Reflections on Universities, Politics, and the Capitalist State

An Interdisciplinary and Intergenerational Discussion with Clyde W. Barrow


  • Clyde W. Barrow University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley
  • Heather Steffen Rutgers University
  • Isaac Kamola Trinity College



University studies, capitalism and higher education, academic labour


Since its publication in 1990, Clyde W. Barrow’s book, Universities and the Capitalist State: Corporate Liberalism and the Reconstruction of American Higher Education, 1894-1928, has been a touchstone text for generations of scholars studying higher education. This conversation between Barrow, Heather Steffen, and Isaac Kamola examines the book’s legacy in order to explore how the interdisciplinary study of higher education has changed over the past three decades. In doing so, they examine the space and place of academic knowledge and academic labor, offering an interdisciplinary discussion of critical praxis within the university.


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———. "Globalization, Trade Liberalization, and the Higher Education Industry." In Implicating Empire: Globalization and Resistance in the 21st Century World Order, edited by Stanley Aronowitz and Heather Gautney, 229-254. New York: Basic Books, 2003.

———. "Politics Denied: Comments on Waismel-Manor and Lowi's ‘Politics in Motion.’” New Political Science 33, no. 1 (2011): 79-86.

———. Universities and the Capitalist State: Corporate Liberalism and the Reconstruction American Higher Education, 1894-1928. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.

———. The Entrepreneurial Intellectual in the Corporate University. New York: Springer International Publishing, 2018.

Barrow, Clyde W., Sylvie Didou-Aupetit, and John Mallea, Globalisation, Trade Liberalisation, and Higher Education in North America: The Emergence of a New Market under NAFTA? New York: Springer, 2003.

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———. 2011b. "Waismel-Manor and Lowi's Reply." New Political Science 33 (1):97-9.

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Wilson, Ralph, and Isaac Kamola. Free Speech and Koch Money: Manufacturing a Campus Culture War. London: Pluto Press, 2021.




How to Cite

Barrow, C. W., Steffen, H., & Kamola, I. (2023). Reflections on Universities, Politics, and the Capitalist State: An Interdisciplinary and Intergenerational Discussion with Clyde W. Barrow. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 22(2), 878–893.