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The Public Good and Corporate Goodies

by Ethan Tussey

In "Higher Education is More Than a Corporate Logo," Henry Giroux takes a startled look at the current state of academia, noting that: "Anyone who spends anytime on a college campus these days cannot miss how higher education is changing. Strapped for money and increasingly defined in the language of corporate culture, many universities seem less interested in higher learning than in becoming licensed storefronts for brand name corporations—selling off space, buildings, and endowed chairs to rich corporate donors." Giroux’s complaint is hardly a solitary one. Increasingly, this vision of an impending merger of the corporate and academic spheres seems dishearteningly inevitable. Academic freedom and critical inquiry are up for grabs in this new world of public goods and corporate goodies. My video offering, however, argues for a slightly different narrative. As a librarian at one of the Google Books institutions, I can personally and professionally attest to corporate saturation in academia. But as we see in this clip from the 1955 University of Michigan announcement for the polio vaccine trails, such saturation is hardly new. Here we find that the lines separating corporate sponsorship and academic research are (always already / always already were) as constructed and porous as those separating a sound stage from a classroom. This intersectionality of the corporate and the academic, in other words, has been with us for quite a long time. Whether this is good, bad or other remains a matter of scholarly (and, of course, entrepreneurial) debate. But, as we see here, the barbarian is not at the ivy gate — he is on the grounds. BMOC.

The Public Good and Corporate Goodies


from video (2017)
Creator: Adams
Posted by Ethan Tussey