tressie mcmillan

tressie mcmillian

adding page while listening to Tressie here:

What is Critical in the Corporate University?


12 min – how do we go to school for work in the new econ

study those who have to fight to go upstream.. only know a way when you have to work against it

13 min – to better understand system we are in.. try to understand those people for whom it works the least..

14 min – starting a program called digital sociology..  what it means for us to do any critical/pedagogical project… the corp of higher ed.. at vcu..

16 min – the idea that sociologist would even engage in questions about digital is contested… ie: what does it mean when to sign up for obamacare.. it has to be done online.. et al….. what does a credential look like in digital realm..

21 min – i’m not going to be able to answer.. what is critical learning in the corp uni..

22 min – until the revolution happens.. these are the tensions we are dealing with..

25 min – to be a critical sociologist.. we follow the money.. ie: first question to you would be.. how did you pay to get here..

oy.. rushkoff os law ness

what does digital change mean for poor people.. we know what it means in silicon valley.. what does it mean in detroit..

28 min

2 questions to guide how to determine what digital sociology is…

1\ can you experiment in a B

we’re in B governed by corp interest/logic that can only understand in terms of market relationship trying to do something that can’t be defined by its market relationship..

how to carve out space in institutions where you can something that the institution may not be able to measure/quantify/reward.. so how do we do that..

2\ how do we create space for critical engagement in the modern uni?

i go back to these two questions.. is it possible.. and what kind of space will we end up in..

31 min – what would an activist/feminist admin look like.. they can’t do it.. but they can create space for others to do it..

32 min – everybody didn’t have to buy in.. but we did have to trust each other’s intent.. trusting that if you disagree… that you at least trust that’s it’s compatible.. with the big picture…

34 min – trying to force by in for experimentation…. more trouble.. have to trust each other’s decision making… we would always return to:

are we experimenting

are we creating  space

38 min – on all the arms of B.. and how hard to get experimental space out of that..

39 min – on challenge of working without a model… then too.. how to do something that changes so fast.. learning curve has very short half life… on needing standardization for certification but flexible enough..

so.. back to the asking questions.. about money.. why are we (and are we) modeling everything.. around credentials..

41 min – we need to get to know our student better earlier… to help shape curriculum process..

so .. why not hosting-life-bits… and dave’s community as curriculum ness

this is online.. so how are we going to make a community out of this… how to get physical space for them.. and how to get them to convene on same spaces on line..

43 min – then to privacy ness… ie: making online a requirement for degree.. so options.. like can use alias.. et al

45 min – we have data at that.. no one is listening to us at orientation…

46 min – on coordinating all courses… on being able to go to any course and answer same specific question..

oy – the extra work.. and the more agenda ish.. all working toward being able to answer same question..?

48 min – how do you do critical learning/thinking in a corp uni… and/or in a hostile environment….could create spaces.. and are obligated to do so… you are always responsible for running an underground info railroad for kids who want to go there with you

51 min – how to develop space for critical learning for students.. while still gaining benefits of a uni

58 min – on so many students just really worried about job prospects..

imagine the energy.. the humans.. we would be.. if that weren’t our focus.. no?

1:06 – cathy saying this is a blueprint of change we can make.. ie: 10 people is fine.. you can’t change everything at once..make change where you are and where you can

unless.. we can pull off a leap..

for (blank)’s sake… a nother way

hosting life bits via self talk as data

let’s try

1:08 – how to break down the barrier of what is and what isn’t the institution.. while working w/in the institution – jesse

1:11 – i happen to think when you think sociologically you are participating in something deeper/broader.. than work/institutions..

too much freedom actually overwhelms students to which uni is overwhelming.. they can bring up anything they want in my classroom.. once i’ve given them that safety (boundaries)

1:12 – i’m not always trying to convert people.. i’m more frequently looking for my tribe of people .. to do the work that matters

find tribefind tribe ness

1:15 – i’m a critical sociologist.. with revolutionary tendencies..


Bonnie Stewart (@bonstewart) tweeted at 6:36 AM – 8 Jan 2019 :
read this. @tressiemcphd in TIME, kids.
an ass-kicking indictment of structural racism & perceptions of black women’s competence. so. damn. gutting. (

I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman

Like millions of women of color, especially black women, the healthcare machine could not imagine me as competent and so it neglected and ignored me until I was incompetent..t. Pain short-circuits rational thought. It can change all of your perceptions of reality. If you are in enough physical pain, your brain can see what isn’t there. Pain, like pregnancy, is inconvenient for bureaucratic efficiency and has little use in a capitalist regime. When the medical profession systematically denies the existence of black women’s pain, underdiagnoses our pain, refuses to alleviate or treat our pain,healthcare marks us as incompetent bureaucratic subjects. Then it serves us accordingly.

In the wealthiest nation in the world, black women are dying in childbirth at rates comparable to those in poorer, colonized nations. The CDC says that black women are 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes than are white women. t

To get the “healthcare” promised by the healthcare bureaucracy, it helps tremendously if the bureaucracy assumes that you are competent. When I called the nurse and said that I was bleeding and in pain, the nurse needed to hear that a competent person was on the phone in order to process my problem for the crisis that it was. Instead, something about me and the interaction did not read as competent. ..At every step of the process of having what I would learn later was a fairly typical pregnancy for a black woman in the United States, I was rendered an incompetent subject with exceptional needs that fell beyond the scope of reasonable healthcare.

Sociologist Patricia Hill Collins once called on the idea of controlling images, those stereotypes that are so powerful they flatten all empirical status differences among a group of people to reduce them to the most docile, incompetent subjects in a social structure. What I remember most about the whole ordeal, groggy from trauma and pain and narcotics, is how nothing about who I was in any other context mattered to the assumptions of my incompetence. I spoke in the way one might expect of someone with a lot of formal education. I had health insurance. I was married. All of my status characteristics screamed “competent,” but nothing could shut down what my blackness screams when I walk into the room.

competent ness matters little..  are you human – nationality: human

Black women are superheroes when we conform to others’ expectations of us or serve someone or something else.

What so many black women know is what I learned as I sat at the end of a hallway with a dead baby in my arms. The networks of capital, be they polities or organizations, work most efficiently when your lowest status characteristic is assumed. And once these gears are in motion, you can never be competent enough to save your own life.


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sociologist. professor. author.

book coming out soon – lower ed