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Corporate SovereigntyLaw and Government under Capitalism$

Joshua Barkan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816674268

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816674268.001.0001

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The Corporate University

The Corporate University

(p.139) Chapter six The Corporate University
Corporate Sovereignty

Joshua Barkan

University of Minnesota Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the potential of the corporate university, which stands as the subjugation of reason to the dictates of neoliberal ideology and global markets. It exposes the “corporateness” that resides within the university as an institution and within intellectual inquiry, and provides a genealogical approach to corporate university as a modest response to contemporary problems. The chapter concludes with a review of the structural transformations referred to as the corporatization of the university, and the difference between legal liability and political responsibility through the works of Iris Marion Young and Hannah Arendt.

Keywords:   corporate university, neoliberal ideology, global markets, corporateness, corporatization of the university, legal liability, political responsibility, Iris Marion Young, Hannah Arendt

The preceding chapters have argued that corporate power and political sovereignty are genealogically linked and therefore unintelligible without one another, and they have explained the political implications that follow from such an argument. In particular, I have set out to demonstrate that the problem of sovereign abandonment reappears not only through the exercise of corporate power but even, and more alarmingly, in some of the best attempts to limit corporate power and redirect corporations toward more socially beneficial ends. Readers might understandably take from this the politically paralyzing notion that corporations or corporate power are somehow impervious to social control, destined to regulate life itself in particularly nefarious ways. In truth, my argument runs precisely in the other direction. Approaching corporate power genealogically shows the true tragedy of corporate sovereignty1—a tragedy inherent in the double nature of corporations as collective institutions. Although corporations continually pose questions about being in common and political autonomy, these potentialities are for the most part unrealized in the particular renderings of corporate power in modern Western political and legal thought. Nonetheless, the problems of collective action and autonomy remain internal to the articulation of sovereignty and capitalism that structures corporate institutions.

In this final chapter, I would like to show the nonnecessity of this articulation by thinking through one specific issue: the corporate university. As an academic who has spent a large portion of my life institutionalized, so to speak, in the university, current questions about the social functions and governance of universities play an outsized role in my own concerns. The claim, however, that universities are ivory towers and that what happens in these institutions is only of narrow academic interest fails to grapple with the important role of universities in contemporary political economy.2 Regional scientists and planners have examined the roles of universities (p.140) in the development of regional innovation centers, such as Silicon Valley and the Route 128 corridor in Massachusetts, which are presented as the leading edge of today’s “knowledge economy.”3 Similarly, the creation of higher education markets, transnational research collaborations, and the importing and exporting of researchers, students, and physical university assets have become important avenues by which states promote and profit from foreign direct investment.4 Scholars have also documented the use of university-led development as a strategy for industrializing states in the context of contemporary globalization.5 In the United States, public research institutions, cognizant of these changes, justify public support in the language of jobs and economic growth, while also attempting to profit from university research, on one hand, and increasing tuition, on the other.6 Students are well aware that academic credentials are a necessary precondition for entering global labor markets and are taking on unprecedented levels of indebtedness toward that end.7 Meanwhile, the sectors of for-profit and online universities are rapidly expanding, with even worse results for student finances.8 In response, universities are reemerging as one of the primary locations for political activism and opposition, as these transformations, along with more localized policies such as department closings, labor struggles, and fee increases and tuition hikes, have set off protests at universities across the United States but also in many other parts of the world.9

Contrary to the ivory tower image, then, universities already are an integral part of the world and central to new circuits of capital accumulation. Yet the connections between universities and contemporary global political economy have many activists and scholars concerned. A growing chorus has come to fret about the corporatization of the university. Rather than being a clearly articulated concept, the corporate university stands in with a series of other terms—including the neoliberal university, the military-industrial-academic complex, knowledge factories, academic capitalism, diploma mills, and the commodification or commercialization of higher education—for the ways that universities and the business world bleed into one another.10 In this sense, identifying the troubling changes confronting higher education as corporatization is accurate but also leaves underexamined the question of what corporatization actually entails. The great irony of contemporary discussions on the corporate university is that universities have always been corporations. In fact, universities are one of the primary institutions on which the legal form of incorporation is modeled. This includes not only the power of collective representation for aggregate forms of capital that characterizes modern business corporations, along with many aspects of the contemporary university, but, more (p.141) important, the claims to autonomy and freedom that make corporations so troubling for constituted political orders.

There are thus vital stakes in how we think about and engage the corporate university. This chapter offers a response to corporatization that is quite different from the current talk of “dismantling” these institutions.11 The first section begins by reviewing the structural transformations commonly referred to as the corporatization of the university. This is a large and ever-growing literature, and the central concept of “corporatization” remains somewhat ill defined. My purpose is not to provide an exhaustive empirical account of the changes across a wide variety of institutions of higher learning in different geographic settings but rather to provide a general overview of the concerns critics have associated with the corporatization of the university. Scholars have argued that corporatization is changing the institutional practices of universities as well as the content of university teaching and research. One of the notable aspects of these arguments is the way they have congealed into an interdisciplinary discussion, if not a full-blown field, of “critical university studies.”12 The second section examines the way that the corporate university and corporatization are constructed as objects of disciplinary reflection in this emergent field and advocates a different way of approaching research, thinking, and reading about the corporate university that is not interdisciplinary as much as it is antidisciplinary.

The third section considers the corporate university from an antidisciplinary perspective by examining two texts: a pamphlet written by the noted medievalist Ernst Kantorowicz (who we met in chapter 1), titled The Fundamental Issue, and Ernst Freund’s short 1897 text (which we encountered in chapter 3), The Legal Nature of Corporations. Although there are many troublesome arguments in both of these documents, I suggest that they allow us to envision an alterative formulation of the corporate university, one that is oriented not around an anticorporate capitalism (which maintains the production of capitalist value while lashing out at the corporate legal form) or a corporate anticapitalism (in which global businesses market to consumers reified inversions of their revolutionary desires) but rather an anticapitalist corporatism, where corporatism stands for an autonomous politics of being in common.13

The corporate university thesis is an account of economic restructuring. Although critics note long-standing concerns about the influence of business in university education (dating back at least to Thorstein Veblen’s (p.142) 1918 tract The Higher Learning in America), they equate the corporatization of the university with a series of macroeconomic, institutional, and ideological shifts that began in the 1970s and 1980s, primarily in U.S. public universities and, to a lesser extent, at other institutions of higher education in the Anglophone world. At its heart, then, corporatization is an Anglo-American story, with U.S. public institutions at its center. Recognizing this specificity is important, as there are certainly other dynamics reshaping universities beyond U.S. political borders or even the U.S. sphere of influence. Nevertheless, critics also suggest that the corporatization of the university, if not a global process, at least has global relevance, as the U.S. model of higher education has been exported abroad in conjunction with economic globalization, and many states now view the tertiary education sector entrepreneurially, as a critical component of national, regional, and urban development. In this way, corporatization of the university mirrors the corporate legal form itself, which came to dominate business organization in the United States and England before becoming a more globally available institutional form put to different historical and geographical uses.

The narrative of university restructuring begins with the broader transformation from Fordist industrial development and social regulation to neoliberal globalization.14 Scholars, however, pay far less attention to what the university was like in the heyday of mid-twentieth-century Fordism, as the narrative depends on establishing a dramatic rupture between past and present. This transition has been variously characterized as a “wholesale culture shift [that] is transforming everything from the way universities educate their students to the language they use to define what they do” or as a “sweeping set of economically driven changes steadily transforming academic institutions around the world from the 1980s onwards.”15 On this read, the post-World War II increases in public spending on higher education were part of the commitment by advanced industrial states to social reproduction and welfare. In the U.S. case, the state (both the federal government and individual states) supported university research, particularly research in the sciences that promised technological and military applications, but also broadened access to higher education through programs such as the 1944 Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (the GI Bill). Thomas Bender has argued that “it is difficult today to grasp the magnitude of the infusion of new funds into the university, especially the most select research universities, in the quarter-century following World War II” and notes that government funding for higher education in the United States rose from 2.2 billion dollars in 1950 to 23.4 billion dollars in 1970.16

The commitment of the state to university research and education (p.143) shaped scholarly work in a number of academic disciplines. Postwar state funding was instrumental in the development of large scientific projects, such as the Manhattan Project and the Radiation Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, many of which incorporated university research directly into the activities of government agencies.17 The funding of basic science was deeply connected with the development of weapons for the Cold War, but so, too, was research in international relations, area studies, and the social sciences more generally. We now have numerous accounts of the roles that the academic social sciences played in the Cold War and in the construction and maintenance of U.S. economic hegemony and the liberal international order.18 In my own discipline of geography, scholars have shown the tight interrelations between the academic production of geographic knowledge and both state-military and imperial projects.19 Humanities education, too, took its bearings from the nation-state. Bill Readings has described how the humanities functioned to socialize students into national culture and citizenship, with literature, in particular, tasked with educating the student, as a political subject, into the ethical development of the state.20

Scholars emphasize a turn toward corporatization in the 1970s. The fraying ideological linkage between universities and national culture was already evident in the global student protests of the late 1960s, which challenged the cultural authority of academic institutions.21 By the 1970s, policy makers in a number of advanced capitalist states, but primarily in the United States, began to alter spending priorities with regard to public education. Slaughter and Leslie have logged the sharp decreases in funding for U.S. public universities during the 1980s and 1990s, along with more moderate cuts in education spending in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. More significantly, they establish that cuts were directed at undergraduate and graduate education by eliminating block grants, which allowed universities to direct spending, and replacing them with targeted research funds. Concomitantly, the U.S. Congress’s 1972 amendment to the Higher Education Act changed the disbursement of government financial aid, shifting it away from universities and toward students in the form of grants and loans.22 Slaughter and Leslie argue that the economic pressures flowing from these policy shifts forced universities to adopt more marketoriented strategies, but they, along with many other critics, suggest that the relation between corporatization, public funding, and higher education was recursive, with spending cuts and entrepreneurial strategies for university funding reinforcing one another. Moreover, scholars connect reduction in state support to economic globalization and the development of new telecommunications technologies as other drivers of university change.23

(p.144) Whereas critics identify multiple causes of corporatization, the accounts of what constitutes it are fairly uniform. We can note at least six overlapping processes. First, corporatization is equated with universities attempting to directly market and profit from research. This is the phenomenon that Slaughter and Leslie identified as “academic capitalism.” Of course, a central justification for the importance of public research institutions has always been based on their ability to transfer technological and scientific developments to society. Contemporary university practices differ in that universities are increasingly involved directly with the commercial aspects of development, often in partnership with industry. Roger Geiger has chronicled an increase in university ties to business beginning in the 1980s in the United States. The 1980 Bayh-Dole Act granted universities ownership of patents stemming from federally funded research, and both individual states and the National Science Foundation created programs to promote collaboration between university researchers and industry. These policies established the conditions in which university patent offices, research parks, public-private partnerships, and independent research units proliferated through the 1980s and 1990s.24 David F. Noble has described the extension of the university-business nexus from research into teaching and instruction through the commodification of online education and distance learning.25 This logic culminates in the for-profit model of university education, in which universities themselves are the direct mechanisms for returning dividends to investors.

Two primary concerns are raised by the attempts to profit from university research. The first involves the potential for business ties to disrupt scholarly research. This has become a pressing issue for biomedical and biotechnology fields, in which industry funding and conflict of interest controversies have been prevalent.26 The second concern is that areas of research without direct transfers to the market go unfunded. The commodification of the university thus poses special problems for the humanities, which are increasingly asked to provide economic justification for their existence, as well as for units that take critical stances with respect to dominant institutions. A number of recent cases have highlighted the precariousness of humanities and critical research such as the closing of Middlesex University’s philosophy department, which specialized in European continental thought and critical theory; the slow institutional elimination of the heterodox economics program at the University of Notre Dame; or the shuttering of humanities departments, including French, Russian, theater, and classics, at the State University of New York, Albany.27

The second component of the corporatization of the university concerns its management along business lines. As the aforementioned cases (p.145) suggest, departments are continually evaluated for the returns they bring. These calculations are at once financial but also involve jobs, prestige, or the further development of institutional capacities. Managerial assessments depend on data, and the rise of a continual stream of audits—the tabulations of grant moneys and publications, the measuring of impact factors, quantitative student evaluations—provides administrators the information that makes managerialism possible. The result of these exercises in quantification is readily apparent in the proliferation of university rankings and research assessments that both governments and individuals use to evaluate universities. Managerialism also has gone hand in hand with the expansion of a new class of administrative professionals on campus. A 2010 report from the conservative Goldwater Institute recorded a dramatic rise in the number of administrators and the financial resources flowing into administration in U.S. universities between 1993 and 2007. Using U.S. Department of Education data, the report registered a 39 percent increase in administrative employees relative to an 18 percent increase in employees involved in teaching, research, and service. They also reported a 61 percent increase in inflation-adjusted spending on administration per student relative to a 39 percent increase on instruction.28

Third, running universities on a business model has transformed labor relations within these institutions. U.S. institutions have significantly eroded the tenure system, replacing tenured faculty with a variety of contingent workers, ranging from adjunct professors on non-tenure-eligible lines to graduate student instructors. The 2006 American Association of University Professors Contingent Faculty Index, based on U.S. Department of Education data, detailed a drop in full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty from 56.8 percent of all faculty at U.S. degree-granting institutions in 1975 to only 35.1 percent in 2003.29 Jack Schuster and Martin Finkelstein provide further documentation of this revolution in academic labor. Drawing primarily on information from the National Center for Educational Statistics, they show not only the rapid growth of contingent and casual labor but also the gendered gap in tenured appointments. Whereas women made up under one-third of tenure or tenure-track appointments in both 1992 and 1998, they made up more than half of non-tenure-track appointments in those same years.30

Marc Bousquet has demonstrated that this casualization of academic labor is not a crisis, as it is so often characterized, but rather “a smoothly functioning new system with its own easily apprehensible logic, premised entirely on the continuous replacement of degree holders with nondegreed labor.”31 Although graduate education was originally conceptualized as an apprenticeship into academic life, unionization efforts of graduate students (p.146) and contingent faculty have demonstrated that these labor processes primarily benefit universities, their administrators, and private corporations. Rather than graduating into academic appointments, the unsecured positions of these workers in flexible labor markets allow universities to profit from low wages and corporations to subsidize their employee training. Bousquet explains that this shift to casualization is not a result of glutted job markets but rather of a conscientious shift in hiring practices by university administrators, which remains unchecked by complacent and distracted faculty—or, as he pithily puts it, “we are not ‘overproducing Ph.D.s’; we are underproducing jobs.”32 In this sense, the deprofessionalization of the professoriate mirrors other processes by which the university promotes and profits from low-wage labor, including outsourcing and subcontracting much of the nonacademic work on campus.33

Fourth, labor relations are changing not only within academic institutions but also between universities, states, and global labor markets. I have already noted the ways the global “knowledge economy,” which depends on the commodification of knowledge, information, services, and communication, has put a new priority on university education as an anchor of industrial growth. Organizations such as the World Bank have focused on “knowledge” as a key element of social and economic progress and have emphasized the importance of tertiary education to the development of technical and professional workers as well as national economic survival.34 For students, then, university education is increasingly important as a gateway to employment. Even the World Bank argues that limited access to higher education poses a risk for developing countries of “being further marginalized in a highly competitive world economy.”35 Bousquet describes the ways this has turned “the student” into a distinct category of laborer, specifically designated as “not workers” and, in U.S. law, deprived of labor rights.36 Similarly, Ross Perlin has examined the role of colleges and universities in fostering the unpaid labor of students through internships that students view as necessary for securing future job prospects.37

Fifth, declining state support has encouraged not only the transfer of research to the market but also the commodification of the university itself, along with its academic credentials, as a consumer good. Branding is evident, from the glossy publications of university public relations departments to the shifting language in which students become “consumers” or “clients.” Many have examined the ways high-level collegiate athletics have reshaped the university into a commodity. Derek Bok has suggested that athletics represented the first foray into commercialization for many universities and examines the costs to both universities and student athletes for fielding highly competitive sports programs.38 Samantha King (p.147) and Sheila Slaughter studied the ways corporations seek to profit by signing “all-school contracts,” in which “companies such as Nike and Adidas endorsed entire schools rather than individual coaches or teams.”39 They also chronicle the registration of university names, logos, and mascots as trademarks and the billions in revenues these trademarks generate.40 Student and labor activists associated with the global antisweatshop movement have in turn successfully targeted the conditions of production of university apparel as a threat to university brands.41

University brands have also gone global in the construction of satellite campuses. Andrew Ross, among others, has reported on the attempts to incorporate higher education into global trade liberalization through the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).42 Although university associations from Canada, the United States, and Europe jointly opposed the inclusion of higher education in GATS, they have failed to stem the global trade of university services.43 Ross estimates the global market for trade in higher education services at between forty and fifty billion dollars and focuses on the expansion of U.S. universities abroad—what Tamar Lewin in the New York Times called “a kind of education gold rush”—best exemplified by New York University’s expansion into Abu Dhabi.44 In addition to the direct expansion of U.S. institutions internationally, Kris Olds has documented the Singaporean state’s efforts to produce a “global schoolhouse” that will attract universities, capital, and researchers from various parts of the world, while also restructuring the local economy.45 These processes of internationalization, in turn, have created new scales of regional and transnational regulation for higher education governance.46

Sixth, corporatization changes the content of university education. Undergraduate courses in business management and professional master in business administration (MBA) degrees have expanded rapidly since the 1960s, both in terms of total numbers of programs and the countries offering credentials. Business schools and MBA programs were late arrivers to the modern university, appearing formally within university curricula only in the first decades of the twentieth century.47 Hyeyoung Moon and Christine Min Wotipka report dramatic growth in the number of countries offering professional managerial education from approximately fifty countries in the late 1970s to more than one hundred by the end of the 1990s. Moreover, they argue that roughly 14 percent of university students worldwide were enrolled in business or administration programs by the end of the 1990s, surpassing enrollments in traditional disciplines, including humanities, law, natural sciences, and engineering.48

Corporatization also changes the content of university research and (p.148) teaching in less direct ways. For instance, Bill Readings has emphasized a shift from the University of National Culture to the University of Excellence. Whereas the disciplinary formations that emerged in the ninetiethcentury German research university were directed at fostering the ethical development of the nation-state, Readings argued that the corporate university has at its center an abstract concept of “excellence” divorced from specific content. As a sign lacking any concrete referent, “excellence” can function as a simple unit of accounting and administration to which all work in the university can be directed. This in turn indicates that “excellence is not a fixed standard of judgment but a qualifier whose meaning is fixed in relation to something else.”49 Metrics, rankings, and assessments function as the “something else” to which excellence refers. Readings also shows the illogic and arbitrary nature of these comparisons, as excellence “allows the combination on a single scale of such utterly heterogeneous features as finances and the make-up of the student body.”50 Thus the only real function of excellence is that it allows the formation of gradations between and within institutions necessary for consumers to make decisions; as Readings puts it, “henceforth, the question of the University is only the question of relative value-for-money.”51

Critically, excellence eliminates other, more substantive grounds for valuing what universities do or the quality of scholarly work, allowing any type of research to proliferate as long as it can be understood as excellent in the sense of its efficiency, cost-benefit analysis, or input-output ratios. Readings gives a concrete example of this in the enthusiasm for interdisciplinary programs. What makes this argument so trenchant is that interdisciplinary programs, including and especially cultural studies, have been institutional locations where critical or radical scholarship has thrived, and many critical scholars note the importance of interdisciplinarity for a critique of existing social relations. In contrast, Readings argues that the institutional commitment to interdisciplinarity is directly related to its lack of political orientation and the pressures it puts on existing disciplinary structures. Thus interdisciplinary programs offer “increased flexibility” that is “attractive to administrators as a way of overcoming entrenched practices of demarcation, ancient privileges, and fiefdoms in the university.”52 In this manner, interdisciplinarity makes existing units seem less than cutting edge. It also economizes research agendas, using the same resources as traditional disciplines but now speaking to multiple audiences. Readings worries that soon interdisciplinary departments “will be installed in order to replace clusters of disciplines,” and indeed, others have made interdisciplinarity central to university reform.53

What, then, are the alternatives provided by critics of corporatization? (p.149) Given the scope of issues that fall under general discussions of the corporate university, responses are quite varied. Because so much of the corporatization argument is focused on U.S. institutions, some propose specific changes to U.S. law. For instance, Jennifer Washburn suggests a quartet of reforms by the U.S. federal government that include limiting the scope of the Bayh-Dole Act, strengthening federal oversight of technology transfer, and instituting more rigorous conflict of interest laws.54 Other legal reforms reach further. For instance, Adolph Reed Jr. has argued for federally funded free higher education modeled on the GI Bill.55 Jeffrey Williams has echoed this claim, while also proposing other measures, such as “income contingent loans,” to address the growing problem of student debt.56 Another set of recommendations focuses on the structure of universities themselves, along with changes to curriculum, administration, and governance. Aronowitz advocates for separating higher learning from vocational goals by replacing centralized, bureaucratic administration with active faculty and student governance and eliminating narrow specialization for an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on critical engagements with history, literature, science, and philosophy.57 Much of the scholarship on the corporate university, however, emerged out of concrete struggles on campuses and looks to social movement activism—unionization efforts and workplace politics, on one side, and the tradition of student movements, on the other—to combat corporatization.58 In some cases, these projects have been incorporated into broader autonomous political movements that seek to use the university as a location for proliferating new forms of social organization not captured by the corporate structure of the university.59

Antidisciplinarity in the Corporate University

The corporate university literature is vital to the struggles around the university as a place of work, research, teaching, and study and usefully demonstrates the university’s centrality to the political and economic transformations of our age, primarily in the United States but increasingly globally as well. In addition to documenting important shifts in university policies and practices, there is much that is persuasive about the corporate university thesis itself, and personally, I am in solidarity with projects that seek to transform the conditions of work and politics on university campuses. That said, there is something strange about the ways in which corporations appear in these accounts as synonymous with business, and corporatization is presented as a radical change in the functioning of academic institutions. If, as Jeffrey Williams recently suggested in the Chronicle of (p.150) Higher Education, we are witnessing the emergence of a new interdisciplinary field of “critical university studies” that is not only scholarly but organically connected to the struggles over the precariousness of graduate student and adjunct labor, might it be useful to think carefully through the relations between corporations and universities that ostensibly constitute this new interdisciplinary domain’s object of scholarly and political attention?60 Moreover, because Williams suggests that it is corporateness (“the vast octopus of contemporary higher education”61) that distinguishes the university in the global present from its mom-and-pop predecessors, shouldn’t we then clarify what it is about corporateness that leads us toward such an institutional monstrosity?

To do so, however, compels us to consider how disciplines form in relation to the objects they study. In the introduction, I discussed dominant approaches to corporations in fields such as economics, history, and political science. My purpose was to outline the ways these disciplines misrecognize corporate sovereignty precisely because of the way corporations appear as objects of disciplinary reflection. More specifically, I suggested that the problematics structuring these disciplines are constituted through a series of spatial and conceptual oppositions—between economics and politics, property and sovereignty, global capitalism and national states—that distort our understanding of the fundamental relationship between corporate capitalism and sovereign power, which I’ve termed corporate sovereignty. This misrecognition, however, is not the result of bad interpretation or inadequate social science; rather, it is symptomatic of the institutional conditions by which these disciplines come into being. Moreover, this is true not only of the relatively conservative fields of mainstream economics and political science but also of critical scholarship, including radical approaches to corporate power and, even, critical studies of the corporate university.

We can understand this relation by turning to John Mowitt’s powerful analysis of the emergence of “text” as an object of disciplinary reflection across the humanities and the social sciences. Of course, Mowitt was not writing about corporations or corporate power but rather about the object—“the text”—that emerged through what has variously been called the postfoundationalist, postmodern, or poststructuralist critique of culture. Nevertheless, his account explains the processes by which disciplines encounter their objects of study in ways that are helpful for understanding the interdisciplinary critique of the corporate university. Central to his argument is Roland Barthes’s 1971 agenda-setting essay “From Work to Text.” In that essay, Barthes examined how changing conceptions of language had displaced traditional concerns with literary works and (p.151) inaugurated “the text” as a new object of disciplinary reflection in literary studies but also in linguistics, anthropology, Marxism, and psychoanalysis. Outlining a series of “propositions” associated with the text, Barthes glossed many of the themes now associated with poststructuralism: (1) texts are not objects but methodological fields; (2) texts disrupt literary classification; (3) the symbolic meanings of texts are infinitely deferred; (4) texts, though composed of familiar codes, produce heterogeneous meanings; (5) texts shun authorial intent for networked exchanges; (6) texts connect writer, reader, and critic in a cycle, not of production and consumption, but of play; and (7) texts are “bound to jouissance, that is a pleasure without separation.” As such, texts allow us to experience not the domination of one language over another but the circulation of languages in the infinite exchange of meaning.62

All of this, today, seems familiar. But Mowitt explains that Barthes came to focus on “the text” as a new object of study (with all of the complexity that poststructuralist considerations of textuality imply) not because of his own innate brilliance. Nor did scholars start writing about “the text” because of a simple transformation in the social relations of capitalism or in the mode of production of cultural objects. Rather, Mowitt argues that the emergence of the text was conditioned by and dependent on a crisis in the university and the academic disciplines. Barthes had already grasped this crisis, suggesting that the text

comes not necessarily from the internal recasting of each of these disciplines, but rather from their encounter in relation to an object which traditionally is the province of none of them. It is indeed as though the interdisciplinarity which is today held up as a prime value in research cannot be accomplished by the simple confrontation of specialist branches of knowledge. Interdisciplinarity is not the calm of an easy security; it begins effectively (as opposed to the mere expression of a pious wish) when the solidarity of the old disciplines breaks down—perhaps even violently, via the jolts of fashion—in the interests of a new object and a new language neither of which has a place in the field of the sciences that were to be brought peacefully together.63

This focus on the crisis in the disciplines distinguished Barthes’s and Mowitt’s analyses from Marxist criticism of postmodernism, which treated the rise of textual approaches as symptomatic of the changing relations between the economic base and the cultural superstructure.64 For Mowitt, however, the crisis in disciplinary knowledge represented by the text (p.152) indexed broader transformations in disciplinary power and the particular ways those transformations were taken up in the academic disciplines.

How so? Mowitt turned to Foucault’s notion that disciplines produce “docile bodies,” human agents that are “empowered within a particular yet restricted mode of production.”65 Docile bodies were also objects of academic study, central to the rise of academic disciplines, as they served as the basic material from which objective knowledge about humans and their social relations could be produced. To ground objective knowledge, these agents had to achieve a type of normalized behavior predicated on the very techniques of disciplinary control Foucault attempted to chart. Thus the objective information gathered by the disciplines through practices such as “examination” presupposed “a certain saturation of society by disciplinary power.”66 The formation of academic disciplines and their ability to study discrete elements of social existence (such as economics, politics, history, law, or geography) required, as a precondition, disciplinary power to produce a society of individuals who understand themselves, their interrelations, their social order, and their power in specific and stable ways, corresponding to these divisions.

This leads Mowitt to two brilliant claims that are relevant to our discussion. First, to the extent that academic disciplines are predicated on disciplinary power, interdisciplinarity is already inherent in the objects we study. As a type of critique, interdisciplinarity, by itself, is insufficient as “rearranging disciplinary boundaries means little if this rearrangement is not understood to have consequences for the structure of disciplinary power within society at large.”67 In other words, the type of interdisciplinary scholarship that aims to get a better account of its objects by adding disciplines (in the sense that understanding the corporate university requires not only economics but also law, sociology, geography, and cultural studies or anthropology) simply reiterates that the objects of the world are inherently plural (that, say, “the economy” is also “political” and “cultural”). While important, Mowitt argues that critical scholarship must also grasp the manner in which this inherent plurality has been repressed by the very historical formations of knowledge and power that were designed to apprehend them. Mowitt calls for an antidisciplinary critique that exposes and disrupts the links between disciplinary power, academic disciplines, and their objects.

Mowitt’s second radical proposition follows from the first. Disciplines, or more properly, adherents to disciplines (whom Mowitt calls “disciples”) evince a defense mechanism around their objects of inquiry. Engaging René Girard’s writing on the sacrificial logic of mimetic desire, Mowitt argues that though the object of disciplinary reflection originally brings disciples (p.153) together and mediates their exchanges, eventually the antagonisms between members of the group overtake the focus on the object. Disciplines restore order and constitute themselves by regulating the scope of these conflicts. They do so, following Girard, by collectively designating a “scapegoat” on which disciplinary antagonisms can be displaced. The elimination or exile of the scapegoat establishes both the sacred nature of the disciplinary object and the prohibition preventing future acts of violence within the community. Disciplinary identity comes into being through misrecognizing the interdisciplinary nature of its objects, which are displaced, eliminated, and made sacred. For this reason, Mowitt claimed that “disciplines are structured by their immanent resistance to that which they claim to know.”68 More strongly, “disciplines cannot know what they claim to know, and what substitutes for this lack of knowledge is a bureaucratically articulated policing of fidelity.”69

Universitas Magistrorum et Scholarium

If disciplines form around a denial of what they claim to know, what is it about the corporate university that has been blocked but also spurs the accumulation of disciplinary knowledge in critical university studies? How does the failure to come to terms with this dynamic shape subsequent research on corporatization as well as our engagements with corporate power and the corporate university? My central claim is that the corporate university thesis misrecognizes the corporateness that is at the core of what is most important about the university, namely, the possibilities it fosters for collective practices of critical thought and action. In this sense, we see the doubling of corporate sovereignty once again. Critical university studies attempt to excise the corporation from the heart of the university. In doing so, they challenge the exploitation of students and academic laborers by universities, along with the global labor markets with which they conspire, while also saving and restoring the concept of higher learning as a pure (one might even say sacred) object. Antidisciplinary critique reveals, however, that the very thing we oppose and seek to destroy is the same as our academic freedom and autonomy. Furthermore, antidisciplinarity offers a different position, not one that is for or against the corporate university but one that reiterates the corporate foundations of the university in terms that are unassimilable to the current politics of corporatization.

Such a critique involves radicalizing other elements in the history of the corporate university. Whereas today’s corporate university is founded in the articulation between corporations and capitalist value, we might mobilize different moments in the genealogy of the corporation as a (p.154) mechanism for countering this conjuncture. Ernst Kantorowicz provides another model of the corporate university directly at odds with contemporary corporatization in his 1950 pamphlet The Fundamental Issue.70 Kantorowicz wrote the forty-page, self-published pamphlet as part of his opposition to the anticommunist loyalty oath issued by the University of California (UC) regents during the red scare of the 1940s and 1950s. UC president Robert G. Sproul first proposed the oath to the regents in March 1949, who unanimously adopted the proposal. By June of that year, Kantorowicz had emerged as a leading opposition figure to signing the oath.71 During fall and winter 1949, the Academic Senate negotiated with the regents to support anticommunism while weakening any obligation with respect to the oath. By February 1950, the Board of Regents had adopted a more aggressive policy under the leadership of regent John Francis Neylan, in which any faculty member who had not signed the loyalty oath by June 30, 1950, would be fired.72 Dismissals began in spring 1950, with first 6 and then 157 professors being terminated. By August, the remaining 31 faculty members who had refused to sign were fired.73 Kantorowicz, who never signed the oath, took a visiting position at Harvard during the 1950–51 academic year, publishing The Fundamental Issue in October. Although the text was not widely available during the controversy, it circulated within the UC community, falling into the hands of both faculty and regents.74 The pamphlet included a variety of university documents such as forms for appointment, salary, and tenure; two letters, from Kantorowicz and an art professor named Walter Horn, written to President Sproul; a proposed legislative bill on academic freedom; and a copy of the public statement that Kantorowicz made to the Northern Section of the UC Academic Senate in June 1949, at the beginning of the faculty mobilization. The crux of the text is a section of “marginal notes” that constitute a stinging critique of the content and logic of the loyalty oath, while also offering Kantorowicz’s assessment of the essential aspects of the university.

It might seem odd that Kantorowicz was so vehemently opposed to the loyalty oath, much less that there would be something in the writings of an avowedly conservative, if not reactionary, historian that would be potentially useful for progressive reform. A German immigrant, Kantorowicz volunteered for military service in 1914 and fought for the kaiser in World War I. After the war, he joined the right-wing Freikorps and served in the bloody repression of the Sparticist Revolt in Berlin in January 1919. Later that year, Kantorowicz moved to Munich, where he also participated in the Freikorps’s attack on and defeat of the Munich Republic of Councils. In the 1920s, as Kantorowicz was beginning his scholarly career, (p.155) he became associated with the intellectual circle around the conservative romantic nationalist Stefan George. His scholarly work, at least initially, also partook of romantic German nationalism, with his first book being a lyrical biography lauding Frederick II, before turning to more critical examinations of the mystical foundations of the state and the sempiternal nature of political sovereignty later in his career.75 But if Kantorowicz was, in his own words, “genuinely conservative and never have been taken for anything else,”76 he was also an expert in the legal history and symbology of corporate institutions as well as a Jewish exile from the biopolitical totalitarianism of the Nazis. The Fundamental Issue weaved together these two personal and intellectual preoccupations of Kantorowicz—the history of corporate institutions and concerns over totalitarianism—as the basis of a critique of the loyalty oath.

In the somewhat scattershot format of the marginal notes, Kantorowicz attacks almost every argument of the regents for the oath. He contended that the oath did nothing to stem communism on UC campuses, was unconstitutional, and was politically motivated. Yet his central concern was establishing that the regents had no grounds to compel the faculty to sign the oath and that the oath constituted an attack on the traditional prerogatives of academic freedom, tenure, and faculty governance. Within the context of McCarthyism, many saw loyalty oaths as infringements on academic freedom, but Kantorowicz’s defense of that concept was distinct in that he rooted academic freedom in the corporate structure of the university. Kantorowicz explained that universities are corporations of professors and students:

According to the oldest definitions, which run back to the thirteenth century, “The University” is the universitas magistrorum et scholarium, “The Body Corporate of Masters and Students.” Teachers and students together are the University regardless of the existence of gardens and buildings, or care-takers of gardens and buildings. One can envisage a university without a single gardener or janitor, without a single secretary, and even—a bewitching mirage—without a single Regent. The constant essence of a university is always the body of teachers and students.77

The corporate nature of the university established its autonomy, as professors were only responsible, at least in their capacity as professors, to “the body corporate which they served, the University.”78 This fact distinguished the corporate university from the business corporation, the professor from the employee, and the regent from the boss.

(p.156) To be sure, Kantorowicz’s defense of the university was a conservative and elitist defense of a medieval institution. The university was a gendered space of privilege. Repeatedly, throughout the text, he draws a sharp distinction between the professoriate—members of the autonomous and self-governing corporate body held in public trust—and janitors and gardeners as simple employees. Moreover, the distinction is directly linked to the nature of work: “the janitor is paid by the hour. He has his shift during which he is held to perform certain well described duties. His work is clearly defined and definable. Once he has performed his daily duties and has left off work he is a completely free man. Additional work is neither expected nor demanded, except by special agreement and with special pay.”79 But the professor has ill-defined and limited duties. Professorial work is independent of supervision, and—at least in Kantorowicz’s idealized vision—professors are left to their own devices. “It is left to him how much time and energy he puts into his committee work, into his conferences with students, or into the aggrandizement of his university’s library. In short, it is entirely up to him how much of his life, of his private life, he is wiling to dedicate to the University to which he belongs and which he, too, constitutes.”80 For these reasons, professors have tenure instead of employee unions. Whereas unions represent employees’ interests against the countervailing interests of owners or management, tenure is a right of corporate self-government.

Kantorowicz framed the ends to which such self-government is directed in similarly conservative fashion, linking the prerogatives of the professoriate with those of other pillars of the social order, priests and judges, which constitute the “three professions … entitled to wear a gown.”81 In his 1949 statement, he suggested, “The garment stands for the bearer’s maturity of mind, his independence of judgment, and his direct responsibility to his conscience and to his God. It signifies the inner sovereignty of those three interrelated professions.”82 These, of course, are the individuals who serve the major corporate institutions of Western society: the professor and the universities, the priest and the church, the judge and the state. In each case, these individuals are entrusted with the responsibility of guiding these corporate bodies as the result of being disciples, welldisciplined subjects of the corporate sovereigns they serve. For the judge, this is training in the discipline of law; for the priest, it is the taking of vows and the submission to God as well as incorporation into religious orders. But what is it for the scholar?

Kantorowicz emphatically states, “It is purely a matter of Passion, of Love, and of Conscience.”83 He goes on to communicate the incommensurability between academic work, governed by these drives and desires, (p.157) and the market for labor. “You can buy labor, but you cannot buy Passion and Love nor the scholarly Conscience. For once there is something that is not marketable, and the poorly informed Regents should know that by trying to make our conscience venal they kill our passion and love for our institutions because we cease to be one with it.”84 And this, we can assume, is why the CEO wears no gown. Precisely because the academic enterprise involves a corporate form of life that cannot be qualified in terms of a singular metric of capitalist value, the corporate university resists any specific determination. The university, by definition, is a corporate body that must remain open and free.

Thus, despite Kantorowicz’s conservatism, he articulates a radical critique of the capitalist logics of the university and the attempt to govern life through labor and value, as well as outlining a form of being in common directed by the indefinable pursuit of passion, love, and scholarly conscience. “Through the sheer existence of this conscience, which is undefined and undefinable, the scholar ceases also to be an ‘employee’ of the Regents in any sense whatsoever of business language.”85 The university’s categories are incomprehensible to the systems of capital accumulation. Serving a corporate body in this manner is not a function for which one can be paid a wage. It even resists the social ordering by “Time in general” that makes value and wages possible.86 Kantorowicz could not be clearer that the regents’ conflation of the corporate university with a business corporation “ruined, together with the academic profession, also the University!”87 Finally, it was this attempt by the regents to “save the University” by destroying its essence—“to dismiss a scholar for the very conscience which makes him a scholar”—that linked, in Kantorowicz’s mind, the institution of the oath with totalitarianism.88 The loyalty oath represented a kind of immunitary disease in which the salvation of the corporate body of the university came at the expense of what made it distinct and important to begin with.

Kantorowicz’s trenchant attack of the loyalty oath shows the complete noncorrespondence between a common enterprise driven by love, passion, and scholarly conscience and one driven by business, wages, and employee relations. Kantorowicz, however, was not the only scholar of corporate sovereignty to acknowledge the affective and collective undergirding of corporate power. Ernst Freund, whose book The Legal Nature of Corporations was responsible for bringing German ideas of corporate personhood into Anglo-American legal debates, also recognized the noncapitalist origins of corporate being in common. Recall that Freund’s theory of corporate personhood was linked to the ability to accomplish some end. For Freund, the desire to undertake tasks that could only be done (p.158) collectively constituted a corporate “will” independent of the individuals who composed the corporation. In chapter 3, I noted Freund’s example of such ends to which the corporate will might be directed: science and art. Freund also presented “the cause of religion, charity, and education” as “abstract interests” that required collective effort.89 In the same way that Kantorowicz linked the rights of tenure to the love of scholarship, Freund linked the “rights held by a museum or a library, by a hospital or by a college”90 to the collective interests of “humanity and civilization.”91 Thus, for Freund, like Kantorowicz, it was the collective or corporate pursuit of such lofty goals as science, art, love, passion, conscience, humanity, and education that grounded the worldly rights of universities, among other institutions, and their denizens. More important, these abstract interests, which for Freund certainly represented the apex of human achievement, were unique in that they could not be achieved by individuals alone, working in isolation. They required corporate being in common.

Here we might find resources for wrenching this vision of the corporate university away from some of the conservatism subtending Kantorowicz’s formulation. First, this corporate enterprise is inconceivable in terms of capitalist business, organizing life around the production and circulation of socially necessary value. It is also quite different from the corporate political body of the Hobbesian state, a political theological personification that stands outside of the order it constitutes, much less the totalitarian mutations that led to Nazi corporatism. As with all corporations, for Kantorowicz, the corporate body of the university depended on a certain economy or wise superintendence that it itself, as a corporate institution, was in charge of cultivating. This, of course, is always what universities, as police or disciplinary institutions, have done. Kantorowicz bristled at the imposition of rules and laws by regents who thought they were employers, but he surely did not see the university as a lawless place. Its rules, customs, and protocols were ancient, given by the traditions of scholarship and its customary rites. It was all of this regulation that enabled the well-disciplined scholar to lead a scholarly life, directed by affects of love, passion, and conscience and aimed at furthering scholarship, its institutional structure in the university, and its ennobling ideas of light and truth.92

We should ask, however, if it is only scholars who can cultivate love, passion, and conscience directed at promoting a distinct form of being in common. In what ways do janitors and secretaries, gardeners, and even regents hold potential for contributing to a collective project along these lines? And what about the miserable sectors? Are they similarly without love, passion, and conscience? What could constitute an affirmative (p.159) biopolitics at the center of the university that could allow these dispositions to proliferate?

At the end of the last chapter, I examined the difference between legal liability and political responsibility in the work of Iris Marion Young and Hannah Arendt. Moreover, I noted that political responsibility was always directed to the world and must engage and address the paradox of what Arendt called the vicariously innocent. What would it mean to suggest the university as a physical space directed toward political responsibility to the world? What would it mean to offer this, what we might call a corporate love of the world (including a corporate love of and by the vicariously innocent), as the raison d’être of the university? What makes political responsibility to the world, in my estimation, a more useful organizing concept than Kantorowicz’s scholarly love, passion, and conscience is that the world and our political responsibility to it are antidisciplinary objects par excellence. To think through how one not only conceptualizes but also enacts a political responsibility to the world is exactly the type of undefined and indefinable task that compels corporate organization on the basis of love, passion, and conscience, while simultaneously resisting our attempts to answer the question through narrow disciplinary frameworks. The persistence of this indefinable and inexhaustible undertaking distinguishes a progressive vision of the corporate university from the horrors of the business corporation and its biopolitical economy of value as well as the totalitarian state, with its biopolitical logics of race and nation. It is also this inexhaustibility that requires not a narrowly defined scholarly community but an open (and raucous) exchange between the university and the world.

One might justifiably argue that such a program for countering the contemporary corporatization of the university is utopian and idealist, as detached from the practical requirements of running actually existing universities as it is from the daily lives and concerns of the gardeners, janitors, and secretaries Kantorowicz excluded from the corporate body of scholars as well as the graduate students and contingent faculty that critics of the corporate university are attempting to organize. My response is twofold. On the utopian aspect of these claims, such ways of collective being are already internal to the institutions that we inhabit and that govern our lives. As this book has attempted to demonstrate, corporate institutions are complex, ambiguous, and multifaceted. As troubling as the corporate nature of the university is today, corporateness is also the very condition of possibility for the historical emergence of the university. If this genealogical and antidisciplinary critique of the corporation has any merit, it is precisely in allowing us to recognize this unrealized (p.160) potentiality and to open space for intervening in the current political conjuncture by realizing not an anticorporate university but a different corporate university.

As for the argument that the proper approach to today’s “knowledge factories” is to incorporate the language and politics of labor militancy into the workplace, I argue that such politics are necessary but not sufficient for radical transformation. It is certainly necessary to peel back the fetishism of higher education as a global commodity, as critics of corporatization have done, and reveal the conditions of production and exploitation in these institutions. If we are really headed toward a complete blurring in which business corporations become universities (think the Google or Microsoft campuses) and universities become businesses, organizing workers as workers and attempting to collectively transform the production process and the distribution of benefits garnered by these institutions is paramount. But we should also recognize that such politics implies accepting the language and identity given to us by our role in this production system. What do we ultimately achieve if we get what we want as laborers in the corporate university? We get not an open space of critical reflection or a new form of collectivity but rather capitalism’s own unfulfilled and unfulfillable promise of the good life: a fair wage for a day’s work. This falls far short of the possibilities present in the corporate university, asking us to abandon collective projects fostered through the love, passion, and consciousness of a community directed toward whatever ends for the solidarity derived from our position as exploited workers in a capitalist system.

An alternative would be to critique and challenge this system as a system of labor exploitation rooted in channeling life toward capitalist value that cannot deal with the inexhaustible collective projects of love, passion, conscience, and responsibility. Whereas the first set of struggles might possibly lead to redistribution of social goods or, even, an evolution from the capitalist to the socialist university, the second attempts to liberate the university as a space in which life could become otherwise in processes not determined by the logics of capitalist accumulation. Echoing Moishe Postone, we could say that the first politics is a critique of the corporate university from the standpoint of labor, whereas the second is a critique of labor in the corporate-capitalist university.93 My point in this chapter is that the genealogy of the corporate university has resources toward that end. The corporate university emphasizes not the fact that, today, universities are factories but rather that, at their core, universities are collectivities completely and totally distinct from the logics of capitalist accumulation. It allows us to think about the ways capitalism has captured these institutions and transformed them in its own image.


(1.) On the tragic qualities of political thought and the nonnecessity of political domination, see Adam Sitze, editor’s introduction to Galli, Political Spaces and Global War.

(2.) See Rich Heyman’s destruction of the idea that politics only occurs outside of institutions of higher education in “‘Who’s Going to Man the Factories and Be the Sexual Slaves If We All Get PhDs?’ Democratizing Knowledge Production, Pedagogy, and the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute,” Antipode 39, no. 1 (2007): 99–120.

(3.) Ann Markusen, Peter Hall, and Amy Glasmeier, High Tech America: The What, How, Where, and Why of the Sunrise Industries (Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1986); Anna Lee Saxenian, Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994); Henry Etzkowitz and Loet Leydesdorff, eds., Universities and the Global Knowledge Economy: A Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations (London: Pinter, 1997); John Dunning, ed., Regions, Globalization, and the Knowledge-Based Economy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

(4.) Susan Robertson, “‘Europe/Asia’ Regionalism, Higher Education, and the Production of World Order,” Policy Futures in Education 6, no. 6 (2008): 718–28.

(5.) Kris Olds, “Global Assemblage: Singapore, Foreign Universities, and the Construction of a ‘Global Education Hub,’” World Development 35, no. 6 (2007): 959–75; Kris Olds and Nigel Thrift, “Cultures on the Brink: Reengineering the Soul of Capitalism—on a Global Scale,” in Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems, ed. A. Ong and S. Collier, 270–90 (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005); Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, Universities and the Global Knowledge Economy.

(6.) See Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades, Academic Capitalism and the New Economy: Markets, State, and Higher Education (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

(7.) Jeffery Williams reported in 2006 that over half of the students attending college in the United States take out student loans and has documented the staggering and ever-growing levels of indebtedness for U.S. students. See “Debt Education: Bad for the Young, Bad for America,” Dissent 53, no. 3 (2006): 53–59.

(8.) Robin Wilson, “For-Profit Colleges Change Higher Education’s Landscape,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 7, 2010; Sandy Baum, “Drowning in Debt: Financial Outcomes of Students at For-Profit Colleges,” testimony to (p.215) the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, June 7, 2011,http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Baum.pdf.

(9.) Although it is not a comprehensive account of a singular global movement (and does not purport to be), one can get some sense of the scope of the diverse and heterogeneous contemporary struggles around the university in Edu-factory Collective, ed., Toward a Global Autonomous University: Cognitive Labor, the Production of Knowledge, and Exodus from the Education Factory (New York: Autonomedia, 2009).

(10.) This is a large literature, but see Bill Readings, The University in Ruins (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996); Sheila Slaughter and Larry Leslie, Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies, and the Entrepreneurial University (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997); Wesley Shumar, College for Sale: A Critique of the Commodification of Higher Education (London: Falmer Press, 1997); Stanley Aronowitz, The Knowledge Factory: Dismantling the Corporate University and Creating True Higher Learning (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000); David F. Noble, Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001); Derek Bok, Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003); Slaughter and Rhoades, Academic Capitalism and the New Economy; Jennifer Washburn, University, Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education (New York: Basic Books, 2005); Henry Giroux, The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm, 2007); Frank Donoghue, The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008); Marc Bousquet, How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation (New York: New York University Press, 2008); Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008); and Ellen Schrecker, The Lost Soul of Higher Education: Corporatization, the Assault on Academic Freedom, and the End of the American University (New York: New Press, 2010). Among geographers, see Katharyne Mitchell, “Scholarship Means Dollarship, or, Money in the Bank Is the Best Tenure,” Environment and Planning A 31, no. 3 (1999): 381–88, and Mitchell, “The Value of Academic Labor: What the Market Has Wrought,” Environment and Planning A 32, no. 10 (2000): 1713–18, as well as the special edition of Antipode 32, no. 3 (2000) on the corporatization of the university.

(11.) Aronowitz, Knowledge Factory.

(12.) Jeffrey Williams, “Deconstructing Academe: The Birth of Critical University Studies,” Chronicle of Higher Education: The Chronicle Review, February 19, 2012.

(13.) On reification, see Fredric Jameson, “Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture,” Social Text 1 (1979): 130–48. I thank Adam Sitze for suggesting this formulation.

(14.) Mitchell, “Scholarship Means Dollarship,” 384.

(15.) Washburn, University, Inc., ix; Noel Castree and Matthew Sparke, “Professional Geography and the Corporatization of the University: Experiences, Evaluations, and Engagements,” Antipode 32, no. 3 (2000): 222.

(16.) Thomas Bender, “Politics, Intellect, and the American University, 1945–1995,” in Bender and Schorske, American Academic Culture in Transformation, 23, 17.

(17.) Roger Geiger, Research and Relevant Knowledge: American Research Universities since World War Two (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). Of course, big science in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s also had ties with the research and development arms of large corporations. Places like Bell Laboratories attracted top scientists, while many of the national scientific laboratories were run on contracts sponsored by corporations. DuPont and Monsanto both ran contracts at the Clinton Laboratories in Tennessee during the 1940s, and Union Carbide held contracts for running its successor institution, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, during the 1950s and 1960s. A chronology of these contracts is available at http://www.ornl.gov/ornlhome/contractors.shtml.

(18.) For general summaries of the political and economic contexts of academic research in relation to the Cold War, see Noam Chomsky, Ira Katznelson, R. C. Lewontin, David Montgomery, Laura Nader, Richard Ohmann, Ray Siever, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Howard Zinn, The Cold War and the Universities (New York: New Press, 1997).

(19.) Trevor Barnes, “Geography’s Underworld: The Military-Industrial Complex, Mathematical Modeling, and the Quantitative Revolution,” Geoforum 39, no. 1 (2008): 3–16; Trevor Barnes and Matthew Farish, “Between Regions: Science, Militarism, and American Geography from World War to Cold War,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 96, no. 4 (2006): 807–26; Neil Smith, American Empire: Roosevelt’s Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

(20.) Readings, University in Ruins, as well as David W. Noble, Death of a Nation: American Culture and the End of Exceptionalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).

(21.) Although, to be clear, what constituted that “cultural authority” was different in different national educational systems. On this point generally, see Reading, “The Time of Study: 1968,” in University in Ruins, 135–49.

(22.) Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades, Academic Capitalism and the New Economy, 35; Roger Geiger, Knowledge and Money: Research Universities and the Paradox of the Marketplace (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2004), 22.

(23.) Here, too, these arguments focus on both structural and ideological causes. For instance, Mitchell, Slaughter and Leslie, and Slaughter and Rhoades emphasized the transformation of institutional capacities flowing from technological change and global political economy as shaping the corporatization of the university but also processes in which universities play an important role. Readings, however, presents the corporation of the university in much more politico-ideological terms: (p.217) “since the nation-state is no longer the primary instance of the reproduction of global capitals, ‘culture’—as the symbolic and political counterpart to the project of integration pursued by the nation-state—has lost its purchase. The nation-state and the modern notion of culture arose together, and they are, I argue, ceasing to be essential to an increasingly transnational global economy.” Readings, University in Ruins, 12.

(24.) See Geiger, Knowledge and Money, esp. chapters 4 and 5, and Geiger, “Organized Research Units—Their Role in the Development of University Research,” Journal of Higher Education 61, no. 1 (1990): 1–19.

(25.) Noble, Digital Diploma Mills.

(26.) On the scope of industry influence in medical research and education, see Bernard Lo and Marilyn Field, eds., Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2009). On notable controversies, see Eyal Press and Jennifer Washburn, “The Kept University,” Atlantic Monthly 285, no. 3 (2000): 39–54, and Alan Rudy et al., Universities in the Age of Corporate Science: The UC Berkeley-Novartis Controversy (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007).

(27.) Materials chronicling the conflict over Middlesex’s philosophy department are available at http://savemdxphil.com/. See also David Glenn, “Notre Dame Plans to Dissolve the ‘Heterodox’ Side of Its Split Economics Department,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 16, 2009,http://chronicle.com/article/Notre-Dame-to-Dissolve/48460; Scott Jaschik, “Disappearing Languages at Albany,” Inside Higher Ed, October 4, 2010,http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/10/04/albany.

(28.) Jay Greene, “Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education,” Goldwater Institute Policy Report, no. 239, August 17, 2010.

(29.) John Curtis and Monica Jacobe, AAUP Contingent Faculty Index, 2006 (Washington, D.C.: AAUP Press, 2006).

(30.) Jack Schuster and Martin Finkelstein, The American Faculty: The Restructuring of Academic Work and Careers (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 197–99.

(31.) Bousquet, How the University Works, 24.

(32.) Ibid., 40.

(33.) On the structure of these sectors of the higher education labor force, see ibid., 94–98; Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades, “The Neo-Liberal University,” New Labor Forum 6 (Spring/Summer 2000): 73–79. On the attempts to organize both university-employed and subcontracted service and clerical staff on campuses through living wage campaigns and unionization efforts, see Jess Walsh, “Living Wage Campaigns Storm the Ivory Tower: Low Wage Workers on Campus,” New Labor Forum 6 (Spring/Summer 2000): 80–89.

(34.) Constructing Knowledge Societies: New Challenges for Tertiary Education (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2002).

(35.) Ibid., xix. For the bank, the problems associated with higher education in developing countries are “generated by the process of shifting from elite to expanded, mass tertiary education under severe resource constraints and with the burden of a legacy of persistent inequalities in access and outcomes, inadequate educational quality, low relevance to economic needs, and rigid governance and management structures” (46). Many of the responses the bank advocates and funds, including its emphasis on assessment, distance learning, and linkages with local industry, are the same processes that critics link with corporatization in the Anglo-American academic context.

(36.) Bousquet, How the University Works, 27, 125–56.

(37.) Ross Perlin, “Unpaid Interns, Complicit Colleges,” New York Times, April 2, 2011.

(38.) Bok, Universities in the Marketplace, chapters 3 and 7.

(39.) Samantha King and Sheila Slaughter, “Sports ‘R’ Us: Contracts, Trademarks, and Logos,” in Slaughter and Rhoades, Academic Capitalism and the New Economy, 256.

(40.) Ibid., 267.

(41.) Harvey Araton, “Athletes Toe the Nike Line, but Students Apply Pressure,” New York Times, November 22, 1997; Marion Traub-Werner and Altha Cravey, “Spatiality, Sweatshops, and Solidarity in Guatemala,” Social and Cultural Geography 3, no. 4 (2002): 383–401; Kitty Krupat, “Rethinking the Sweatshop: A Conversation about United Students against Sweatshops (USAS) with Charles Eaton, Marion Traub-Werner, and Evelyn Zepeda,” International Labor and Working Class History, no. 61 (2002): 112–27.

(42.) Andrew Ross, “Global U,” in The University against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace, ed. M. Krause, M. Nolan, M. Palm, and A. Ross, 211–23 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008); Roberta Malee Bassett, The WTO and the University: Globalization, GATS, and American Higher Education (New York: Routledge, 2006).

(43.) In 2001, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the American Council on Education, the European University Association, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation signed a Joint Declaration opposing the inclusion of higher education in GATS. Links to this statement, along with those issued by many other academic associations from around the world, are available at UNESCO’s website on Higher Education and GATS, http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=21767&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201. See also Ross, “Global U.”

(44.) Ross, “Global U”; Tamar Lewin, “U.S. Universities Rush to Set Up Outposts Abroad,” New York Times, February 10, 2008.

(45.) Olds, “Global Assemblage.”

(46.) See the special issue edited by Kanishka Jayasuriya and Susan Robertson, “Regulatory Regionalism and the Governance of Higher Education,” Globalization, Societies, and Education 8, no. 1 (2010).

(47.) See Carter Daniel, MBA: The First Century (London: Associated University Presses, 1998).

(48.) Hyeyoung Moon and Christine Min Wotipka, “The Worldwide Diffusion of Business Education, 1881–1999: Historical Trajectory and Mechanisms of Expansion,” in Globalization and Organization: World Society and Organizational Change, ed. G. Drori, J. Meyer, and H. Hwang (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 122–23.

(49.) Readings, University in Ruins, 24.

(50.) Ibid., 27.

(52.) Ibid., 39.

(53.) Ibid. For the argument to restructure the university on interdisciplinary lines, see Mark Taylor, “End the University as We Know It,” New York Times, April 26, 2009. Taylor fundamentally mischaracterizes the problems of the university today. For a response, see Morgan Adamson, “Graduate Education Is the Dubai of Higher Learning,” Academe 96, no. 1 (2010): 25–27.

(54.) Washburn, University, Inc.

(55.) Adolph Reed Jr., “A GI Bill for Everyone,” Dissent 48, no. 4 (2001): 53–58.

(56.) Jeffrey Williams, “Student Debt and the Spirit of Indenture,” Dissent 55, no. 4 (2008): 73–78.

(57.) Aronowitz, Knowledge Factory.

(58.) On union struggles, see Krause et al., University against Itself, and Cary Nelson, ed., Will Teach for Food: Academic Labor in Crisis (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), which focus on labor activism at New York University and Yale, respectively. For another recent model of student activism, see http://www.occupystudentdebtcampaign.org/.

(59.) Edu-Factory Collective, Toward a Global Autonomous University.

(60.) Williams, “Deconstructing Academe.”

(62.) John Mowitt, Text: The Genealogy of an Anti-disciplinary Object (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1992); Roland Barthes, “From Work to Text,” in Image, Music, Text, trans. S. Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), 155–64.

(63.) Barthes, “From Work to Text,” 155.

(64.) See, e.g., Fredric Jameson, “The Ideology of the Text,” in The Ideologies of Theory, Essays 1971–1986 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986), 17–71; David Harvey, The Conditions of Postmodernity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989).

(65.) Mowitt, Text, 33.

(66.) Ibid., 35.

(67.) Ibid., 36.

(68.) Ibid., xvii. See also René Girard, Violence and the Sacred, trans. P. Gregory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977).

(69.) Mowitt, Text, 40.

(70.) Ernst Kantorowicz, The Fundamental Issue: Documents and Marginal Notes (p.220) on the University of California Loyalty Oath, University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, October 8, 1950. An online version of the text is available at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/~ucalhist/archives_exhibits/loyaltyoath/symposium/kantorowicz.html.

(71.) Bob Blauner, Resisting McCarthyism: To Sign or Not Sign California’s Loyalty Oath (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2009), 74–77.

(72.) This “sign or get out” policy was adopted on a 12–6 vote, with Sproul and Earl Warren opposed. George Stewart, The Year of the Oath: The Fight for Academic Freedom at the University of California (New York: Doubleday, 1950), 36.

(73.) As Kantorowicz put it, “mass decapitations of professors such as have taken place monthly in California’s academic abattoir (157 + 6 + 31).” Kantorowicz, Fundamental Issue, 19.

(74.) Stanley Weigel, the lawyer for the faculty who refused to sign, convinced Kantorowicz to withhold publication, fearing that it could negatively impact the nonsigners’ legal proceedings. Blauner, Resisting McCarthyism, 195.

(75.) As a German nationalist who was also a Jewish émigré to the United States and who wrote about the foundations of political power, Kantorowicz’s personal and intellectual biography has itself become an object of scholarly concern, particularly as recent interest in the political theorists of the Weimar period and their experience with states of exception has grown. On Kantorowicz’s history and its relation to his scholarship and politics, see Robert Benson and Johannes Fried, eds., Ernst Kantorowicz: Erträge der Doppeltagung Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt (Stuttgart, Germany: Franz Steiner, 1997); Martin A. Ruehl, “‘In This Time without Emperors’: The Politics of Ernst Kantorowicz’s Kaiser Friedrich der Zweite Reconsidered,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 63 (2000): 187–242; Alain Boureau, Kantorowicz: Stories of a Historian, trans. S. Nichols and G. Spiegel (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).

(76.) Kantorowicz, Fundamental Issue, 1.

(77.) Ibid., 16.

(78.) Ibid., 16–17.

(79.) Ibid., 19–20.

(80.) Ibid., 20.

(81.) Ibid., 6.

(83.) Ibid., 20.

(86.) “A profession, as the word itself would suggest, is based upon conscience, and not upon working hours as in the case of modern trades, or on Time in general. In this respect the scholar resembles the judge whose duties are not disposed of by sitting in court, or the clergyman whose duties are not exhaustively described (p.221) by the mention of ritual performances and sermons on Sundays. The conscience is actually the essence of the scholars ‘office’ (offcium) which he is entrusted with and through which he becomes truly a ‘public trust.’” Ibid., 21.

(89.) Freund, Legal Nature of Corporations, 17.

(90.) Ibid., 18.

(91.) Ibid., 17.

(92.) On the cover of Fundamental Issue, Kantorowicz added the words “Fiat Lux (The Motto of the University of California)” to the bottom of the page, where one normally encounters publication information. Presumably it was this process of giving light that spurred Kantorowicz’s critique.

(93.) Moishe Postone, Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory (Cambrige: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 5–6.