For Education:
The College Classroom as Concrete Utopia




If we assume the capture of the American university by the “national economic dogma,” as Nietzsche called education in the service of money-making careerism, what concrete actions might a change-minded instructor take? This is the question driving For Education.


My conclusion is that consequential action can indeed be taken; but unlike most texts on this topic, I am not advocating action at the macro level of administrative reform. Rather, by implementing certain pedagogical practices at the ostensible heart of the university—in the classroom—instructors can substantively reflect and enact larger-scale social changes that, I further argue, are desirable. The strategies I have in mind derive mainly from socialist and anarchist thought. They include; the political theory of prefiguration; the concept of concrete utopia; the social theory of the spectacle, the pedagogical practice of unlearning; and the ethics of the worst necessary.




1 Introduction   

2 The Divided Pathway of the Humanities    

On the Right    

3 Subject to the Spectacle    

4 Subject to Another World    

On the Left    

5 The Force of Prefiguration    

6 The Space of Concrete Utopia    

7 The Pedagogy of Unlearning   

8 The Ethics of the Worst Necessary   

9 Conclusion  

About the Author




"It is a common assumption among professors that this is just the way things are, and that radical experiments in the classroom cannot be carried out under the current system. While it is quite true that the current education system actively opposed the kind of approach described in For Education, Wallis argues forcefully that any changes we hope to see within the university must originate in the classroom, rather than in the administrative offices, for it is within the former that student subject formation takes place. It is the deep responsibility of educators to resist the repressive program forced upon the classroom by the logic of the neoliberal university. For Education provides a critically necessary outline of just what such resistance may look like." Read the full review by Chaim Wigder.

"I found this book when I needed it the most, toward the end of a very tiring academic semester. After months of trying new methods of teaching and mostly failing. I found in the book another person for whom education is an issue. A problem. A question. A quest. That, in and of itself, was remedy for my heart and soul. It was refreshing to read Wallis’s words." Read the full post by Davood Gozli.


Incite Items: For Educational Iconoclasm 1



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