Since almost every one of her columns for Al Jazeera English goes viral, you may have heard of Dr. Sarah Kendzior, a PhD anthropologist who left academia and has transformed into a ferocious social critic who takes up the cause of economic exploitation around the world. Her intellectual voice is the equivalent of a Les Paul through a 100 watt Marshall amp – broad, powerful and piercing because of its rigor and lack of compromise. Her main theme is that our intellectual regime – whether the professoriate or the media – has become a thin cover for concentrated wealth dressed as cognitive merit. The proliferation of no-pay internships and endless credentials is a covert way to make sure only those with existing privilege are taken seriously. She is ripping those assumptions apart piece by piece through relentless research, analysis and writing.
Or as she puts it, “Kendzior is Polish for ‘bullshit detector.'”
The utter seriousness and contrarian pose of her writing is what happens when institutions fail and truly talented individuals – not the mealy-mouthed, obsequious scions of privilege – are discarded and left to their own devices. Their analytical techniques are then aimed at rooting out the corruption of the institution itself.
These days, Dr. Kendzior will have no shortage of corruption and ridiculousness to keep her writing. Tune in for the fireworks. I suspect she is only warming up.