Author Archives: Eve Bromberg

Week 14: Where I’ve landed.

I know a girl from college who thinks misery is a sign of great success. When I see here, which isn’t often, she brags about having to check her work email around the clock and the weekends– it’s a sort of misery brag as if to say, “wow you guys have moments of your life that doesn’t involve work?” Her implication: that’s pathetic!

While reading this week’s materials, I was sitting with my mom. She asked what I was reading. I told her it was a piece on radical self-care. I went on to describe the importance of self-care in academia– The Academy demands a lot of one’s self. When you’re producing ideas and writing about them, they become extensions of oneself, perhaps more than a project proposal or excel spreadsheet can. Literal products of your mind manifested into the world for consumption– this takes a toll.

But the reality is in our capitalistic world, it appears the concept of a life is haughtily contested and the idea of existing outside the sphere of productivity (of a particular kind) is castigated.

This semester we’ve been challenged to think about The Academy and an idea of schooling that entails doing “less.” I’ve felt seen because so much of my time as a MALS student thus far has been chaotic– doing this on top of work is a challenge (that I wanted and accepted), but I have purposefully introduced another standard of productivity into the part and time of my life that’s meant to be absent of the corporation’s grasp.

This semester has taught me how much I crave a fully cultivated life removed from my schooling and work mainly because it’s taught me the extent of the grip of capitalism on us all. On our last day of class, I’m choosing to take a stand that my desire isn’t underachieving. I shouldn’t let my peer’s misery bragging belittle me. My own time is a period where I tend to feel most fulfilled. That is good and valid and acknowledging that is a form of rebellion in itself. To quote Miguel, I can hold two truths at once: want to be an engaged citizen and leaner, and want to create meaning beyond expectations.

Week 13: My Noticings.

My sister is a florist, so she is wont to notice any and all blooms when we walk down the street together– way more than I do. I often feel guilty for not noticing. I tend to walk quickly and am so concerned with getting to Point B, that I disregard the larger environment I’m in. I guess this is a type of progress gone haywire, that Tsing discusses– a literal physical progression.

Given this, I was really happy with myself when last week (Thursday specifically), I noticed the countless flowers in full bloom on my walk to my parents’ house. It happened to rain earlier that day, and everything felt so atmospheric: the air smelled and felt like it did when I was in elementary school and the school year was waning. When teachers started to pack up books and I got to wear shorts to school. While it was the ending of one thing, it was the promise of something else: warmer longer days, relaxed dinners out with my parents, time being less of a concern. I happened to have gotten my second vaccine that morning. In that instance, I could feel my normal worried sensations relax and I truly just soaked up the environment I was in. Things seemed as if they could get better and allow for some amount of joy.

Week 11: Imagine something completely new, Eve.

The commitment to decolonizing… 

Rodríguez’s piece underscores a central theme in neoliberal conversations of colonization. Decolonizing means that we rid ourselves of the notion and responsibility of race. We are no longer different, we’re all one, but in being one we all adhere to the same standards: those set in place by the colonizer before race got eradicated. 

In reality, decolonization is a challenge to create new systems in light of historical oppression. It’s an opportunity to live devoid of societal conceptions that have ignored the nuanced reality of oppression, disenfranchisement, and the insidious nature of privilege, i.e. rewarding professors for attending conferences of publishing without establishing mechanisms and providing resources that make publishing and conference attendance a likelihood for all academics and faculty members regardless of background or university-type (i.e. waving fees, providing transport, having a readily-available resource board of journals looking for papers).

This week’s reading reminded me of a tweet I stumbled upon at the height of protests last summer. The tweet suggests an alternate reality where we give up on key components of our modern corporate scheme, i.e.: Linkedin, competition, nepotism. The tweet’s writer doesn’t challenge the system to let up on these things, but to give them up entirely, thus making them obsolete and contextless.

Week 10: The University in the Beehive.

Consistently this semester, I’ve thought about a lecture by Derrida at the inauguration of the Women and Gender Studies department at Brown in the 80s. Entitled “Women in the Beehive,” Derrida goes on to argue that non conventionists pedagogies and isms, by being brought into The Academy, will become be subject to conformity via subsuming. The Academy’s grasp is so tight and wide, there can be no real radicalization whilst under its gaze. Quite literally, he says that the newly accepted members (faculty, students, etc.), become guardians of the law.

I think this paradigm nicely summarizes one of the many themes we’ve touched upon this semester, namely the tension of wanting recognition from The Academy (what’s been deemed historical objectivity) and the quest for visibility. The quest for visibility becomes more fraught when an invitation is extended by The Academy.

“As the number of HSIs and eHSIs increases, so does the need to understand what it means to have an organizational identity for serving Latinx students” (Dwyer, Garcia, 2).

“While understanding ‘who we are’ (organizational identity) is an important concept, there is also a need to understand the extent to which members identify with an organizational identity” (Dwyer, Garcia, 2).

While we’ve seen fruitful efforts to increase the personal perspective into institutional spaces, The Academy seems designed to be around 40 years behind. Will there ever be progress in terms of proper acceptance into The Academy with subsuming, or is that an inevitable side effect?

Similarly, what is the process of having become a Guardian? Have there been studies of people who explained the process of becoming de-radicalized because of The Academy?

Week 9: A multi-purpose University, Eve.

“What is the root of the dissatisfaction? Probably the variety of purposes teachers, students, administrators, feel a university has.” (Bambara, 14).

Reading this excerpt of Bambara’s work from 1969, I was struck by how relevant her thoughts and observations are today. We are still having conversations today about representation in academic disciplines. Students want to see their own experiences in the work they study because the assumption of the Western World and Canon relating to everyone is Supremacist– but I think the more insidious idea, that underscores traditional academia, is that it’s a space of objectivity: we do not dote on our personal experiences when engaged in discourse and analysis, and then you realize that’s the standard while concurrently a professor assigns Walden?

So why are we living in the age of Political Correctness now? The roots of “A Counter Culture” and the strength of youth protests go back to the 60s: The University as a source of political discourse in response to Vietnam. Or if you want to be schmaltzy, Barbara Streisand’s character in The Way We Were protesting against Franco’s fascist regime– or the Trotsky Stalinist debates of the 30s on City College’s campus? The end of the 50s, and push against your parent’s domesticity, challenging the nuclear family and the institution of marriage, all the way to the late 60s and the rise of the Black Panthers and Black Power movement show some roots of Identity Politic. Why are we only in the age of PCness now?

How would you date the start of modern-day PC culture and why are we so quick to label it this– especially when it’s the generation of 60s activists (Boomers to be reductive), who are the first to label modern-day critiques as purely “Identity politic”? At what point did we get to the type of discourse surrounding identity in the university, and has it ultimately has it led to progress?

Week 8: Where is the “I” in The Academy, Eve.

While reading Professor Brim’s book (which I thorough enjoyed– especially the reference to A Room of One’s Own), I felt a common theme appearing– Queer Studies as a discipline, and the associated tension that comes with, represents a microcosm (or is perhaps the situation itself): where within The Academy does personal experience and knowledge through experience (a type of praxis) fit? We’re living in an age of increased awareness of intersectionality and the inherent politic of personhood, and while on the one hand individuals and institutions get brownie points for increased “wokeness,” we’ve time and time again failed to see fundamental priority shifts materialize. In other words, we’ve been offered conflicting narratives: the personal counts, but cannot be the basis of your inquire– not while we’re still referring to Foucault and Derrida. What Professor Brims clearly points out is there’s overlap in the material he’s teaching and the location in which the material is being taught. Is the only potential for valid personal academy inquiry within an underfunded/public institution like CUNY– and even within CUNY only schools like The College of Staten Island vs. Hunter or the GC.

My questions go back to a larger question I have thought repeatedly this semester– what does the Institution owe us (individuals) and what is it place in our lives outside of the classroom? It seems to me that to allow for Queer Studies to become commonplace is in some way to declare the institution owes us more than an education, but clear support in a type of conduct and wellbeing. This may be the way the world is now, but is it right?

Is there a way to hold a school accountable to the complex reality of students’ lives while maintaining a role as an only-academic space?

Week 6: The ever-increasing responsibility of The University, Eve.

The Brian Lehrer podcast of course resonated with our discussions last week– the brick wall and perpetuation of White Supremacy in another form (a horse of another color), but it also led to me to consider another idea I’ve considered for a while: The University has become so large and responsible so much than it used to be. A place and source for knowledge and education, The University has now become a microcosm of society– students lead their lives in these places, and their existence is tantamount to their intellect. The trace of the growing size of universities can be linked-to Civil Rights, Affirmative Action, Reproductive Rights– as the world has become more aware of oppression and discrimination, the attempts to right these wrongs must be brought forth into The University because individuals subjected to discrimination in the real world have the same potential for discrimination there.

In a freshman Poli Sci seminar, the resident old-school neo-con professor disapprovingly discussed the need for more counselors in the counseling session. “They’re more counselors now than when I started at Kenyon in 1983.” He seemed to see it as a moral failing on the part of incoming students. Meanwhile, in another context, a sophomore put on a one-woman show about the shame around sexuality, and her advisor (a tenured American Studies Professor) discussed his experience being a young man in college and fearing intimacy. Has the daily plight of the college-aged student changed, or are we just having conversations we didn’t used to?

I ask this in part because of the prevalence of Title IX breaches on campuses. Due to alcohol, fraternities, the works, this is a well known threat for young people on campus. On the CUNY website it reads, “Enough is Enough: Combatting Sexual Misconduct” on the bottom of the website above the CUNY emblem. I don’t remember being told this was something I would have to deal with as a person at a college. I remember, in my senior year of high school, reading a first-person account of a student at Harvard who was assaulted in her dorm room. I was simply horrified, believing it was a one-off. Why did no body warn me about this, and why was the school un-inclined to take her side? Then question arrive if it’s even the job of the university to intervene. But if not them who? Is the University not the keeper of its inhabitants? Are there not implied rules of conduct?

Another contradiction, how schools deal with underage drinking. Underage drinking is illegal, but somehow a University is able to provide their own repercussions for underage drinking/drug use, separate from federal law, and the same is true of Title IX despite it being a federal law?

The overarching questions I have: Had conduct, in relation to other people’s civil liberties (race, sex, sexual orientation) changed, or are we just having conversations about it now? Have laws impacted how universities run culturally? Is it the university’s responsibility to ensure that students follow laws? How does a university contend with the larger penial context of America?

Week 5: A Bleak Future, Eve.

Post: “When human beings lose their capacity to imagine better futures, Torpey writes, ‘the past rushes to fill the vacuum'” (Harris, 8).

I found this week’s readings a bit depressing. Along with a discussion of the historic use of slavery (should I even say it’s historic?) of slavery in the formation of America’s most prestigious universities, Bousquet’s piece is dedicated to the modern-day function of the university– which he parallels to health care, and I’m extending to medicine in general. Modern-day medicine isn’t what it used to be. My parents are both Pediatricians, and my grandfather was one too, and every component of medicine is different than in their day (the “days of the giants” to which it’s referred). The reason people go into medicine is different. The way to get into medical school is different. Medical school, residency, fellowships themselves, all different. The motivation used to be slightly more altruistic and less external– I realized I can’t make that general a statement. Being a doctor was always seen as a noble profession. Medicine has become tied up with immigration, especially for jews. To be a Doctor was to be economically and morally successful. But the motivation now is now purely financial and a type of prestige-hunger that I frankly associate with startup/and tech bros. Being a doctor ensures a stable 9-6, a lot of money, and caché. This pains my parents, who were trained under 48-hour shifts as residents, whose profession extended beyond the workday, and who say medicine as an art (Socrates defines medicine as such). Today, we have a deficit of primary care physicians, because it makes the least amount of money and a deficit of well-trained physicians in rural areas. I have an acquaintance from Kenyon who applied to a specialty program at Columbia in conjunction with a health-care facility in Cooperstown, NY (home of the Baseball Hall of Fame). She wants to be a surgeon, but to increase her chances of going to an ivy league medical school, she applied to the more niche program. She completed research in health care in rural areas before– she gamed the system to her advantage and will end up making the program look bad when she goes off to do neurosurgery so she can fulfill her Grey’s Anatomy dreams and make a 7-figure salary. Medicine has become about profit over people. Efficiency over empathy. Corporations over compassion.

Where this comparison ends though is that doctors still attain the same prestige in quality of life. They used to make a lot of money, and now they make more. Academics on the other hand have been forced to take jobs incommensurable with their educations. Someone who has completed a doctorate shouldn’t be sleeping in their car or working three jobs. This makes it sound like I’m saying poverty is justified for the lesser-educated. No one should be sleeping in their cars (if they’re fortunate enough to even have a car), and working more than one full-time job to make ends meet. But, if you go to school to study something intensely, should that not translate into a profession? Isn’t that what medical school and law school are for? The difference with academia is the subjects may be merely theoretical (Modernist Literature, Analytical Philosophy), but to know a subject to the extent you can teach it at an undergraduate or graduate-level means you’re highly skilled. One of the ironies of the academy is the inability of younger academics to excel, or get a job at all, is due to the older generation holding on to their posts for dear life. The older academics in reputable institutions exist as if it’s still “the age of the giants.” As if medicine were still about people or teaching were still about teaching (in part this “publish or perish” mentality doesn’t affect them– they’re already tenured). Nothing is about what it used to be about. Medicine is no longer about medicine. Teaching is no longer about the subject at hand. Everything is political and nothing is pure. It seems to be one of the biggest risks you can take right now is trying to become a professor. We don’t value education in America, but we especially don’t value post-secondary education– we pretend to via US News World and Reports, but then we have Stanford-educated professors living on the streets? Actually, I shouldn’t have clarified that they’re Stanford-educated. The point is that they’re people with a skill, but they happen to be employed in a world where the profitization and commodification of their skill directly hurt them.


  1. What barriers exist for you in our class right now?:
    1. Currently, getting my post in the day before class. While I always strive to do this, I work full-time in addition to going to CUNY (not that I’m the only one!!), and sometimes time eludes me. I am trying to scope out a time on Sundays to write my reflections. 
  2. What *all* do you envision us being capable of, together, in this class going forward in the semester?:
    1. Defining some of the terms we use– like meritocracy and the descriptors in the course title– equity and elitism. We toy with a lot of ideas, it would be nice to come to some formulated opinion and or conclusion about one of them– i.e.: what is the purpose of higher ed.? What is a degree for besides job preparation? 
  3. What course content questions do you have so far (i.e., questions about the readings)?:
    1. Nothing positively pressing right now– I’m curious to hear more about multicultural White supremacy that Sam mentioned in her response last week (class no. 4).
  4. What course process questions do you have so far?: I’m interested in how we’ll be graded at the end of the term. 

Week 4, A Photo(ish) Essay– Eve Bromberg

David and I met with Professors Rogers and Brim last week to present our ideas. We both seemed to want to focus on Elite Education but from slightly different angles. David was interested in looking into the nuts and bolts of the Admissions Process (and associated ethical implications). I was interested in looking at the impact legacy has on the value of a college education.

I’m interested in the automatic association between wealth and the Ivy League. There’s an implied connection, that a child of a Political/Social Dynasty (Kennedys, Rockerfellers, even someone like Chelsea Clinton), is so guaranteed acceptance into a school of their choosing, it doesn’t even matter if they go. They are famailially linked to thesee schools. This is what C Wright Mill’s speaks to in The Power Elite (the context of his book is a very post WWII America. He is clearly speaking to the establish of an Eisenhowerian Military)– they’re families so powerful in this country that they move mountains. Their kids need not even go to college, but to the extent they are, you bet they’ll go to Yale!

My mother was the first class of women at Bowdoin, and she often recounts walking home late from the library in the middle of winter (in Maine), and seeing men passed out in the snow. She said she always imagined that’s what George Bush (jr) was like at Yale. Four years of party and fun, and leave with a degree that carries weight and power in this country and abroad.

I’m interested in the lack of purpose/impact a degree has for this type of student, which of course begs the question, what’s the purpose of higher ed in the first place? But there exists a reason we go to college. We’re told it guarantees employment or will allow for a larger salary, or because of the promise of intellectual fulfillment. A child of the rich isn’t burdened with these concerns– although craving the intellectual life surpasses class.

There will always be fundamental tensions between the classroom, the Ivory Tower, and the larger world of employment, taxes, and grocery shopping, but for the children (cousins, nieces, stepsons once removed) of the elite, will they not already occupy a plane of existence separate from the rest of us, with different (fewer) expectations. Education for the elite is more a rubber stamp to move on to the next stage of existence than anything else.

When I think of someone like Chelsea Clinton, I understand that yes she could be legitimately interested in public health, and want to teach graduate-level courses at Columbia, but at the same time, the experience of having her as a professor would never be neutral. She will always be a Clinton, and regardless of ability, the impetus of her ending p lecturing in front of you is something much larger than herself.

Just some background on this compilation of images, that may seem random!