[csaa-forum] Out of the Ruins: The University to Come

baden.offord at scu.edu.au baden.offord at scu.edu.au
Tue Aug 30 12:07:48 CST 2011

Out of the Ruins: The University to Come
        Deadline: 02/15/2012            
		Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies
Out of the Ruins: The University to Come
Guest Editors
Bob Hanke (York University) and Alison Hearn (University of Western Ontario)
TOPIA 27, Fall 2012
This special issue of TOPIA seeks contributions (articles, offerings, review essays and book
reviews) that reflect on the contemporary university and its discontents. Fifteen years after
the publication of Bill Readings’ seminal book The University in Ruins and in the wake of

the UK government’s new austerity budget, Nick Couldry and Angela McRobbie proclaim
the death of the English university. In Italy students demonstrating against the Bologna
Process protect themselves from police with giant books. On the heels of severe budget cuts

and increasing privatization in the California state system, protesting students occupy
university buildings, while in British Columbia and Quebec hundreds of students gather for
rallies against spiraling student debt and increasing corporate influence on campus.

Everywhere university systems are being eviscerated by neoliberal logics asserting
themselves even in the face of economic recession. After decades of chronic under-funding
and restructuring, public universities have ceded the university’s public role in a democracy

and embraced “academic capitalism” as a “moral” obligation. Acting as venture capitalists,
they pressure academics to transfer and mobilize knowledge and encourage research
partnerships with private interests; acting as real estate developers, they take over

neighbourhoods with callous disregard for established communities; acting as military
contractors, they produce telecommunications software and light armoured vehicles for
foreign governments; acting as brand managers, they open branch plant campuses around the

world and compete for foreign students who can be charged exorbitant fees for access to a
“first world” education. With tuition fees and student debt on the rise, academic labour is
tiered, cheapened and divided against itself; two-thirds of classes in U.S. colleges and

universities are taught by faculty employed on insecure, non tenure-track contracts. The
casualization of academic labour and a plea for sustainable academic livelihoods were at the
core of the longest strike in English Canadian university history. As collegiality, academic

freedom, and self-governance recede from view, the university remains a terrain of
adaptation and struggle.

We will need all the conceptual tools that cultural studies can muster to analyze the changing
university as the foundation for our academic callings and scholarly practices. In addition to
external influences such as globalization, technoscience, corporatization, mediatization, and

higher education policy, internal managerial initiatives, bureaucratization,
deprofessionalization, structural complicity between administration and faculty, and
intellectual subjectivities must also be analyzed. All of us, no matter what our political

position, must take the time to reflect on the broad questions raised by these changes. Is the
site of the university worth struggling over or re-imagining? Can the neoliberal university be
set against itself? Is it time for reform or exodus? What other practices of knowledge
production, interpretations, modes of organization, and assemblages are possible? This
special issue is designed to reflect upon, analyze and strategize about the past, present and

future of the university.
In addition to these matters of concern, possible topics to further dialogue and enable further
study include but are not limited to:
• analyzing and assessing the crisis of the public university
• implementing globalizations: theory, rhetoric and historical experience
• continuity and transformation in national academic cultures
• the position and role of the arts, humanities and social sciences

• university leaders and university making
managerial theory/practice, academic ethics, and the symbolism of university financeuniversity-private sector intermediaries and initiatives; “innovation” and “creativity” as

alibis for academic capitalism; knowledge “transfer” and “mobilization”
marketing, media relations and the promotional condition of the university
space, time, speed and rhythm in the network university
the professor-entrepreneur, research practice, and the imperative to produce

academic labour, tenure, stratification and precarity
faculty governance, unions and institutional democracy
the indebted, student-worker and the decline of academic study
scholarly disciplines and territories, infrastructure, information practices, communication

and publishing
scholarly community of money: grant agencies, writing, committees and
adjudication media/cultural production and critical/radical pedagogy
the development of knowledge cultures and the expansion of the commons

the university in relation to nearby communities and wider social movements
 resistance, common and counter-knowledge, alternative educational formations
 remaking the public university in Canada and in other national contexts

To view the author guidelines, see

To submit papers (with titles, abstracts and keywords) and supplementary media files online,
you need to register and login to the TOPIA website at

The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2012. Peer review and notification of
acceptance will be completed by May 15, 2012. Final manuscripts accepted for publication
will be due July 5, 2012. Comments and queries can be sent to Bob Hanke bhanke at yorku.ca

or Alison Hearn ahearn2 at uwo.ca.
For more information about TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, visit

Professor Baden Offord
Chair (Visiting Professor) in Australian Studies
Centre for Pacific and American Studies
The University of Tokyo

E: baden.offord at scu.edu.au

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