Category Archives: Uncategorized


An Ugly Lesson in Repression at Cambridge University

The following is a guest post by Thomas Glave, a 2012 Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University and a professor of English at SUNY Binghamton. He is the author of several books, most recently The Torturer’s Wife (City Lights).


I am a fiction and nonfiction writer, and a Visiting Fellow this year at Cambridge University. This week, I participated in a silent protest attended by more than one hundred Cambridge students and several lecturers, in response to the University’s recent rusticatio…


¿Quién debe pagar por la educación?

Las recientes demostraciones estudiantiles en Chile y Colombia son motivo de preocupación de sus respectivos gobiernos. En el centro del debate se plantea una interrogante simple para la cual no existe una respuesta sencilla: ¿quién se supone que debe pagar por la educación de los habitantes de un país?, ¿deben pagar los propios estudiantes y sus familias o el gobierno?, ¿debe ofrecerse subsidio directo  a los estudiantes o deben ser las instituciones de educación superior las que …


A Summer Attempt at Escaping Higher Education, Thwarted

I went on a vacation to escape academe, or, in my case, the job of observing it. I looked forward to not having to worry about conference programs, campus visits, and interviews. I packed shorts instead of a suit. Of course, summer vacations are part of the rhythm of many academic lives. Professors often flee classrooms and head to coasts, mountains, and lakeshores. Students head out from dorms to become interns, caddies, and camp counselors. I went to Croatia, seeking some adventure, cheap wine…


On Ceremony and Ritual

We often downplay the importance of ceremony and ritual in university life. But, having just come to the end of a graduation week with eleven graduation ceremonies in total, I can report that ceremony is alive and kicking. There are the special (and usually very hot and heavy) robes, the procession in academic dress, the mace, the special music (Warwick’s anthem was specially composed for the university by Michael Nyman), the presentation of the honorary graduate, and so on.

Graduation ceremonie…


The Implicit Constitution

A recent piece by Michael Kennedy in the edited collection by Rhoten and Calhoun that I referred to in the last blog argues, in a discussion of diversity and its ramifications, that though universities are often considered to be public goods, they rarely specify what the publics in public good is. After all, as John Dewey famously pointed out, there are many publics. But ‘there is no academic agenda that explains sufficiently why university resources should be devoted to particular publics in …


Aussies, Acronyms, and Accountability

Quick quiz for non-Australians: In a post-AUQA world, how will TEQSA make sensible use of the AQF, the ERA, the CEQ, the AUSSE, and perhaps the CLA?  As DEEWR adds the functions of the recently abolished ALTC to its many other responsibilities, how useful will the government’s new My University web site be when it is unveiled later this year? Will the imminent “uncapping” of government-sponsored university places, in tandem with a new funding system in which government dollars follow stud…


Why So Few Ethnographies?

Ethnography is one of the standard research tools used by academics in the social sciences and humanities nowadays. Surprising then that academia often seems remarkably under-studied in ethnographic terms. One would have thought that universities would be fertile ground for ethnographers but there are surprisingly few studies available that I know of.

When I was at Oxford, I could never fully understand why there was no concentrated ethnographic study of an Oxford college. The nearest seemed to …


Vientos de cambio en la educación superior en el mundo: ¿Hacia donde nos llevan?

No muchos países a nivel mundial están llevando a cabo reformas significativas en su sistema de educación superior. Es bien sabido que impulsar cambios radicales en la educación superior es una propuesta riesgosa que no todos los gobiernos están dispuestos a considerar debido a sus altas implicaciones políticas. ¿Hay algunas lecciones que se pueden aprender de aquellos países que han optado por impulsar tales reformas? ¿El tipo de cambios que se están llevando a cabo en algunos países…


On Offices

I am writing this blog in a cramped study at home, cramped because it is full of piles of books and paper. The room is my ‘real research’ office as opposed to my office in work where I would never dream of writing anything, except maybe a few letters. This work pattern is reproduced throughout academe: the real office is at wherever counts as home, away from the distractions (well, if you have children, some of them, at least).

It is not a pattern that applies equally to all of academe, of cours…


On Metaphysics, Vocational Degrees, and Vegemite

A few thoughts after six days in Sydney:

* It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Traveling across the international date line is really weird. It’s not just the specifics: in my case, leaving Washington, DC, on a Monday at 5:30 p.m., changing planes in LA, flying overnight for about 14 hours, then arriving in Australia on Wednesday morning. It’s also the existential question – trying to figure out, in a different sense than the expression usually means, where one’s day went. The best dis…