Posted by: bluesyemre | December 21, 2020

Reflections on Exile and Academic Precarity: Discussing At the Margins of Academia by Aslı Vatansever and Aysuda Kölemen

Vatansever’s recently published book At the Margins of Academia: Exile, Precariousness, and Subjectivity (2020) examines the intersection of two states in present-day academia: precarity and exile. After discussing academic precarity at length in the first section of her book, Vatansever’s focus shifts to the traumatic impact and transformative power of exile in the second half. She interviews Academics for Peace, like herself, who were dismissed from their positions, banned from working in Turkish academia, and lost their passports after the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. Most significantly, the book does not depict precarity as an exceptional state that only threatens less productive or politically undesired groups in academia. On the contrary, Vatansever insists that precarity has become innate to and necessary for the survival of the contemporary academic structure. In other words, academia as it is can only be sustained through the precarity of the majority of its members. At the Margins of Academia makes the case that exile is no longer the sole cause of precarity but rather a compounding factor, albeit a powerful one, in this milieu.

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