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ANDREW ROSS QUESTIONS FOR ENGLISH 492 THEORY, CSU FULLERTON
ANDREW ROSS, FROM THE MENTAL LABOR PROBLEM
Assigned: Ross, Andrew. From The Mental Labor Problem (2578-97 in Leitch, Vincent B. and William E. Cain, eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-93292-8.)
From Four Essays on Art: Toward a Global View
1. On 2579-82 of The Mental Labor Problem, Andrew Ross discusses two different aspects of what he calls "cultural labor," or more particularly to the crisis besetting that kind of labor. What are these two approaches or aspects, and how does Ross explain them?
2. On 2582-88 of The Mental Labor Problem, Andrew Ross describes the so-called "new model worker" of today in terms of the longstanding ethos of artists. Here, his analysis centers on the propensity to explain what artists do by means of terms such as "genius," "nobility," and "autonomy or lofty independence." How, according to Ross, did this ethos develop, and what are its implications for the modern post-industrial workforce?
3. On 2589-94 of The Mental Labor Problem, Andrew Ross turns his attention to the academic labor force. When, how and why did things begin to change in this sector from the older, tenure-based model of employment, wherein a given university's faculty would often consist mostly or entirely of assistant/associate/full professors, and perhaps a small number of graduate instructors learning the trade on their way to becoming assistant professors?
4. On 2594-97 of The Mental Labor Problem, what does Andrew Ross prescribe as a possible way out of the predicament in which academic labor now finds itself?
5. General question on The Mental Labor Problem, by Andrew Ross: if you are a student in this or some other college course, you are no doubt taking part in what Ross and others have called the "cultural economy" as it pertains to academia: you enroll in courses, buy books for classes, and perhaps take out student loans to pay tuition and other large fees to the university. Unless you go to a very small college, you have also surely been in courses taught by "adjuncts" (i.e. untenured lecturers) as opposed to tenure-track or tenured professors. How do you understand the difference between these two categories of instructor? Do you find that being taught by adjuncts makes a difference in terms of the quality of your experience? Why or why not?