Permanently Underemployed: Life and Death of an Adjunct

A scholar of rights, slavery and freedom, Thea Hunter found herself entrapped in the brutal cycle common to adjunct professors who occupy “the lowest rung” in the caste system of academia, writes Adam Harris.

Despite her brilliance, Hunter—a black woman—was unable to replace a tenure-track position she left. Her career took a downward trajectory of endless temporary positions. Lacking health insurance, she went without doctors visits for her asthma and heart problems.

She ended up dead—“exploited by a system that consumes thoughtful, committed academics… even as it is reluctant to admit it,” as a friend put it. Several of her works are set to be published posthumously.

The Atlantic

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