LaGuardia Professor Examines Politics of Time in Research Publication

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (March 01, 2023) — Dr. Nichole Shippen, Professor of Political Science, recently published, “For Free and Useless Studies”: Critical Reflections on the End of Work and Study, in a special issue of the Journal of Classical Sociology 23(2), 2023 dedicated to examining the work of critical theorist, André Gorz (1923–2007). Dr. Shippen applied the theoretical concept of “economic rationality” from André Gorz to analyze the politics of time in higher education.

Gorz was a main theorist in the New Left movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and is credited with coining the concept of “non-reformist reform”.

“There is a growing number of time scholars across a variety of fields. Many of the political science scholars are women, which I don’t think is a coincidence given the unfair distribution of social reproductive labor.” Dr. Shippen said. “I worked on this research as a follow-up to my book, Decolonizing Time: Work, Leisure, and Freedom (2014). My book includes a chapter on Gorz and the journal reached out to me with interest in Gorz.”

Dr. Shippen revisited Gorz’s Destroy the University (1970) to conduct an analysis of the community college as “situated between the factory (vocational) and the prison (formal education’s ‘other’) in the United States.”

“College administrators increasingly require economic rationality to justify the continued existence of liberal arts, humanities, and social science programs at community colleges or risk being eliminated as ‘useless,’ Dr. Shippen argues. “Most community college students are first generation, full-time students, workers, and often parenting students. They face severe time constraints, which are under-theorized and under-politicized to their own detriment.”

Furthermore, Dr. Shippen argues, “The COVID-19 pandemic compelled most people, including students, to transform previously private spaces to public spaces to accommodate work, school, and care-giving responsibilities. As a result, spatial and temporal distinctions between these different modes of being collapsed, allowing economic rationality to inform the most intimate settings of home; a Gorzian nightmare.”

In this article, Dr. Shippen brings Gorz’s Destroy the University into conversation with his Critique of Economic Reason to examine how economic rationality functions within the community college with special attention to the acceleration of study in relation to Complete College America’s ‘15 to Finish’ program at LaGuardia.

On September 8, 2022, Dr. Shippen presented, “For Free and Useless Studies: Critical Reflections on Work, Study, and Security,” as part of the Caucus for a Critical Political Science 2022 Plenary Lecture.

“Community colleges are misunderstood,” Dr. Shippen said. “I wanted to examine many aspects of the community college through a political theoretical lens that challenges how students are affected and how their experiences can be compromised.”

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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), located in Long Island City, Queens, educates thousands of New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all U.S. college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education.


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