommodate. And while I had no interest in being a professor—it was the family business, and I had been running from it for years—I had also spent weeks making use of the office hours of professors who had written books I admired, like Stott. I needed a road map.
“Why don’t you apply to graduate school in American studies?” Stott suggested. I listed all my excuses. But Randy Newman’s piano seemed to taunt my objections as soon as I voiced them, rendering them harmless; what chance did a mundane litany of half-formed career complaints really stand against the day’s unlikely sound track of ordinary American strivers triumphing against formidable odds? I didn’t know it at the moment, but I had answered the calling.