Matthew Chrisler

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9523

Approve Date

October 11, 2017

Project Title

Chrisler, Matthew, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Empowered Corps: Neoliberal Multiculturalism, Nonprofit Governance, and Ethical Political Subjectivity in Phoenix, Arizona,' supervised by Dr. Setha Low

Liberal capitalist nation-states find themselves in perpetual crisis due to the structural contradictions of democratic ideals and the enduring social inequalities and violences of race. Neoliberal techniques of governance address these crises by cultivating new modes of personal responsibility and value through state-sanctioned projects of ‘caring’ for marginalized populations, forming new modes of social life through intimate connections of state power to marginalized populations (Collins 2015; A. Garcia 2010; Stevenson 2014). In the United States, K-12 education has been identified as a site of perpetual crisis by a market-based reform movement looking to revitalize American democratic ideals of racial equality through the development of human capital and economic mobility in the nation’s schools. These reformers frame public education as an institution that has failed to close racial achievement gaps in graduation and employment rates because of entrenched state bureaucracy and teachers’ unions. Alternative teacher training programs, in particular, are praised by reformers in government and civil society for cultivating empowered political subjects who, in turn, empower students to reach new levels of achievement. Nonprofit-trained teachers, then, are cultivated as privileged subjects of caring for the marginalized, embedded within nonprofit networks of evaluation, and compelled to reflect on their social position in relation to their work and wards. Situated in this context, the central question of this research project is: How does education reform reconfigure relations of neoliberal governance and privileged political subjectivity around the management of racial equality?