FUTUREU Forum with Professor Claire Polster, “Resisting the Neoliberal University”

FRIDAY, MAY 19, 1:30-3p, Eastern. Participation via ZOOM. Contact Frank Fear at fear@msu for the link.

For those of us who have long been concerned about the neoliberalization of North American and other universities, now is a particularly disheartening time. Not only do longstanding issues of managerialism, commercialization, audit culture, surveillance, precarity, and others persist, but there are renewed assaults on tenure, academic freedom, and the discussion – let alone remediation – of inequality and social injustice. After so many years of dealing with, critiquing, and challenging neoliberalization, why our resistance is so seemingly ineffective is worth asking. In this talk, I answer this question by critiquing our general approach to making change and highlighting an important missing piece in our activism. I also encourage collective discussion of alternatives to enhance our resistance’s scope and effectiveness.

Claire Polster is a Sociology and Social Studies Professor at the University of Regina. Her research focuses on the ongoing transformation of Canadian (and other Western systems of) higher education and its implications for the public interest. She has published widely on, and worked collectively with others to redress, various higher education issues, including government policy and policy-making related to universities, the privatization and commodification of academic research, and the erosion of university autonomy, democracy, and collegialism. Along with Janice Newson, she is co-editor of Academic Callings: The University We Have Had, Now Have, and Could Have and co-author of A Penny For Your Thoughts: How Corporatization Devalues Teaching, Research, and Public Service in Canada’s Universities. She was also a co-founder of the University of Regina Faculty of Arts’ Community Research Unit. Claire may be reached at claire.polster@uregina.ca.

Rubén O. Martinez will host the program. He is a professor emeritus of sociology and director emeritus of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University. Dr. Martinez initiated FutureU. Nathan Rousseau, professor of sociology at Indiana University Purdue University Columbus and frequent FutureU contributor, will serve as the session discussant.

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