Reworking the University: Visions, Strategies, Demands Call for Ideas

April 24-26, 2009, University of Minnesota

 

The current “financial meltdown” has exacerbated the ongoing crises within the university, resulting in even greater budget cuts, tuition hikes, hiring freezes and layoffs. Responses from university administrations have been predominantly reactive and have served to fortify the university as an institution of neoliberal capitalism. The administration and others have narrated this crisis as an external force that, while dramatic in the short run, can nonetheless be managed properly.  It is clear to many, however, that the neoliberal logic that has been used to transform the university over the past few decades has failed at a systemic level; the neoliberal death spiral has come home to the university.

In contrast to these reactionary responses, we seek to create a space for collective re-evaluation of the university in crisis as an opportunity for real transformation. Last year’s conference, “Rethinking the University: Labor, Knowledge, Value” (April 2008), sought to challenge the supposed inevitability of the neoliberal university.  As a continuation of this project, “Reworking the University” seeks to draw together academics, artists, and activists, to share and produce political visions, strategies and demands for building an alternative university in common.

“Reworking the University” seeks to generate a vibrant, political exchange by troubling the traditional format of the academic conference.  To this end, we hope to produce spaces for individuals and groups from different backgrounds and across a variety of institutional boundaries to converge.  While the conference will include the presentation of papers on the topic of “Reworking the University,” the committee’s selection process will prioritize workshops, roundtables, trainings, art installations, film screenings, performances, and other forms of creative engagement.

The conference organizing collective has selected several questions and themes that emerged out of the 2008 conference that we will address in various formats. If you have interest in participating, please provide us with a description of your proposed contribution.  We encourage you to self-organize a session (i.e. a performance, workshop, roundtable, training, etc.) and submit it as a whole.  Feel free to use the blog (http://rethinkingtheu.wordpress.com) to help facilitate session organizing.

Below is a list of possible topics and we, of course, welcome additional suggestions.  In submitting your ideas for sessions, please give us as much information as possible—suggestions for themes, other participants and the session format.  

The Reworking the University conference coincides with “Reclaim Your Education – Global Week of Action 2009” (April 20-27: http://www.emancipating-education-for-all.org/). Organizers also encourage suggestions for additional actions as part of this event.  



Send your submissions (of up to 500 words) to comradmn@gmail.com.  The deadline for submissions is February 10, 2009. 

The schedule and proceedings from last year’s conference can be found at: makeumnpublic.org/conference

Sincerely,

Committee on Revolutionizing the Academy (ComRAD)

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