A specter of determinism seems to be hanging over every aspect of our lives. We are constantly told that we are being shaped by inexorable forces—biological, economic, technological, historical—against which resistance is more or less futile, so we should quit worrying and get on board.
In this issue, each essay offers a response to some form of determinism. In our thematic section on the corporate professor, the authors contend with the “inevitable” corporatization of higher education and commodification of scholarship. There are, these essays argue, things professors can and should do: offer a more articulate and richer vision of just what higher education is about, refuse to squeeze everything into the metrics of university bureaucracy, face up to the working conditions of the majority of college teachers and rethink what counts as scholarship. Mere lament is not enough.