Stapje voor stapje is de universiteit veranderd in een gestroomlijnde fabriek waar studenten maar in de weg lopen. Het is dan ook de bedoeling dat ze zo kort mogelijk blijven. Het meest duidelijk wordt dit bij de scriptie. Studenten zijn er dan al lang genoeg. Pas als ze eindelijk klaar zijn, ontvangt de universiteit geld voor ze. Die perverse prikkel lokt de terreur van rendementsdenken uit: de scriptie is hét moment waarop studenten nog een staartje studievertraging meepikken en opleidingen doen er alles aan om dat te voorkomen. ‘Naar de 6 toewerken’ was de instructie die mij vroeger bij Communicatiewetenschap werd gegeven.
With the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report on residential schools in June 2015, “Indigenizing the Academy” is a hot topic in Canadian universities. As institutions explore the introduction of Indigenous content, we have to question what is defined as Indigenous content, who this content serves, and how the pursuit of “indigenizing the academy” can easily become exploitative.
In 2013, I helped put together a new syllabus for an Indigenous Philosophy class at my university. The philosophy department wouldn’t consider allowing someone without a PhD in philosophy teach this course, but pairing an Indigenous undergrad with a white philosophy professor was, apparently, acceptable. (Oh, the power dynamics.) Aware of the limitations of our knowledge, we created a course that was largely guest speakers: a roster of amazing Indigenous scholars and elders. This couldn’t have been done, practically or ethically, without immense support from the Indigenous Studies faculty.
Do you work in academic research? If so, you probably have a view on peer review. The system is at the heart of scholarly communication – and it elicits strong opinions from across the community. Many have concerns about the integrity of the process – as demonstrated by the popular hashtag #sixwordpeerreview, which mocks short, unhelpful feedback.
Our year-long research project set out to explore the best approaches to peer review, canvassing the opinions of academic authors, reviewers and the journal editors who oversee the process.
Researchers from across the sciences, social sciences, medicine and humanities were asked to complete a survey or take part in focus groups in China, the UK and South Africa. More than 7,400 responded, answering questions on the purpose of peer review, the prevalence of ethical issues, timeframes, and how comfortable (or not) they were with the different peer review models.
“We are in the midst of a crisis of massive proportions and grave global significance. No, I do not mean the global economic crisis….I mean a crisis that goes largely unnoticed, like a cancer; a crisis that is likely to be, in the long run, far more damaging to the future of democratic self-government: a world-wide crisis in education.” That’s the opening blast from Martha Nussbaum’s new book, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities.
She starts by identifying a global trend. Policy-makers, universities, and even entire nations are discarding the humanities and focusing instead on academic subjects linked to economic growth. She then makes a case for a connection between liberal arts education, free-thinking citizens, and healthy democracy. Pull the plug on the liberal arts, and you no longer have the sort of people able to do the things required for democratic citizenship. Barely a page into the book and we’re warned that “nations all over the world will soon be producing generations of useful machines, rather than complete citizens who can think for themselves, criticise tradition, and understand the significance of another person’s sufferings and achievements. The future of the world’s democracies hangs in the balance.” Strong stuff. Are things really that bad?
“I don’t write in this alarmist way usually,” she says, “in fact in my book Cultivating Humanity the whole point was to say that insofar as higher education is concerned the changes that we’re seeing are on balance very positive. We’re confronting the new complexity of the world better. We’re educating ourselves about women, about race, about non-western cultures much better. But now, I feel, it’s not true any longer.”
Read more: http://www.philosophersmag.com/the-end
Recently, I found out that my work is mentioned in a book that has been banned, in effect, from the schools in Tucson, Arizona. The anti-ethnic studies law passed by the state prohibits teachings that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” and/or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” I invite you to read the book in question, titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, so that you can decide for yourselves whether it qualifies.
In fact, I invite you to take on as your summer reading the astonishingly lengthy list of books that have been removed from the Tucson public school system as part of this wholesale elimination of the Mexican-American studies curriculum. The authors and editors include Isabel Allende, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Kozol, Rudolfo Anaya, bell hooks, Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, Howard Zinn, Rodolfo Acuña, Ronald Takaki, Jerome Skolnick and Gloria Anzaldúa. Even Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and Shakespeare’s The Tempest received the hatchet.
Stephanie Kitchen ~ Guest blog: ‘Publish Or Perish In African Studies: New Ways To Valorize Research
The well attended panel (with standing room only) raised a number of salient points and debates about publishing in Africa and African Studies. Hartmut Bergenthum introduced the panel that aimed to bring together academics, publishers and librarians to discuss the changes from traditional (print) to new (digital) publishing models and how they are used to support and valorize research.
Jos Damen (ASC, Leiden) helpfully identified the main current models of journal publication. Journals are funded by (i) subscriptions, (ii) organizations and institutions, or (iii) are open access funded by authors; or else they are a hybrid of these models. Looking at the top ten journals in African Studies as measured by Impact Factor, it is noticeable that only one of these is fully open access – Africa Spectrum, funded by the German GIGA Institute of African Affairs.