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Sarah A.

Lacy and Ashton Rome

ideally portrayed as representing (e.g., free speech
Abstract and the exchange and debate of controversial
In the larger context of overwhelming student loans ideas) and what they actually are (e.g., institutions
and the decline of tenure, universities are now com- in support of the military–industrial–academic
monly dealing with racial protests. Beyond con- complex [Giroux 2007; Gonzalez 2014] and funded
tributing service to what Sara Ahmed describes as by corporations and billionaires1). Edited volumes
the “non-performativity” of diversity statements, such as The Imperial University attest to this
scholars are expected to follow the precedent set by (Chatterjee and Maira 2014); however, these
university administration, which is usually one of assessments are often restricted to a relatively
silence and denial punctuated by vociferous apology small, politically radical cadre of academics and
through targeted resignations post-incident. activists organizing on university campuses. The
Although race has long been a dominant research openly disseminated critiques rarely go so far as to
theme, anthropologists are rarely asked by adminis- call to dismantle this system of academia in service
tration to facilitate debate on the role of the aca- of capitalism. It is more common to make conces-
demic setting in creating social and political change. sionary demands, such as advocating for the role
This article explores the responses of universities of a university education as a path into the middle
coupled with the purposeful exclusion of anthropolo- class, which is only “ideal” within a capitalist soci-
gists and other social scientists from administrative ety, and does not engage why the university serves
committees and policy decisions. Assuming Louis a privileged few.
Althusser’s theory of the ideological state apparatus, The deliberation over these reforms, no matter
we examine the ways university bureaucracies have how watered down, rarely escapes its academic
propagated neoliberal ideas and strategies for echo chamber. Right-wing media continues to
achieving racial equality and how the strategies uti- attack the straw man of the allegedly widespread
lized by the university are dictated by its funding liberal forces undergirding American academia
needs. Specific examples draw from the experiences (see Kimball 1990). In many ways, the university
and observations of the authors—an assistant profes- is an “Anti-Politics Machine,” as according to Fer-
sor of anthropology and a community organizer– guson (1990). He argues that institutions such as
graduate student—juxtaposing the responses of two the University “depoliticize(s) everything it
local university administrations to protests in Fergu- touches, everywhere whisking political realities out
son, as well as detailing nonproductive attempts of of sight, all the while performing, almost unno-
these campus communities to engage structural ticed, its own preeminently political operation”
racism and the Ferguson community. [Ferguson, (ibid.: xv). How do politically unorganized aca-
new black freedom movement, non-performativity, demics affect change as these titanic forces redefine
activist anthropology] the role of the professoriate and the goals of edu-
cation in general?
This is a question that cannot be easily
Contemporary global academia, which is largely answered, even after decades of attempts other
built on the American university model, is a sys- than to suggest that like-minded academics find
tem that functions in part to propagate the ideolo- a way to organize. Within the history of strug-
gies of neoliberalism and racism in support of gles under capitalism, anthropologists have been
capitalism, which should be recognized as both an present to provide new concepts and help shape
economic and social system. There is active debate the ideas and vision of those movements from
of the disparities between what universities are Zora Neale Hurston, Ashley Montague, Ruth

Transforming Anthropology, Vol. 25, Number 2, pp. 171–184, ISSN 1051-0559, electronic ISSN 1548-7466. © 2017 by the American
Anthropological Association. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1111/traa.12115. 171

70%). which began in August 2014. Inevitably. someone is forced to resign. Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter. characterized as the “Golden Age apartheid. fees on top of regular tuition. we present a comparative study of the of the university system—tenure and shared gover- responses of administrations at both Washington nance—to crumble. Administrative responsibilities are removed from stood using Sara Ahmed’s concept of “non-perfor. ity of instructors are not on the tenure track (over We want to explore what influences the for. diversity committee is formed. We hope to present them as Graeber. Missouri. tions. The acknowledgment INSTITUTION of the role of “activist anthropologist” is in Neoliberalism. are less likely to tize the self or the institution over the pass. working outside the classroom continues to rise. such as the Civil a warning.). on 172 TRANSFORMING ANTHROPOLOGY VOL. imperialism. sated.2 As the percentage of university employees mulaic response of universities as a system that (i. fought for and used as vehicles for social change. is a “class counter distinction to the field’s origins. support staff and administrators) who are propagates ideologies of racism and neoliberalism. tional commercial banks and corporations and the cation in supporting them. tionally.” which seeks to reverse the economic are deeply rooted in giving legitimacy to the gains of the working-class internationally after concept of race and racial differences to justify World War II. Though the global tors scramble to respond when their student body economic collapse of 2007-08 presented the possi- is the site of the most recent unrest as seen at the bility for an indictment of neoliberal politics. faculty are more tasked with diversity in their title is hired. effects of mass unemployment and inequality that ence. in our experi. which is student exploita- vist scholar could attempt to pursue within the tion (Noble 1998). University administra. Lorenz 2012). to handle the dent-focused positions. which project. have resulted from neoliberal economic policies. remains the dominant framework for university and Claremont-McKenna College to name but a administrations pursuing corporate models of gov- few. systemic allow for power to be concentrated in interna- racism. To contextualize our compensated administrators. which souri-St. Neoliberalism ants and the working class (Baker 1998). Though are routinely highly automated while charging the there may be many meaningful pathways an acti. there are a number we have wit. students are charged additional convenience nessed that are deeply problematic as they priori. a ernance (Giroux 2007. the vast major- media attention turns elsewhere. With the growth in the new Black Freedom Within the historical transition to neoliberalism. and even Frederick Engels to David communities in crises. of Capitalism” (Harvey 2007). a new administrator In the neoliberal university.Benedict. and the role of institutions like higher edu. However. Louis to protests in Ferguson. coupled with the increase in online courses. class to exploit workers domestically and interna- pari 2003). this has not been the case. The includes an ideological fetishization of free mar- field now focuses on covering the variance of kets and “the corporation. Movement.e. administrator building a “diversity” committee or which increased powers of punitive state institu- looking for administrative appointments for stu.” the elimination of bar- humanity rather than defining the mean but still riers to free trade..” which is under. have also presented challenges to anthropology and UNIVERSITY AS NEOLIBERAL academia more generally. Louis and the University of Mis. Adjunct and online instructors political minefield of a university responding to are treated as unskilled labor and poorly compen- racial protests. Social movements. faculty members and handed over to generously mativity” (Ahmed 2006). it University of Missouri-Columbia. Yale University. and the ability for the capitalist struggles to break from its troubled history (Cas. after the institutions that popular groups have historically murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. which enables pillars analysis. This context could make an anthro. excluded from these “solutions. and exploitation of peas. Anthropologists and other scholars of race and classrooms are more likely to be staffed by contin- economics critical of these systems are generally gent or non-tenure track instructors (ibid. as David Harvey argues. protests have expanded both on and off university like trade unions and workers’ parties. were campuses to draw attention to the treatment of actively weakened and marginalized or co-opted to people of color by law enforcement. like the police and prisons. It also includes a shifting of the State pology department a rich pool for an budget away from social services and grants. same or higher tuition.3 and only 4% of registered students. political parties they control. and precariously positioned than ever. 25(2) . This faculty exploitation is University in St.

and promotion decisions intended to force students to bank with the specific for tenure and full professor status.4 Eleven states attempt to expunge that image from the Web only spend more on their prison systems than their served to increase the furor directed toward her10 university systems. and eventually resulted in her being placed on wide office prioritize repeated tax cuts for the administrative leave. Bank higher education for the majority. therefore. lower birth rates. tus quo and have many tactics for squashing dis- tion from the instructor. These agreements are assistant professor hiring. and direct attacks on predictors of student success (Newfield 2008). Those with student loan debt delay starting families or forgo it all together. MOOC (massively open online course. though we see that racism and are trapped into a debt cycle as soon as they are sexism interact and amplify each other in univer- old enough to sign credit card application forms. and the increasing privatization of universities— ity in a system where the majority do not finish are heavily invested in the maintenance of the sta- the course. People of color are pre- each fiscal year and tuition inevitably goes up. corporate lobbyists controlling state legislatures. graduate school attrition. branch on campus. This mirrors agent for convenience and avoiding ATM fees. which is one of the best rising levels of student debt. stu. which will dividing working-class people. Inequities within the aca- offering cheap swag in exchange for opening an deme are produced during graduate school account. 2013).S. Governor between universities and banks (Godrej 2014). ergo our analysis affect their ability to retire (Rothstein and Rouse must be more intersectional. Neoliberalism is inherently lower home-ownership rates.9 UC-Davis chancellor Linda Katehi’s dent spending by more than 40%. sity graduate admissions and hiring (e.6 Neoliberal policies at the rization has become the norm for campus security. unrest in Ferguson. The officer received more in the financial crisis of 2007/8. ultimately a fight (Godrej 2014)? The image of the University of against neoliberalism. and few get any individualized atten. for public universities. them is no coincidence considering the relationship plified in Wisconsin. and campuses signing exclusivity agree. all but three Worker’s Compensation for his pain and suffering states spent less per-student enrolled in a public after the incident than the students individually university than their 2008 levels. but the “leaky pipeline” metaphor often used to it also forces staff to bank with these institutions if describe the loss of women at every level in the they want their pay in a timely manner.. California-Davis campus police officer pepper State legislatures have continued to divest spraying students in the eyes as they peacefully sat from the role of educating their constituents at with their arms locked during an Occupy protest public universities after the budget tightening of spread internationally. dissent in the neoliberal university are not evenly As states cut the budget to higher education felt among the populous. Perna et al. where.average. higher educa. This divestment is exem. This generation’s history of scholarly institutions and their current huge student-loan burdens are credited with their neoliberal policies.5 When officials elected to state. the increasing militarization of campus police ization attempts are. 2011). and $250 million to build a new sports sta. not in response to it. state level force reductions in per-student spending The increasing precarity of the professoriate. Louis purchased SWAT to the University of Wisconsin system with one style uniforms for their campus police before the hand. actually complete the course if it is a These colluding forces—multinational banks. UNIVERSITY AS RACIST INSTITUTION graphic impact will be felt for generations to “You can’t have capitalism without racism”— come. as milita- dium with the other. Malcolm X Greater student debt from tuition is further Universities actively reproduce racial inequal- paired with credit card companies on campus ity at home and abroad. Student outcomes are clearly not the prior. The struggle of adjunct sent.g. and racist as racism serves to maintain capitalism by decreased expected lifetime earnings. dominately shouldering the burden of both the dents incur greater levels of debt.11 The UC Davis student pro- wealthiest in U. In 2014. assault. society over ensuring access to testors had previously targeted the U.S. Is it any surprise that greater divestment of instructors for more stable employment conditions states from higher education is concurrent with and the concurrent rise in university faculty union.8 Students STEM professions. tenure-track ments with specific banks. and two states received from a settlement for their unlawful (Arizona and Louisiana) have decreased per-stu. Milkman 173 . admissions. the brutality directed toward tion allocations dwindle. in 2015. The Scott Walker gave a $250 million budget reduction University of Missouri-St.7 and this demo.

and endowment investments all produce and main- and they are suffering from higher attrition rates tain racial inequality both on and off-campus.13 the racist histories of universities only serves to U. and will earn less (Emmons and Althusser (1971). This APPARATUS (ISA) debt follows these students. genocide and occu. male colleagues (Thompson nor Andrew Cuomo proclaimed that he refuses to and Louque 2005). When students of color arrive allow groups and companies that support the on campus. Myriad 174 TRANSFORMING ANTHROPOLOGY VOL. but not predominately at 4-year universities. by the ruling classes to physically repress threats pations (e. 2011). Gover- compared to White.. 2012). the university as an Ideological State Apparatus dents reveal how the investment of university (ISA). further incentivize universities to dismiss their stu- In the United States. Universities’ that some Black students arrive at the college hiring practices.15 Policies like this Black (Ryu 2009). Georgetown. or domination through administration are more predominately White than force.et al. but there is a Though student protests to take down the decreasing trend of college attainment: 16% of statues and change the eponymous building names high school graduates. policing. their research is considered less rigorous when rather than the students’ intended target.” that enable their fail them. 12. Despite being celebrated as enlight. This means that as much as hegemony entering an institution where the educators and contains coercive power. 2014). They are taking on more tary. are less power. education professionals may be able to claim whitewash their contemporary racism. is only a superficial summary of the ways universi- lege and don’t graduate are more likely to be in ties construct racism.3% of people are dents’ concerns. Census Bureau). and 9% of those holding a bachelor’s at Princeton. idea that power serves the dominant group by Many Black and other racial minority students convincing the subordinate groups that its rule are attending college with the promise that their serves not only the dominant group’s interests but degree will be their ticket to a middle-class exis. Divest. and Black stu- dents take out more debt to attend college than UNIVERSITY AS IDEOLOGICAL STATE their White peers (Goldrick-Rab et al.S. endowments support dictatorial governments (e. For Althusser. next generation of workers but also on the repro- American universities reproduce racism inter. admission and retention practices. But they are sus. also those of the subordinate group. State power tence and that politically it is a part of an (effec. decrying degree in the 25. and imperialism (e. The response from the 2000)—exasperated by the fact that Black faculty individual university is often to ignore students. structure relations of hegemony and Lenin’s the- ened institutions. is the pressure on their lifetime earning potential.g.to 24-year-old demo. is maintained through both coercion and consen- tive) program for racial equality. universities are failing their ory of imperialism. Turner et al. they see few faculty who look like Israel BDS campaign to do business with the state them—less than 7% of all university faculty are government of New York. which is diffused throughout civil society. Kelley describes in his operation and sustainability. Faculty of color Sanction [BDS] movement). This (Ross et al. via the Israel Boycott.g. In the case of larger movements such as Israel ing service to two different departments12—and BDS. operate in capitalist society and the institutions. and college of any kind in the 18. 14% of those enrolled in of known segregationists. Klan members. duction of capitalist ideology. Students who attend some col.14 are more likely to have a joint appointment requir. and women are given higher service loads (Baez military manufacturers). putting downward Hegemony.S. through institutions like the police and mili- our broader society is. gates.G. 2015. slave holders are becoming more common (such as graphic. analyzes how ideologies students of color just as the intersecting institu. 25(2) . Divestment campaigns by stu. and others).. tions of banking. As Robin D. the discussion of the relationship between Black sustainability of the capitalist mode of production students and their universities: “Black students is based not just on the maintenance of legal and (are seeking) love from an institution incapable of political conditions and the reproduction of the loving them” (Kelley 2016). according to Gramsci (1971). likely to graduate. and to capitalist society and class structures. The repressive state apparatus (RSA) is used Saudi Arabia’s royal family).. Black (U.to 29-year-old range are Black. hegemony also assumes soft or ideological student loan debt than their White peers.g. politicians and the media vilify the students. This is the role of nationally as well. and local government which he calls “apparatuses. default on their student loan debt. advancing Marx’s Base-Super- Noeth 2015).

Once a replacement administrator. students 175 . Universities. organized religion. under the guise that their investment will ted States: urban and rural. Now. out of this greater availability of information on quate compensation for the exploitation of their instances of overt racism and amplified it (Taylor labor (Althusser 1971. displaced. rations. They may even feel more betrayed. we can question the ruling class. ceived as scaring away tuition paying students. it travels globally instanta- cates exercise positions of influence in educational neously. use their relationships with elected officials Students’ resentment may amplify to outrage to gain public subsidies for real estate development after a triggering event and manifest as an erup- (e. Universities Administrative responses have become standard- define and generate research “knowledge” and ized and ritualized. is because unlike other systems of oppression. campus. 2016).19 and key international institutions. CRISES ple in specific ways of imagining. racism. The severe backlash forces the adminis- institutions and also in think tanks. tax abatements. Althusser defines state ideological appara. Alpha Epsilon fraternity members are recorded mony of neoliberal ideology that neoliberal advo. or center for multiculturalism is Washington University will threaten faculty named in a press release to much fanfare.17 Diversity. “non-performativity”—but rather the performance chase homes in targeted areas neighboring the itself is the only end (Ahmed 2006). titles are designed to explicitly not perform their Washington University produces gentrification by stated function—hence her coining of the term giving employees down-payment subsidies to pur. Just nity. by inculcating peo. University administrations are already pep- vision programs and. which further constrains acts of being on these committees or holding these how they will define “problems. so that the demographic make-up of the existence of these titled officials and committees. The chancellor or more likely the “Vice Dean of torically underdeveloped sections of cities: a Affirmative Action and Title IX” is forced to issue neoliberal approach to urban development. tax incremental financing tion of racial protests at campuses across the Uni- [TIFs]). also the general public by placing experts on tele. Wolff 2004). one was explicitly sold as anti-racist and a force dents with the university’s own assumedly more for economic and social equalization (Kelley desirable employees.” What forces push for these six-figure Universities are also tied within the web of salaried officials? As Sarah Ahmed concludes.16 visible.g. In our more interconnected world with the wide- and thus understanding their places within and spread use of video recordings and social media. further attract other private interests to these his. policy groups. The an apology or even resign—a sacrifice to appease effect is that working-class people are now physi. in some cases. public and private. new inclu- as we can speculate that Monsanto’s donations to sion committee.18 Their solution to crime. neighborhood will change and “crime” will students do not feel safer or more welcome on decrease.ISAs seek to maintain the ideological hegemony of research critical of Monsanto. which is per. tuses such as schools. known colloquially as Black Lives Matter (though duction of capitalist ideology. and media as institutions that work less by power and HOW UNIVERSITIES RESPOND TO RACIAL politics and more by ideology. singing a racist song. The new Black Freedom Movement— The university plays a key role in the repro.” For example. thinking about. They train current that is a specific organization)—has both grown and future workers to accept consumption as ade. in addition to economically. If universities were simply and “equity” in their titles who generate unen- neutral institutions of learning. relationships to the societies in which they live racism on and off campus has become much more (Althusser 1971). like many corpo. the blunt frustration of students and the commu- cally. as the attention to these scan- disseminate it directly not only to students but dals becomes more common. appointing pered with technocrats with words like “diversity” them to state positions. Despite the campus. Using Marx’s conclusion that the universities’ ability to effectively study and recom- capitalist mode of production cannot survive mend policy related to issues of systemic racism if unless its social conditions are reproduced (Marx they both reproduce and benefit from systemic 1867). the capitalist accumulation.. David Harvey 2016). when University of Oklahoma Sigma (2007) describes how it is essential for the hege. corporations like forceable “inclusion statements” or host brunches Monsanto would not donate money to educational and photo ops for the “Committee on Campus institutions like Washington University. this to fund a program to displace working-class resi. tration to do something quickly to save face.

It is a mon. and the campus returns to “normal. ISAs are more “contested advocating for “colorblind” policies. The uni. tions or subversive documents. it may seem to be too dan- their recommendations to non-perform anti-racism gerous to take a personal stance. we adhere to the view easily opposed. that there should be that Identity Politics is often used as a form of more space for social scientists to challenge this box-checking that creates a ruling class that ideological hegemony. and White and Black. ultimate composition. goals. Therefore. stantial amounts of money or require any struc- tration. With the institution of Considering that the task forces has a limited tenure under attack and many faculty members lifespan and its constituents are formulated to employed in precarious situations (adjunct or lim- merely appear diverse. and shared administrator. The the social legitimacy that their education brings “chief diversity officer” or the like is usually a per. Wolff (2004) points out critique of Identity Politics that the Right uses for that opposed to RSAs. power. It is the former point that likely keeps invested in its continued existence. That they are often the first to go WHERE ARE THE ANTHROPOLOGISTS? during a scandal suggests that diversity is not an Professional anthropologists are well suited to be actual priority of the system. There is the through calls for more Black professors with no implicit threat of unemployment if one becomes too real resources to make that happen or a new diver. or hostile atti. The positions are usually held by to be implemented in the event that they cost sub- one of the few people of color in higher adminis. faculty. 25(2) . and their calendars are packed addressing tural changes. vocal. How- responsibility to achieving diversity in campus ever. The examples of the media persecution and which is a system of power (Andersen and Hill the subsequent tenure denial of the anthropologist 176 TRANSFORMING ANTHROPOLOGY VOL. Disciplines with a radical history of scholar- manent fixture and can assume long-term goals. But these faculty governance has been eroded by neoliberal “diverse” members are members of the ISA and policies. the educa. them. and diversity the products of centuries of systemic racism on metrics produced by the taskforce are not intended their campus. This suggests umental task to place on one individual to fight that the recommendations. solutions—notwithstanding that anthropologists tional institution as an ISA will use Identity Politics are as much a product of the neoliberal university when responding to racist incidents..often tire. ship (e. while avoiding dealing with actual racism. human diversity so rarely chairing these diversity versity will name a task force that is inevitably task forces? The answer is addressed above and described as “diverse” based on Identity Politics two-fold: the goal of the task force is maintaining because it contains young and old. we can also formulate “race” and racial identity. a part of discussions on the impacts of systemic The special committees and taskforces called racism via the nature of the discipline as well as after a “racial incident” are a unique feature. and administration. which merely terrain” where capitalists’ agendas can be more maintain White hegemony. Tomlinson and Lipsitz 2013). critical race theorists. their existence soft power or “insubordinate spaces” (Harney and also allows other administrators to relinquish any Moten 2013. many anthropologists quiet. Despite the ideology of “academic free sity center sponsored by a corporate backer. and gender studies interdisciplinary programs) are the mission of these committees are generally often housed within anthropology and sociology short-term performances of individuals moderately departments at many universities. Members invested The existence of these administrative positions in revolutionary change can network within the is not merely as an insurance policy or scapegoat taskforce and circulate these documents to build for when incidents invariably occur. If “we” anthropologists can identify in relation to one another and in this sense produce and analyze the problems. ISAs teach us how to define ourselves son 2012).” tudes. student and the status quo and subterfuging dissent. the needs of the student body.” few anthropologists are “speaking truth to may address issues of prejudice. potential dynamic for a complex analysis (Fergu- temic issues. This is not to say no diversity task- The systemic issues on campus have not actually force has ever produced progressive recommenda- changed. we can reasonably expect ited term appointments). appears “diverse” without actually improving the So why are anthropologists or other scholars of material conditions of the working class. staff. and therefore.g. Avoiding the as any other academic. They speech. adding to the invested in giving lip service to addressing large sys. ethnic studies. force as a solution in and of itself. the larger administration calls for the task- composition (Hamer and Lang 2015).” Collins 2007). and The selection process.

dents on the University of Missouri-Columbia Tomlinson and Lipsitz 2013). grounded in reality (de Genova 2014.22 Its these taskforces is explained by their actual func. themselves as more enlightened than most. urban that frame people of color as outsiders to aca. the UM system—median family income is under versity during a “sensitive” period of unrest.61% of undergrad students are Afri- potentially critical voices is just one way that non. private university with one of the wealthiest stu- demic institutions and therefore do little to aid in dent bodies in the country. only 6% of students are deemed by tural racism stands unchanged—no action was FAFSA as having financial need for federal tuition taken. This is body and community make-up. FERGUSON mittee composition focus on recruiting additional The analysis presented above comes from our own community stakeholders. tion studies certificate has been developed for the sidered sufficient by the institution and therefore anthropology department. Actionable items and methods for It is not just professors whose research accountability are avoided—feel-good effusive lan- addresses issues of race who are being excluded guage abounds. the process. Leon and Wil. examples of “non-performativity”: there is admit. satellite campus of a be explicitly stated as invited (e. MO (UMSL Chancellor’s formed in the wake of student protests are perfect 2015 State of the College: Arts & Science address). bers may be burned by these experiences and This denial is hinted at earlier in the discussion of avoid this form of academic service in the future. The recommendations for com. and the average student is twenty- expectation of actually providing a solution as the seven years old. Moten and Harney 2013. UMSL) and an elite.e. Some of these initially naive mem- from diversity initiatives but faculty in general. Hamer and We would question whether or not contribut- Lang 2015).g. this is a severely analogous to the so-called White ally shrugging underserved need.000 compared to over $100. students also come from the poorest families in tion in maintaining the dominant ideas of the uni. and their ilk will become quickly disillusioned with cussed further below). The exclusion of and Asian (7.000 at the flagship “Diversity” taskforces and the like that are often campus in Columbia. They have quite liter- ally been excluded from the operations of their CASE STUDY: HIGHER EDUCATION IN own institution. Louis. faculty precarity and the waning of the institution but perhaps a few will be radicalized by the experi- of tenure as administrative tasks are delegated ence. It is predominately a commuter campus with few tance of a problem (structural racism) with no dormitories. public land grant university system (University of liams 2016).22 The only ethnic studies program only real solutions would require a revolutionary available is a one-year-old Latinx minor in the his- rethinking of the purpose and structure of higher tory department. for example. though an ethnicity and migra- education (Ahmed 2006). “everyone’s a little bit racist. tion’s directives. performativity is acted out in the construction of ment to Steven Salaita confirm that this fear is these task forces...” They In contrast to UMSL’s environment is Wash- expect that by evenly sharing the blame and even ington University that has the lowest number of accepting some themselves. The admittance is con. The results are diversity statements Missouri-St. $50.” not the oppressed.21 UMSL is the most their acceptance (Iverson 2012).g. so it hardly reflects the region’s 177 . such as alumni. and stating. and one of the most diverse in the state. The statement was really about the grants). Professor Melissa Click lost lar individuals is likely an admission that they her job just before her tenure decision when her could not be counted on to parrot the administra- attempts to stand up for students of color protest..Nicholas de Genova or the withdrawal of employ. they have portrayed students who qualify for Pell grants of any U. Even those who may not initially ing on campus was turned into a five-second video recognize the true purposes of diversity taskforces clip pilloried on conservative media outlets (dis. because experiences interacting with the university adminis- there is the assumption that faculty do not need to tration at both an urban. Considering the student does not actually perform anti-racism. can American21). away from faculty members. tive hypocrisy (e.20 Hamer and Lang (2015) suggest that ing to this non-performativity is worth the effort if this increasing precarity creates a situation where theoreticians of race do not intend to be subver- it is safer to fight for racial justice off campus than sive or use the experience to highlight administra- on. After the recent protests against racist inci.23 The campus is overwhelmingly White “speaker. Struc.S. diverse campus in the University of Missouri sys- The lack of anthropological perspectives on tem. university (i. Exclusion of particu- campus.

The UM system is in the process instances of harassment and discrimination toward of being publicly divested. Ferguson was removed from the list of surround- gram was recently “upgraded” to a full depart. Washington tatives of the UMSL community. Just as Tulane University remade told that they could not do a service project paint- itself as a destination for social-justice-minded ing boarded up windows post-looting as represen- students after Hurricane Katrina. the state cuts its alloca- Black students. whose students do not stick around to pay that Contrasted against the private university. most feel little to no connection to either the Fer.S. both parties vying to be head of empire debate and non-profit status into a private university neoliberal policies. there is the underfunded public of faculty involvement off campus. guson could finally be named—but only as the guson. “Ferguson Effect” scaring away would-be stu- sity faculty credentials were being shopped around dents.8 billion) and lack of reliance on a racial and economic injustice in Ferguson as a fiscally conservative state legislature for funding way to attract both media attention and social- appropriations. ing municipalities even though there is a lunch- ment in late 2016. of photographs. but they are miles from Fer.demographics of 18% Black (the city itself is 47% employees and student writers were told explicitly Black as of 2015 [U. one might expect faculty there to justice-minded White students to St Louis (i. as it is the nearest commer- in other departments that may not reward racial cial district. A meeting of anthropology faculty tion every year. land grants. from Ferguson. staff. 178 TRANSFORMING ANTHROPOLOGY VOL. Washington that they could not describe Michael Brown’s kill- University follows the lead of other universities ing as “murder” in any university-affiliated docu- trying to inflate their racialized minority percent. and was convened to discuss whether a response to instead of speaking up and representing the stu- events in Ferguson was necessary. and the only dents it is explicitly tasked to serve. Louis. pundits. it attempts to actionable outcome was greater publicity for one distance itself from Ferguson. tuition fees are increasing. All of the University took this opportunity to celebrate its administration’s decisions appear to be dictated by “contributions” to racial equality in a media blitz of fear of lost revenue either in the form of budget press releases and faculty interviews. Louis area pours over the last two decades where candidates from assets in the form of tax incentives. just “down the street” from Ferguson to validate Unfortunately. both cuts and enrollment drops their administration weighing in on race issues in still happened in 2014 and 2015. but Fer- Washington University’s administration saw guson is not directly named. As Washington Univer. The university’s faculty member’s new book on race. Census]). However. Over 90% of undergrads establishment as Washington University has been are from out-of-state—3/4th of all alumni live out.e. The Association of the media attention on Ferguson as an opportunity Black Collegians chapter on campus was explicitly to sell themselves. and students to that these faculty members were previously housed downtown Ferguson. There is a link on the homepage justice scholarship and were saddling with doubled about “Safety” that is clearly a response to paren- service loads. hosting presidential debates nearly every election side the region21. Either large neon sign that faces the community of Fer- tenured status at a wealthy private university did guson was turned off during nights of protests just not feel like enough safety. This institution is actually tasked with educating guson protests after the murder of unarmed students from the St Louis area including many Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. tal concerns about the riots and protests.. due to the lack disaster tourism). or they did not see the in case it could be seen in the distant background link between their discipline and Black oppression. 25(2) . or editorialists.25 The “Ferguson Effect” became coded by the public relations office to news outlets as racial language to explain any outcome unfavor- potential interviewees. which has no qualms about explicitly serving the Considering Washington University’s large very wealthy and yet feels entitled to speak about endowment ($6. largesse back. feel safer to speak out. UMSL borders it. it may be that university. able to the White ruling elite (Pyrooz et al. supporting the assertion above time shuttle for faculty.24 ages by including all international students They certainly do not want to offend the political (Hamer and Lang 2015). The Office of cuts from the state or student enrollment decreases Public Affairs tried to advertise that the campus is and lost tuition. 2016). but it has remained silent on or the student protests at Mizzou after multiple structural racism. the University of Missouri-St. On the university’s “About” page. The African and African American Studies pro. ment or publication—lest they offend a donor. after which Fer- national publications. The Greater St.

token. and there is a At the University of Missouri system level. They are fronts.26 tion for chief diversity officer for the system and The responses of these two universities admin. such as the anchor campus for the system—was rocked by Title IX. and her firing by these meetings have been occurring.29 In there being a race problem in the first place—the response to student and faculty frustration. They appointed a Black for publicity from Ferguson. the most ethnically diverse racial discrimination. the delivered in private meetings among colleagues. They created a new posi- so-called Ferguson Effect. The UM system has sity are being blamed on the boogieman of Black made many proclamations about future directions criminality. What message does this themselves Concerned Students 1950—in reference send about the expected outcomes of this taskforce to the first year the university admitted Black stu.27 In response to pro. dents speak out. national media attention came to the when only one yet-to-be-named. while the been given the financial or administrative resources racially diverse public university creates a palpable to affect change. student voice will be included? It is certainly not a dent were forced to resign. and with subsequent damage control. Their fears formed by the new interim system president in were further realized the following school year early 2016.2% Black especially their students of color. The vilification of Professor macy for any administrative recommendations Melissa Click for months in right-wing media. and faculty from the interim system president after the White one Criminology and Criminal Justice program resigned and now hired a permanent replacement appeared in multiple media outlets describing the who is Asian American. which was initially com- motives. have the public relations acumen. The rest of the members UMSL’s general attitude of silence continued of the committee were administrators already when their sister campus in Columbia. the higher education and budget committees at the system called for a larger taskforce composed of state legislature decided to punish the UM system more professors and campus staff members. leverage Ferguson for grant monies and publicity. required each campus to have one as well. UMSL could potentially use the same all attorneys and all alumni of the flagship campus strategy as Washington University. All of these hires were approved silence. diverse than Mizzou (compare 14% to 8. with repeated threats of further budget cuts One of the results of the administration’s han- (Huguelet and Sirtori-Cortina 2016). But istrations may superficially seem counterintuitive: each act has exemplified Ahmed’s (2006) “non-per- the wealthy White private university celebrating its formativity” as none of these individuals have proximity and relevance to Ferguson. come from them publicly. member was a professor and one was a student— and that student was “to-be-announced” when the Racial Protests at Mizzou taskforce was publicized. This was the one outlet UMSL saw (see Taskforce below). dling of these incidents is that faculty are more Because UMSL is considerably more racially afraid to be visually in support of their students. Missouri— tasked with diversity-related initiatives. Only two members come from University multiple protests against the pervasive climate of of Missouri-St. only one in Columbia.28 it could reasonably claim some legiti. But from the perspective of financial by the Board of Curators. a highly conservative Board of Curators and state Diversity. but it does not in Columbia. Equity.Now the effects of neoliberal policies at the univer. Out of the twenty original taskforce when racial protests began at the flagship campus members from the four campuses named. Louis. is now seven and UMSL sees it as a financial loss on multiple White members and one Black woman. and Inclusion taskforce was legislature holding the purse strings. Once a hunger strike by one of the nance when there is only one faculty voice repre- leaders of the group began and the university’s senting only one campus in a four campus system? football team threatened to not play as a show of What message is received by the student body solidarity. nothing has the Board of Curators—completely outside the 179 . environment on campus before the protests? What but they were repeatedly dismissed by higher message is conveyed about shared faculty gover- administration. we see that Washington University can posed of five White members during the protests. that is. campus and both the chancellor and system presi. when these stu- students). message about a desire for change and that mes- tests being “allowed” to occur—as opposed to sage was clearly received by students. A student group calling campus in the system. If silencing of voices defending her. when the members are overwhelmingly those who dents—had multiple actions on campus decrying were already tasked with creating a more inclusive the racism and fear they experienced on campus.

tuals within them helping to broaden their ideolog- ical scope and provide historical and cross-cultural CONCLUSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS perspectives. from scholarship that serves social justice aims ment (de Genova 2014). The other option cases. as customers.official review pathways for personnel decisions— brought so many of us into studying and teaching reinforces the implicit assumption that. it is clear then that there are forces inequality. struggles in general is rich with parallels that can bolstered by the threat of media persecution. though it is more often about protect. social movements. particular. but anthropology in wider institutional structure of the university. and academic according to the by laws of the university. the jeopardy remains. The history of working-class many obstacles to action. for speaking out because they are treated. we should not do with our time that is not being hoods are in perpetual jeopardy. offers being withdrawn or tenure cases denied. ments have to affect consciousness and force con- ratus messaging is reflected in academic hiring: cessions within our society. the academic elite. This Ideological State Appa. Click was outright fired because it is considered somehow less rigorous and before her tenure review process was completed by may put promotion prospects at risk. facilitating and participating in commu- does not answer—is there something we can do?— nity discussions and debates. Our own social–political class of other aca. If they are lucky enough to be new Black Freedom Movement has forced the one of the token few. This can be done through open Returning to the question this piece centers on but teach-ins. the ideals that heard colleagues cheerfully describe giving race 180 TRANSFORMING ANTHROPOLOGY VOL. and writing scholarly it becomes clear that faculty must contend with and popular articles. fac. strength. the lack of racial peers. successes and mistakes of past movements. Do we have the moral responsi- ing institutions than individuals (de Genova 2014). 25(2) . They have received the non-hierarchical independent study groups (Moten implicit message: If you want to be a member of and Harney 2013). De Genova was denied tenure under other rial for our work. Considering Universities have regularly been sites for resis- the vast underrepresentation of minorities in the tance against neoliberal reforms and the resultant professoriate. within the in arts and sciences generally. She is research in the service of political aims and social now being represented by the AAUP on academic justice can be interdisciplinarily complex. This is sivity. Our research leads us to question the extent to Ceballos ensures that (Squires 2015). in many therefore. The commitment spent serving on diversity taskforces. a part of the decolonial anthropology we should demics share news stories on social media of job all strive toward (Harrson 1991). It is often placed aside as the product of mid. though that the opposite is true. This is an unfortunate disservice and expect to maintain their employment—the to our students and our communities. Hale free-speech grounds (Wilson 2016). Charles Hale (2008:2) describes pretenses years after his media storm died down how junior faculty are often warned to stay away by using subversion and social forms of punish. be summoned for participants to learn from the intimidate us into anxious paralysis or jaded pas. He argues a body who does not have the power to do so. they are expected to remain nation to again deal with the question of systemic silent about it and be co-opted for photoshoots or racism and showing the power that social move- diversity taskforces. does not state whether that methodological com- Students are punished differently than faculty plexity could actually assist in securing tenure. precedent of the Supreme Court Case Garcetti v. Our administrations. becomes a liability rather than a ulty are located toward the bottom of the pyra. We have to social justice and education. and it is important that anthropologists keeping out those who may vocally point out their not separate themselves from it. Anthropologists can tenure-track positions are so scarce that the few engage in ongoing struggles against neoliberalism who secure one should be afraid to speak up on and systemic racism not just to add “bodies” at behalf of their adjunct peers lest they be forced to demonstrations but also to play a role as intellec- join them. Since 2014. bility to stand with the disenfranchised? We is being flagrantly disregarded in Professor Click’s believe so but especially when they provide mate- case. such as members of Concerned Students the structures and resources of the university to 1950 reporting being unable to gain admission to furtively educate and be educated by others via graduate school programs. They are punished in subtler is to participate in the “undercommons” by using ways. They cannot reflect poorly on their employer youthful idealism. never critique it. Academic which scholars limit themselves to only studying free speech. It may be easier to point out examples of what maintaining the pervasive sense that our liveli.

mitted.” Chronicle of Higher Education. This is merely and defanged (Selfa 2012). “Big gifts and low pro- The “neoliberal university” has no interest in files help conservative centers spread to cam- performing anti-racism (Chatterjee and Maira puses. 2Socialist We can perform anthropology that is dangerous Alternative-St. Louis to these systems of oppression though—exclusion from diversity taskforces is tacit acknowledge of such. son and elsewhere go unchallenged. State University Dominguez Hills. If Ferguson could not make the university ways that explicitly challenge White supremacy money. However. Lacy1 and Ashton Rome2 1California lars of the military–industrial–academic complex. the “University” adopts a program for Washington University to keep language from protests in Ferguson and then funds internally while proclaiming to be doing a mutates it into something self-serving. Scholars from across the sity’s on-campus response can be described as country are also guilty of writing books on “non-performativity. safe for human differences” (Ruth Benedict). Sarah A. We also thank the Trans- associate with their suffering—for example. the the extent to which such engagements depoliticize effect of these task forces. how can one be a and the like. The com- activist anthropology. Brown’s murder as grounds to advocate for system Our research questions should be framed in change. As both Ferguson (2012) and Kelley (2016) describe it. that is. they are sup.” but its responses orchestrated Ferguson without any investment in improving in higher administrative offices are to actively sup- material conditions in the community. and outcomes of the university In the post-Global recession world. ties who shared relevant details about the deci- ported by them. is to soothe dissent. See Peter Schmidt. policies. port these systems of oppression as the university is pologists see themselves as “mak(ing) the world itself an Ideological State Apparatus. and therefore. Anthropologists may see this as a ripe helping to improve this manuscript. Louis. The institutions and poli- giving grants to its own students and faculty to do cies that trap people of color in poverty in Fergu- some work—any work—that intersects even triv. but they are not neutral actors in their own societies and are most often working in service of one of the pil. tial for their endowments to be further enriched. Anthony Gualtieri. Feb 6. the forming Anthropology editors.” There is no requirement to the Democratic Party has been described as the “engage stakeholders” or mandate to include the graveyard of social movements as they are co-opted community in any meaningful way. If anthro. though we are in the university. Capi. even what has been termed munity of lovers and fighters in Ferguson and the as “militant ethnography.” People are repeatedly larger St Louis region have kept us focused on challenging the institutions they most directly revolutionary change. we NOTES do not need to be of the university. we argue this kind of work is not doing that. but the of racism are dictated by whether they see a poten- colleague disappears as soon as the grant is sub. 181 . Kalfani Ture and police. to which anthropology can find its purpose in public or we would not normally have been privy. chief diversity officers the role of the anthropologist. both universi- contextualizing how those are generated and what ties did not want their employees using Michael they represent—to justify a Ferguson Effect. applied administrations pre. it was ignored. thoughtful and critical anonymous reviewers for chisement. sions. Hamer and Lang 2015). if it could lose the university when that is relevant. we have seen col. In the way that ially with “Ferguson. Washington University versus the Univer- leagues mine crime statistics—without sity of Missouri-St.and post-Ferguson. We question 2014. whereas campus neutral actor while giving legitimacy to institutions police are simultaneously increasingly militarized that oppress? We have seen colleagues approach in case the soft approach fails (Godrej 2014). it was denounced. Prof. The univer- service for Ferguson.sensitivity training to police officers. community groups in Ferguson to get them to Universities’ public responses to open expressions attach their names to a grant application. in fact. banks—and that consciousness is develop. As referenced above. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS talism and racism are not endangered by these We thank the members of our campuses communi- kinds of showmanship. and our two particularly has and continues to benefit from their disenfran. 1. time to do ethnography of activism. Washington University is money. Claire Class for helpful ing into an understanding that the entire system insight and citations.

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