Implementing Rest as Resistance

Balancing care for students, community, and self


  • Dresden Frazier University of San Francisco
  • Karin Cotterman



This article seeks to examine the tensions between the culture of higher education, the needs community and the ways that antiblackness and intersectionality impact students, faculty, staff and communities of color utilizing Hersey’s (2022) Rest is Resistance as a framework for analysis. Hersey offers up rest as an act of collective care, linking directly to the current and historical experience of Black Americans. She acknowledges that American capitalism was birthed on plantations, through the forced and violent labor of enslaved Black people. In opposition to white supremacist work culture, Hersey proposes that liberation “resides in our deprogramming and tapping into the power of rest and in our ability to be flexible and subversive” (Hersey, 2022, p.16). In alignment with community engaged values of decolonizing the institution and our minds, staff and faculty have the opportunity to be a model of a well worker, a person unwilling to donate their body to capitalism. Higher education professionals sit at one point of the triangle balanced between students' needs and community needs. Hersey offers one guide to unlearn grind culture and critically examine what sacrifices are asked of staff, faculty, students, and partners, as well as the consequences of those sacrifices.


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