Dr Eleni Schirmer (2022-2023)
Ph.D. Educational Policy Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison (2019)
Eleni Schirmer is the Social Justice Centre's Barry Pashak postdoc researcher, a freelance writer and an organizer with the Debt Collective. She conducts qualitative and historical research the rise of debt-financed public education.
As an interdisciplinary scholar, she explores inequality as a set of power relationships that are materially-based, historically-formed, and malleable to change. How is inequality not only an economic and political force, but also a finely-textured, vividly-experienced human phenomenon? How do individuals not merely endure inequality but come together to resist and re-imagine it? To answer these questions, she searches for narratives that convey the complexity of the political economy and its influence on ordinary people’s daily lives. She is working on a book about debt and time.
In 2021, she was a researcher at the Future of Finance Initiative (UCLA, Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy).
She received the 2020 Frank L. Zeidler Labor History Award from the Wisconsin Labor History Society for her paper, “‘Power Is Only What You Chose To Do With It’: The Social Movements the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association Spurned, 1970-1974”.
She recently published, with colleagues, “The other college debt crisis: institutional debt and higher education organizing” in The Journal of Academic Freedom, 2020, Vol. 12.
Her paper “Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste: Organizing Opportunities for Labor Activists during Covid-19” (co-written with R. Tarlau) is forthcoming in the Journal of Labor and Society.
Her work also appeared in many large audience journals:
- The Aging Student Debtors of America, The New Yorker, July 27, 2022
- We’re Burying Our Kids in Debt (Just Not The Way You Think), The New York Times, August 27, 2021
- The Fight for Fifteen at an Orlando McDonald’s, The New Yorker, February 15, 2021
- It’s Not Just Students Drowning in Debt. Colleges Are Too! The Nation, November 2020
- Jane McAlevey’s Vision for the Future of American Labor, The New Yorker, June 10, 2020
For more information, visit Eleni Schirmer's website.