Walmart with PhDs: Talking Academia with Rebecca Schuman

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After writing a doctoral dissertation on Kafka and Wittgenstein, Rebecca Schuman hoped to join the ranks of tenure-track scholars. Instead, she found herself become one of the most outspoken critics of the entrenched — and largely unsustainable — habits of American academia (and certainly the most scathingly funny one).

A columnist for Slate, Rebecca also writes frequently for the Chronicle of Higher Education?s Vitae site, as well as on her blog, pan kisses kafka. Her memoir, Schadenfreude, A Love Story is coming out in February 2017. I chatted with Rebecca about 21st-century universities, the emotional pull of teaching, and life after academia.


What’s the most useful way of conceptualizing academia today, especially for people not in it — is it a profession? A vocation? A dysfunctional family? Something else entirely?

Academia is all of those things depending on your perspective, plus one more important one that you didn’t mention:…

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