Alex Kudera published Fight for Your Long Day, in 2010, but it’s still gaining traction because of its unflinching look at the swelling academic underclass that is adjunct faculty, recently getting notice from the chronicle of higher education. We spoke with him about the book and the perception of adjuncts in higher education today.
Cyrus Duffleman is the fictional college professor in the award-winning novel, Fight for Your Long Day, but unlike the corduroy jacketed, Volvo driving tropes we’re used to reading about in academic fiction, Duffleman, or “Duffy,” as he’s called, is an adjunct. He works at three Philadelphia colleges, has a part time gig as a security guard, and spends his days hanging on by a thread as he navigates public transportation, chaotic classrooms, and marginalized staff rooms relegated to adjuncts. He’s on the fringe, but also in the fray, as he finds himself dealing with university politics, the real-world politics of a post-9/11 America, and the very sticky politics in classrooms full of students from all manner of classes and backgrounds. The book is fiction, but it’s also been recognized as a manifesto of sorts, even inspiring a new series of comic books.