Institute for Social Justice

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Academics, Publics, Encounters

The 21st Century presents unprecedented challenges to which academics must respond with new ways of thinking and acting. But do these challenges also call on us to think anew what kind of academics we want to be? Do they call on us to think anew the public meaning and form of our activities, and the threatened public spaces and public institutions within which we carry them out? What does relevant research mean in the 21st century – a time when catastrophic possibilities appear to be gathering on several horizons? Do we need also to think anew the question of “relevance”? These are the questions we shall be exploring together in dialogical exchange and exploration in three corresponding sessions.


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Existential-Ethical Questions

Discussion Leaders: Akeel Bilgrami, Nikolas Kompridis, Jacqueline Rose, Magdalena Zolkos

To be an academic is to be a certain kind of subject, a certain kind of person, and our academic disciplines shape and construct the kind of subject and person we become. What kind of academic should we aspire to be under 21st century conditions? What kind of person would that be, in the deepest existential and ethical dimensions of our pedagogy, research, and public lives? How would such an aspiration transform, in turn, the disciplines that shape and construct the personhood and subjectivity of academics?


Publics, Public Goods, and the Publicness of Academic Institutions

Discussion Leaders: Romand Coles, Lia Haro, Jennifer Nedelsky

To what should universities aspire as public institutions and institutions of the public in the midst of an alarming demise of public spaces and devaluation of public goods? Should universities seek to play a significant role in the co-creation of new publics? Should research institutes such as the Institute for Social Justice play a role in co-creation of new publics? Which publics are the publics of academic institutions? How might our responses to these questions influence how we engage the myriad ways in which institutions of higher education and politics are becoming privatized and corporatized?


Friday, 20 May 2016

Relevance and Research

Discussion Leaders: Paul Apostolidis, Rajeev Bhargava, Joseph Carens

What should “relevance” mean for academic researchers and for the publics that they are meant to serve? According to which criteria should “research” be (re)conceived, governed and evaluated? How, and by whom, are those criteria to be determined and institutionalised? Under which conditions of reflection and deliberation should they be formulated and justified? What exemplifications might embody responses to these questions in ways that spur further reflections and transformative practices?


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