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Rutgers Climate Lectures Series presents, Prof. Jennifer Morton (UPenn)
Thursday, April 14, 2022, 03:00pm - 05:00pm
Title: "Who Bears the Burden of Transformation?"
In this talk, I consider the transformative potential of higher education. I argue that some strivers, my term for first-generation/low-income students, find that pursuing higher education can lead to a transformative experience that cleaves their evaluative outlook. These students are torn between old sources of value—family and community—and new ones—education and career. This is not due to some inherent features of the values at stake but, largely, the unjust opportunity structure in our society. This unjust distribution makes it expensive for strivers to continue to hold on to some existing values if they want to pursue mobility. However, I argue that reflecting on this case also shows us that this same system makes it too easy for non-strivers to disengage from those sources of value. I argue that although Strivers bear the brunt of the cost of how this system undercuts our engagement with the value of community, non-strivers are not exempt from its consequences.