Finding Your Purpose

Illustration of woman with her back turned, sitting at a table with a lamp and a thermos. Her right hand is raised and holding a pencil. The background is sunset colors, red, yellow and orange. The image is framed on both sides with columns of purple crocuses against a black background.

This episode is the edited version of a live event held on June 17 2022 to celebrate the launch of Finding Your Purpose: a Higher Calling Workbook for Justice-Oriented Scholars in an Unjust World.

Higher Calling is a project for everyone who decided to become a scholar because they believed in the mission of higher education, and specifically, for everyone who saw participating in and working for higher education as a way to turn the pursuit of justice into a career. It aims to help you understand how to better align a career in academia with your sense of purpose; how to recognize when your purposes are no longer served by academia; how to pursue scholarly purpose outside of an academic career; and when and how to fight back against the broken system which is higher education in the United States.

At times, one may wonder if the compromises are too great, the labor conditions untenable, or the barriers to doing meaningful work too high. This project aims to help you navigate these moments alone and in community through essays, exercises, and rituals.

You can download the workbook here.


Hannah Alpert-Abrams organizes the Visionary Futures Collective, and writes about labor, technology, and higher education.

Matt Cohen is a professor of English and scholar of Early American literature at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Sonya Donaldson is a professor of English and scholar of Africana studies at New Jersey City University.

Quinn Dombrowski is an academic technology specialist and digital humanist at Stanford University.

Carter Hogan is a writer and new trans folk musician based in Austin, Texas.

Image: © 2022 Saronik Bosu

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