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Resisting Neoliberal Schooling: Dismantling the Rubricization and Corporatization of Higher Education

Published Date: August 30, 2023

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Resisting Neoliberal Schooling: Dismantling the Rubricization and Corporatization of Higher Education, edited by award-winning author and professor Anthony J. Nocella II, is the first book that critiques the use of rubrics in assessment and evaluation within education and the effects of the rubric as a tool for social and intellectual control. This powerful theoretical intervention goes beyond the most dangerous academic repressive theory, standardization, and critically interrogates the next step in academic control, rubricization. Nocella, a public intellectual on the school-to-prison pipeline and academic repression, gathers together brilliant scholars from around the world to write on the mass normalization, assimilation, homogenization, and commodification of knowledge learning, creation, and analysis. The most important theme of this book is the challenging, resisting, and explaining of neoliberalism in education. This thought-provoking and engaging anthology has writings by Clifton Sanders, Roderic Land, Ashley Cox, Lauralea Edwards, Anthony J. Nocella II, David Robles, Emily Thompson, Elisa Stone, Lea Lani Kinikini, Elizabeth Vasileva, Will Boisseau, Adalberto Aguirre, Jr., Rubén Martinez, Richard Van Heertum, Victor M. Mendoza, Laura Schleifer, Riley Clare Valentine, Steve Gennaro, Doug Kellner, Frank A. Fear, Caroline K. Kaltefleiter, David Bokovoy, Anthony J. Nocella, and Paul R. Carr.


Editorial Reviews


A slow and low ride through the barrios of Aztlan and into the heart of the low-rider ethos, this work is a soulful and welcome addition to the cultural studies scene. An important and long overdue message from a thriving, albeit misunderstood community. Matthew R. Sparks, Co-Editor, Green Theory and Praxis Journal

Anthony Nocella and colleagues provide a hard-hitting critique of the pernicious influence of neoliberalism, cultural chauvinism, and other forms of bigotry on our educational system. They also offer something even more important — possible paths for promoting its healing and transformation. Dr. A. Peter Castro, Professor of Anthropology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

As higher education continues to concentrate on standardization, efficiency, and profit, Resisting Neoliberal Schooling is a must-needed text that recenters justice, collaboration, and liberation as central to the act of teaching. Zane McNeill, editor of Vegan Entanglements: Dismantling Racial and Carceral Capitalism

Here is a collection of essays which promise to challenge many of our cherished beliefs about our education systems including our trust that they are open, diverse, critical, independent and serve no masters. Les Mitchell, University of Fort Hare Hunterstoun Research Fellow

Intentionally written to provoke critical engagement, and not for purely academic or theoretical goals, Resisting Neoliberal Schooling: Dismantling the Rubricization and Corporatization of Higher Education, manages to contextualize a wide variety of obstacles to inclusive and abolitionist pedagogy. Including personal narratives, contemporary research, and historical framing, the book encourages teacher-scholars to be more engaged in community justice through the classroom. Dr. Taine Duncan, Chair, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of Central Arkansas

Resisting Neoliberal Schooling brings together an exceptional group of contributors, all united in their determination to bring new understanding and visibility toward the devastating impacts of neoliberalism across academia. Moreover, they offer hope as what can be done now to challenge, reclaim, and rebuild academia and education anew. On these fronts – and others beside – the book is a tremendous success, and an essential read. Dr. Richard J. White, Reader, Human Geography, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Resisting Neoliberal Schooling is a provocative and interesting read. Just about everything you need to know with respect to the ideological and economic assault on public education. Dr. Mark Seis, Professor Emeritus, Sociology, Fort Lewis College

Resisting Neoliberal Schooling is an outstanding and powerful book edited by a brilliant, interdisciplinary scholar and wonderful person. This book is to fight for the effort to save higher education from corporatization. Lucas Alan Dietsche, Wisdom Behind the Walls

Resisting Neoliberal Schooling: Dismantling the Rubricization and Corporatization of Higher Education is a critical examination of the mechanisms within the institution of higher education that reinforce systemic inequalities. This is a book, in the vein of the classic “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” that compels instructors and students alike to challenge the dominant paradigm and social arrangements in higher education that obstructs the diversity and inclusion many institutions are claiming to strive towards in today’s world. Dr. Chandra Ward, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Tennessee

Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) famously identified the “white intellectual ghetto of the West” as the beating heart of America’s investment in racial capitalism and its networks of oppression. As he explained in “Black Power,” we teach, learn, labor, and live in a landscape of constant crisis, one produced materially and ideologically by our schools and universities. Resisting Neoliberal Schooling offers a way to understand that crisis as both ongoing and manufactured-designed to recreate, explain, and even commodify inequities rather than address or upend them. Destroying this neoliberal extractive system of education as it exists today represents an important step towards total liberation and equality. Dr. William Horne, Villanova University

The corporatization of higher education is undermining teaching and learning while eroding the public good and public interest across universities and colleges. Corporatization is an insidious process that leads to the dismantling of public institutions over time. Bringing together a number of amazing scholars and activists, this volume contests the neoliberal restructuring of universities and colleges. Anyone who cares about education and public institutions anywhere in the world should want to read this collection and share it with their students as well. Dr. Kevin Walby, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice, University of Winnipeg

The myth that formal institutionalized education produces open-minded and critical thinkers who possess “academic freedom” to pursue what they think is important is part of the lie that structures neoliberal societies. This book presents some seeds for realizing, resisting, and overcoming this reality to instead foster equitable and critical-consciousness raising educational systems grounded in individuals’ and communities’ own interests, needs and experiences. Nathan Poirier, Co-Director, Students for Critical Animal Studies

This anthology presents a much-needed critique of the increasing rhetoric of return on investment (ROI) in public higher education. Drawing on critical pedagogy, the authors shed light on the assessment industry and offer multiple strategies on how to exit the homogenizing game of “academic excellence” performance goals. Dr. Mechthild Nagel, Professor, Philosophy, State University of New York, College at Cortland

This book could not come at a more urgent time. At a moment when we are facing multiple existential crises, it has never been more critical for the universities to be freed from the ravages of neoliberalism and restored to their potential role in providing humanity with skills, knowledge and ideas needed to meet the challenges of our times. From calling out the exclusivity, elitism, labor exploitation and commodification of higher education under neoliberalism, to examining how the corporations have taken over and used academic fields as forces of indoctrination into neoliberal ideology, to exploring liberatory and even anarchistic ways of freeing the universities from neoliberalism’s death grip, Resisting Neoliberal Schooling: Dismantling the Rubricization and Corporatization of Higher Education is exactly the sort of education the corporate ruling class is buying out the school system in order to prevent you from getting! Laura Schleifer, Co-Director, Institute for Critical Animal Studies

This is a powerful critical read for all those concerned with democracy, freedom, and justice. Read this book and truly understand how education is the foundation of any healthy society. Defend education from standardization and corporations now! Tony Quintana, Co-Editor, Transformative Justice Journal

This work is riveting, and explores oppressive practices perpetuated by institutions involved in higher education in a critical and easy-to-follow manner. I recommend this material to anyone who aims to challenge dominant group supremacy in academia. Brock M. Smith, Co-founder, FourLifers Incorporated

With Resisting Neoliberal Schooling, Anthony J. Nocella II takes readers on a voyage to the roots of the contemporary educational system’s discontents, its chronic and repeated frustrations, and its manufactured failings. We see anew the ways in which power adapts and adjusts, but never means its withdrawals, never intends to embrace structural and meaningful change. Power offers cosmetic change–check a box called “diversity,” give a superficial nod toward “inclusion,” mention “equity” at every opportunity–while resisting justice with all its might. Nocella helps us cut through the barbed wire of “rubrics” and “data,” the smothering cotton wool of standardization, and illuminates a path toward an education based on wakefulness and liberation. Bill Ayers, author, Fugitive Days: A Memoir

About the Author

Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., (they/he) (aka Ant), long-time intersectional total liberation scholar-activist, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Salt Lake Community College. He is the editor of the Peace Studies Journal and Transformative Justice Journal, and co-editor of five book series including Critical Animal Studies and Theory and Hip Hop Studies and Activism. He is the National Director of Save the Kids and Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies. He has published over one hundred book chapters or articles and forty books. He has been interviewed by New York Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicles, Fresno Bee, Fox, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, and Los Angeles Times.

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