What should, could, and does the thesis advisor do? Four years of teaching, researching, and supervising in a graduate program at a university in Taipei led me to search within - not beyond - the 'holy trinity of academic work' (i.e. teaching, research, and service) for a different interpretation on the laboring of university teachers. The neoliberal logic embodied in the numbers game, quantitative criteria of judgment, and inter-regional competition has formed specific conditions of laboring for university professors in East Asia. In this article, I advocate a 'learning to labor' perspective to situate teachers in the institutional, social, and global relations of laboring. I draw particular attention to affective labor - a quintessential form of labor in the global condition - and suggest its potential to formulate subjectivity in the current geopolitics of knowledge production. In this article, the productive power of affective labor is represented in three experimental texts: two short stories and a play. Created to document, grasp and learn from my interactions with my graduate advisees, this article hopes to sound out multiple voices and inflect laboring with consoling imagination.
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