|10/13–06/2015||MA, Latin American Studies, University of California, San Diego|
|01/10–07/2011||BA, Latin American Studies, University of California, San Diego|
|04/04–05/2009||Southwestern Community College|
“What the railroads did for the second half of the last century, and the automobile for the first half of this century, may be done for the second half of this century by the knowledge industry. And that is, to serve as the focal point of national growth.” This is how Clark Kerr – first president of the University of California – envisioned the role of intellectuals produced by the public university. But soon after its establishment, the public university in California became a contested site of social struggle, a site where Leftist and progressive forces came to wield significant influence.
However, by the 2000s, changes in the broader configuration of the economy – set on by increasing financialization, deindutrialization, and privatization – began to reconfigure the purpose of the university, allowing the foundations of a neoliberal university to be established. The Great Recession of 2007/8 allowed for a frontal assault by conservative forces that reconfigured relationships of power within the university.
Within the context of academia, and the broader context of the political crisis currently on-going in the United States, students, faculty, and staff from across the University of California have attempted to fight back against the assault. To many of the organizers and activists on the ground today, it is not merely about returning to the university of yesteryear but imagining if it can be even more – hence the emergence of the “other” university.
This work analyzes how a public institution – the University of California – becomes embedded in a wider economic and political fabric and seeks to understand how opposition composes itself against such dynamic forces. It asks not only what are the places of students and faculty in a broader class composition of neoliberal deindustrialization, but what does the financialization and privatization of higher education mean for mass democracy? Through an ethnographic study comprised of interviews and participant observation, the project intends to highlight struggles and obstacles that social movements face when attempting to define and articulate their opposition into a strategy. My work aims to establish a narrative that links struggles, as well as uncover what the “other” university is on the ground, and what are the methods currently deployed to achieve it.