From Sara Ahmed’s “Against Students” (The New Inquiry, June 29, 2015):
The “problem student” is a constellation of related figures: the consuming student, the censoring student, the over-sensitive student, and the complaining student. By considering how these figures are related we can explore connections that are being made through them, connections between, for example, neoliberalism in higher education, a concern with safe spaces, and the struggle against sexual harassment. These connections are being made without being explicitly articulated. We need to make these connections explicit in order to challenge them. This is what “against students” is really about.
How we think about students and how we talk about students reflect attitudes toward teaching. Teaching is only possible within the bounds of these attitudes. How, then, do we think about and talk about students?