The growing reliance on contingency in academia, aside from the indisputable material and psychological toll it takes on instructors outside the tenure track, also represents an existential threat to academic freedom, the production of knowledge, and student learning at American universities and colleges. Herb Childress's study, therefore, is an important addition to work on this problem, and, for readers of this journal—given LAWCHA's Contingent Faculty Initiative—a necessary one.

The Adjunct Underclass is not a historical account. Instead, the book examines the problem of contingent labor in higher education today, including the ramifications for workers, students, and the broader community. Childress begins by showing that in the recent past there has been a drastic increase in the college instruction done by adjuncts, who make low wages, often lack healthcare and even basic necessities for the job (e.g., an office), and sometimes...

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