Academic Labor: Research and Artistry

Academic Labor: Research and Artistry (ALRA) is a peer-reviewed open access academic journal launched in 2016 by the Center for the Study of Academic Labor (CSAL) at Colorado State University. The journal encourages ongoing research on matters relating to tenure and contingency in the academy, both nationally and internationally. Along with our center and web site, we offer a research home for those undertaking scholarship in areas broadly defined as tenure studies and contingency studies. To meet this objective, we invite a wide range of contributions, from the statistical to the historic/archival, from the theoretical to the applied, from the researched to the creative, and from empirical to essayist forms. Our editors and reviewers include social scientists, artists, and theorists specializing in labor issues.

We welcome scholarly articles, reports, policies, position statements, essays, organizing and advocacy toolkits, photographs, photographic essays, personal narratives, social science research, original art, artifacts of curated performance art, op-eds, reviews in print and multimedia formats, etc. We also welcome histories of academic labor efforts; for instance, if your institution or program has engaged in efforts to establish or improve practices and policies and would like to have a backup location for archiving the papers, please send them our way and we will work with you on creating a secure, digital file. If you do not see a genre mentioned that you are interested in pursuing, please contact the lead editors, Sue Doe and Sarah Austin (sue.doe@colostate.edu; knepaustin@msn.com).

Submissions should not exceed 10,000 words in length, including abstract, notes and citations. ALRA has no minimum required word count. Aligned with ALRA’s mission to encourage conversation among a broad range of stakeholders, we welcome shorter pieces, including briefs, on topics aligned with the journal’s mission and aims.

ALRA is interested in pieces concerning topics including but not limited to:

  • Diversity in higher education
  • Hiring practices
  • Labor policy and law as it affects higher education
  • Women and contingency
  • Faculty retention
  • Transformative practices, advocacy and activism
  • Case studies of labor reform
  • Student labor and student faculty relationships
  • “Slow professorship” and influential arguments about / characterizations of faculty life

If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, please contact the editors:
Dr. Sue Doe: sue.doe@colostate.edu

Sarah Austin: knepaustin@msn.com

Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

Academic Labor: Research and Artistry (ALRA)

Issue 3: Invisible Labor

Academic Labor: Research and Artistry (ALRA) is a peer-reviewed open access academic journal launched in 2016 by the Center for the Study of Academic Labor (CSAL) at Colorado State University. The journal encourages ongoing research on matters relating to tenure and contingency in the academy, both nationally and internationally. Along with our center and web site, we offer a research home for those undertaking scholarship in areas broadly defined as tenure studies, contingency studies, and critical university studies. To meet this objective, we invite a wide range of contributions, from the statistical to the historic/archival, from the theoretical to the applied, from the researched to the creative, and from empirical to essayist forms. Our editors and reviewers include social scientists, artists, and theorists specializing in labor issues.

We hope that you enjoyed Issue 2, released in October, which focused on the tempo and pace of academic work and features, among other articles, an interview with Seth Kahn, book reviews by William Christopher Brown, and a position statement and article from the Colorado Conference Chair of the AAUP,  Steven Mumme, who calls for changes to community college system labor policies with forum feedback from various stakeholders, including the former head of the Colorado Community College System, Nancy McCallin, Anne Wiegard of the State University of New York-Cortland, who serves on the Board of the New Faculty Majority Foundation, as well as Ken Lindblom, now a dean at Stony Brook University and formerly a leader of the United University Professors organization.  Here’s the web address for Issue 2: https://digitalcommons.humboldt.edu/alra/vol2/iss1/1/

Our third issue will focus on discussions of invisible labor in the academy. By calling back the constellation (Powell, 2018) of basement graders, hushed conversations, and back-room decision-making, we hope to make the invisible visible (Warner, 2002) regarding academic labor’s effects on the identities of TT and NTTF faculty, the lived realities of faculty and students, and the inner, crucial, but not always recognized workings of higher education. This issue will focus on the work that faculty, staff, and students undertake that isn’t visible for awards, stipends, tenure and promotion, grants or other tangible accolades. In short, we want to hear about all that you do behind-the-scenes. Send us your manuscripts! We hope this issue will illuminate the work that so many in academe undertake without recognition and sometimes without consent, furthering a conversation that will help us all move forward. Possible directions for inquiry and discussion include:

  • What kinds of invisible labor are present for all categories of faculty--non tenure track, pre-tenure faculty, and tenured faculty--and in what ways are the vulnerabilities of the position types differently exploited, leveraged, misunderstood, or unseen?

  • How does the dearth of national and local data regarding academic labor contribute to the invisibility of work done in the academy? What kinds of data are needed?

  • How might historic or archival research help us to understand a genealogy towards invisible labor in various parts of the academy?

  • In what ways does academic labor look different across discourse communities? In the sciences versus the humanities, for example. What can we learn by viewing academic labor holistically? Separately?

  • How has the “unbundling” of higher education changed the nature of academic labor, perhaps forcing some components of faculty work into invisibility, or alternatively, greater visibility?

  • How does invisible, academic labor vary at different types of academic institutions?

  • What does invisible, academic labor look like outside the realm of the classroom or in what is sometimes called the extra-curriculum? In course design, institutional assessment, admissions or registrar positions, student affair, advising and support services, to name a few.

  • What are the implications of various forms of invisible labor falling more to women and marginalized groups than to men and dominant groups? For instance, how are careers affected by the uneven distribution of service and the administration of programs? Might department, college, and university codes relating to promotion or career ladder be revised to better reflect the wide swath of faculty work, making the invisible more visible?

  • How does the layering of curricular expectation, such as the integration of institutional goals in regard to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, or high-impact practices, burden faculty invisibly and perhaps burden them unevenly across the tenure-track, non-tenure-track divide?

  • Is labor being consciously or unconsciously redirected toward students through such things as learning management systems? What other forms of invisible labor are we asking of students? How does this additional work affect students’ academically and/or emotionally?

  • As online learning (both synchronous and asynchronous) becomes more prevalent, what kinds of new academic labor arise? How is this new work delegated, learned, internalized by graduate students, non-tenure track and tenure track?

  • What physical and emotional effects occur as a result of the assumption of invisible labor? What symptoms or embodied forms of stress are people experiencing? Are these effects being documented and, if not, how might they be?

  • How is public-facing scholarship affected by contingency? Is there a “silencing effect”?

  • Is open-access research and publication a mechanism for bringing contingent faculty into the wider discussion, addressing the oft-invisible economic obstacles to professional reading and writing, and hence holding promise for those on the margins?

  • How is community-based work affected by contingency? How might community-organizing, community-engaged pedagogy, community literacy and other grassroots work be made visible to academe?

  • How might academic genres, like CVs, portfolios, and professional websites be transformed to better reflect faculty work that tends to be undervalued and under-documented? How might the work of contingent faculty in particular be made more visible through such documents or through new genres as yet unimagined?  

Please do not consider this an exhaustive list of possibilities! Submit a piece of not more than 10,000 words (in length, including abstract, notes and citations) to http://digitalcommons.humboldt.edu/alra/ by 15 April 2019 with publication of Issue 3 expected in the Fall of 2019.

The Center for the Study of Academic Labor and ALRA welcome varied genres, such as scholarly articles, reports, policies, position statements, essays, organizing and advocacy toolkits, photographs, photographic essays, personal narratives, social science research, original art, artifacts of curated performance art, op-eds, reviews in print and multimedia formats, etc., so long as they associate favorably with the Center and Journal’s theme. We also welcome histories of academic labor efforts; for instance, if your institution or program has engaged in efforts to establish or improve practices and policies and would like to have a backup location for archiving the papers, please send them our way and we will work with you on creating a secure, digital file. If you do not see a genre mentioned that you are interested in pursuing, please contact the lead editors, Sue Doe and Sarah Austin (sue.doe@colostate.edu;  sarah.austin@usafa.edu). ALRA has no minimum required word count. Aligned with ALRA’s mission to encourage conversation among a broad range of stakeholders, we welcome shorter pieces, including briefs, on topics aligned with the journal’s mission and aims.


View Past Calls for Proposals