Week 5, February 22: Proposals for Reform + Reinvention

Amanda Priebe, via Abolition University; fair use

Today we’ll examine myriad stakeholders’ proposals for how we might reform or reinvent the university, and we’ll consider what politics – and what understandings of higher education’s telos – are implied in their various strategies and tactics. We’ll also look ahead to more delimited and concrete realms of intervention where we could focus our efforts for the remainder of the semester. 

Academic Object Analysis Presentations: Ramon, Maria + Ayo

In-Class Activity: Critical Pitch Decks: We’ll take a cue from the professional EdTech “disruptors” by adopting and detourning the “solutions” pitch deck (you might find some examples here). I’ll organize you into small, interdisciplinary teams, and  you’ll develop short slide decks “pitching” the solutions you’d most want to see, to address the institutional or larger political-economic or cultural challenges most pressing for members of your group. Again, as with our syllabus audit, part of our goal is to explore the limits of the deck as a rhetorical tool, as a medium – and to appreciate how higher ed reform requires much more than a Solution™ with venture capital funding 😉 

To Prepare for This Week:

There are plenty of “disruptors” and consultants with ideas about how to revamp or reinvent the university – and plenty of university administrators willing to pay for their insights: 

Abolition, labor organization, and decolonization are quite unlike “disruption!” Please choose at least two of the following: 

Architect Oskar Hansen @ AICA Congress, Wrocław, 1975; photo by S. Stępniewski / Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts Museum; via Yale News; fair use

Supplemental Resources: 

  • *+Sara Ahmed, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (Duke University Press, 2012). 
  • +American Association of University Professors, “In Defense of Knowledge and Higher Education” (2020) – and Judith Butler’s response: “A Dissenting View from the Humanities on the AAUP’s Statement on Knowledge,” AAUP (Spring 2020). 
  • ++Davarian Baldwin’s Stanford Talk (January 26, 2022).
  • Marquis Bay, Jack Halberstam, Bernard Harcourt, Heather Love, Allegra McLeod, and Kendall Thomas, “Praxis 10/13: The Undercommons,” Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, Columbia University (March 7, 2019). 
  • Gurminder K. Bhambra, Dalia Gebrial, and Kerem Nişancıoğlu, eds., Decolonizing the University (Pluto Press, 2017).  
  • +Steven Czifra, MJ Hart, Ashley Hunt, Alberto Lule, and Joshua Solis, Abolish the University (2020). 
  • Cathy N. Davidson, The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux (Basic Books, 2017); Cathy Davidson, “The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux,” Teaching in Higher Ed [podcast] (September 7, 2017): 0:50 to 24:07. 
  • Decolonizing the University,” University of Cape Town (April 24, 2015) [video: 2:31:33].  
  • Boaventura De Sousa Santos, Decolonising the University. The Challenge of Deep Cognitive Justice (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2020). 
  • +Jay Deshmukh and David Staley, ”The Radical New Models That Could Revolutionize Higher Education,” Times HIgher Education (2021) [video: 49:20]. 
  • Scott Galloway, with Anastasia Crosswhite, Zakiya Smith Ellis, and Bob Shireman, “Future of Higher Ed,” ProfG Live (August 7, 2020) [video: 1:23:00]. 
  • Jesko Fezer and Studio Experimentelles Design, (How) Do We (Want to) Work (Together) as (Socially Engaged) Designers (In Neoliberal Times)? (Sternberg Press, 2021). 
  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019). 
  • Kelly Gillespie and Leigh-Ann Naidoo, “Abolition Pedagogy: Force Fields of Critique,” Critical Times 4:2 (2021): 284-312.  
  • Arthur Levine, The Great Upheaval: Higher Education’s Past, Present, and Uncertain Future (Johns Hopkins University 2021). 
  • ++Max Liboiron, “Oh, Shit… K, Now What? Theories of Change and Infrastructure,” Feminist Publishing and Tech Speaker Series (January 2022) [.video: 9:03 > 19:20.] + Twitter thread with slides (January 25, 2022).
  • +Achille Mbembe, “Dilemmas of Decolonization,” John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University (2017) < video: 1:05:32 >. 
  • Brian McKenna, “Paulo Freife’s Blunt Challenge to Anthropology: Create a Pedagogy of the Oppressed for Your Times,” Critique of Anthropology 33:4 (2013): 447-75. 
  • Michael Meranze and Christopher Newfield, Remaking the University
  • Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, “the university: last words,” FUC (July 9, 2020) [video: 1:55:25]. 
  • David J. Staley, Alternative Universities: Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019). 
  • Sandra Styres (Kanien’kehá:ka), “Literacies of Land: Decolonizing Narratives, Storying, and Literature”  in Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Eve Tuck, and K. Wayne Yang, eds., Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education (Routledge, 2019): 24-37. 
  • Kawa Swisher and Scott Galloway, with Austin Beutner, Wayne Frederick, and Walt Mossberg, “The Psychology of Recovery,” Pivot: Schooled  (September 2, 2020) [video: 1:45:56].
  • +Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1:1 (2012): 1-40. 
  • Whose Crisis? Whose University? Abolitionist Study in and Beyond Global Higher Education,” Duke University, October 11-12, 2019