One issue that’s been lurking at the back of my mind concerns funding for people on the fringes of academia. When I was a student, I was able to get (meager) funding to go to conferences. Folks with real jobs get (slightly more generous) funds to attend conferences, hob nob, advance the field, etc. But what of those of us with no real jobs?
I can’t not go to conferences, especially at this stage of the game. If I just check out of the scene, I may be permanently checked out of any chances for a t-t job. It’s absolutely imperative that I keep going, keep my name out in the field, and continue researching, writing, and presenting. However, my liminal status means that it all comes out of pocket, and considering that my income is even less than it was as a student, this cuts deep.
In all of the rhetoric about the skyrocketing number of adjuncts and temporary faculty, no one seems to consider the damage this sort of thing does to us. There’s something fundamentally wrong with expecting adjuncts to provide the same level of instruction and mentorship when they are denied something so small as office space and basic institutional support. How do you even work your way up in the food chain when you struggle mightily just to maintain what little status you have, much less advance?
As much as scholars in all types of fields rail against inequality, I find it frustrating that they largely ignore the injustice right under their noses.