Belabored Podcast #124: College Dreams and College Schemes, with Tressie McMillan Cottom

Belabored Podcast #124: College Dreams and College Schemes, with Tressie McMillan Cottom

Tressie McMillan Cottom talks about her new book, Lower Ed, and why the expansion of the for-profit college industry is a labor issue.

Tressie McMillan Cottom talking about her new book, Lower Ed (Colin Kinniburgh)
Subscribe to the Belabored RSS feed here. Subscribe and rate on iTunes here or on Stitcher here. Check out the full Belabored archive here. Tweet at @dissentmag with #belabored to share your thoughts, or join the conversation on Facebook. Belabored is produced by Natasha Lewis.

itunes-icon rss-icon stitcher-icon

What’s a college degree worth to you? With so many students getting drowned in debt for a taxpayer-funded sham diploma, how has the massive for-profit college industry managed to capitalize on Americans’ high hopes of achieving middle-class “credentials”? In her new book, Lower Ed, sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom explores the political drivers of for-profit higher education, and Wall Street’s entanglement with an unregulated academic marketplace that exploits struggling students’ aspirations. Cottom spoke with Sarah Jaffe at a discussion hosted by the New America Foundation about the culture and politics of commercialized college in the Age of Trump.

In other news, we look at the politics of the Muslim (headscarf) ban at work in Europe, a looming adjunct faculty strike at Ithaca College, a factory worker uprising in Bangladesh, and the U.S. women’s hockey team’s threat of a strike at the World Championship.

Next Wednesday, March 29 we’re hosting a discussion on labor under Trump, with organizers Pam Galpern, Bhairavi Desai, and Rabyaah Althaibani, at Fordham Law in New York. Join us!

If you think our work is worth supporting as we soldier on through Trumplandia, please consider becoming a sustaining member of Belabored or donating or subscribing to Dissent. Please help keep us going for the next 124 episodes!


Employers allowed to ban the hijab: EU court (Al Jazeera)

Sarah: Why the U.S. Women’s Hockey Players Are Planning to Strike (Dissent)

Protests in Bangladesh Shake a Global Workshop for Apparel (New York Times)

Michelle: A Western Company Could Finally Be Held Accountable for the Rana Plaza Disaster (The Nation)

Why IC contingent faculty authorized strike (Ithaca Journal)


Tressie McMillan Cottom@tressiemcphdAssistant Professor of Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy (The New Press)

Call Now: What It’s Like to Enroll in a For-Profit College (Dissent)

Selected Essays

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Michelle: Jo Littler, Meritocracy: the great delusion that ingrains inequality (The Guardian)

Sarah: Patrick Dixon, Playing Chicken: Discovering a Diverse Working Class in Trump Country (Working Class Studies)