Saturday, November 26, 2011

Science-Policy conference

Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology conference on

Science-Policy Interactions and Social Values

at the University of Texas at Dallas
April 13-14th, 2012

Keynote Speaker: Kevin Elliott, University of South Carolina

The Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology seeks proposals for papers and symposia for a conference to wrap up our 2011-2012 public lecture series on "Funded and Forbidden Knowledge: Science, Politics, and Cultural Values." The conference will be interdisciplinary, engaging the areas of science and technology studies, history and philosophy of science, science and technology policy studies, ethics and political philosophy, and science policy in exploring the interactions between science and policy-making, with special attention to the role of values in those interactions.

In these areas of scholarship, several categories of discussion concerning science and policy have emerged. Some focus on the role of science in the policy process, while others look at the inverse relationship of how politics influence scientific research. Some approach the topic in a very empirically grounded and particularistic fashion, while others take a normative approach and aim for general accounts. While there have been important interdisciplinary conferences in this area, the scholarship remains somewhat disjointed and piecemeal, whereas tackling the major issues in this area requires thinking across such boundaries. This conference will emphasize that the relationship between science and politics is mutually influential rather than unidirectional; it will emphasize the importance of normative or critical approaches that are also empirically grounded in the practice of science and realities of political institutions. We seek submissions that bring to the forefront issues of values in science-policy interactions.

Suggested topics (not an exhaustive list):

* Democratization of science
* Evidence-based policy
* Policy and the value-free ideal of science
* Forms of scientific and political representation
* Theories of scientific expertise
* Models of science advising
* History of science policy
* Lessons from environmental policy-making
* Scientific expertise and political advocacy
* Commercialization of science and the public good
* The aims of science and choice of research priorities
* Science and justice in political institutions
* Science, non-scientific views, and public reason
* Expertise and elitism in democratic deliberation
* Science and democracy in comparative and international contexts
* The influence of science on ethical values, and political ideals
* Obstacles to socially or politically responsible science

We're especially interested in proposals that cross the boundaries between already-established research programs.

You should submit your proposal to

We welcome submissions of both individual paper proposals and proposals for symposia and other multi-participant panel formats. For contributed papers, please submit a 250-500 word abstract. For symposia and other multi-participant panels, submit an abstract up to 250 words describing the panel and descriptions of up to 100 words describing each participant's contribution.
Submissions are due January 5, and decisions will be announced by early February.
Send any questions to centerforvaluesutdallas [at]

Organizing Committee
Matthew J. Brown, UT Dallas - Philosophy of Science
Richard Scotch, UT Dallas - Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences
Magdalena Grohman, UT-Dallas - Psychology
Sabrina Starnaman, UT-Dallas - Literary Studies

Program Committee
Heather Douglas, University of Waterloo - Philosophy of Science, Science Policy
Kevin Elliott, University of South Carolina - Philosophy of Science, Applied Ethics
Mark B. Brown, CSU Sacremento - Political Science
Jeremy Farris, Harvard Law School - Political Philosophy

Thursday, November 10, 2011

To Know is Not Enough: Activist Scholarship, Social Change & The Corporate University

The Rouge Forum @ AERA 2012
To Know is Not Enough: Activist Scholarship, Social Change & The Corporate University
Free Interactive Conference Open to All

Friday April 13, 2012
University of British Columbia,
Robson Square Campus
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The theme for the 2012 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association is “Non Satis Scire: To Know Is Not Enough.” It is laudable that AERA is promoting “the use of research to improve education and serve the public good” rather than the mere accumulation of research knowledge, but The Rouge Forum is interested in exploring what it means for scholars, and educators in general, to move beyond “knowing” to the pursuit of activist agendas for social change.

  • What happens when teachers and other academics connect reason to power and power to resistance?
  • How can academic work (in universities and other learning environments) support local and global resistance to global neoliberal capitalism?
  • How do we respond to the obstacles and threats faced as activist scholars?

The Rouge Forum @ AERA will bring together world-renowned scholars, teachers, community organizers, and other activists to discuss these questions and others related to activist scholarship, social change, academic freedom, and work in the corporate university as part of a one-day interactive conference at the Robson Square Campus of University of British Columbia in downtown Vancouver.

What is the Rouge Forum?

The Rouge Forum is a group of educators, students, and parents seeking a democratic society. We are both research and action oriented. We want to learn about equality, democracy and social justice as we simultaneously struggle to bring into practice our present understanding of what that is. We seek to build a caring inclusive community that understands that an injury to one is an injury to all. At the same time, our caring community is going to need to deal decisively with an opposition that is sometimes ruthless.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gigi Roggero on university factories and academia

New book shows how universities in Europe and North American are run like factories and how this affects academic workers

New from Temple University Press:

The Production of Living Knowledge

The Crisis of the University and the Transformation of Labor in Europe and North America

Gigi Roggero

Translated and with a Foreword by Enda Brophy

Publication Date: September 20, 2011

214 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 "

Cloth 978-1-4399-0573-9 $69.50

How universities in Europe and North American are run like factories and how this affects academic workers

Evaluating higher education institutions—particularly the rise of the "global university"—and their rapidly changing role in the global era, Gigi Roggero finds the system in crisis. In his groundbreaking book, The Production of Living Knowledge: The Crisis of the University and the Transformation of Labor in Europe and North America (Publication Date: September 20, 2011), Roggero examines the university system as a key site of conflict and transformation within "cognitive capitalism"—a regime in which knowledge has become increasingly central to the production process at large. Based on extensive fieldwork carried out through the activist method of conricerca, or "co-research," wherein researchers are also subjects, Roggero's book situates the crisis of the university and the changing composition of its labor force against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.

Combining a discussion of radical experiments in education, new student movements, and autonomist Marxian (or post-operaista) social theory, Roggero produces a distinctly transnational and methodologically innovative critique of the global university from the perspective of what he calls "living knowledge."

In light of new student struggles in the United States and across the world, this first English-language edition is particularly timely.

Gigi Roggero is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Politics, Institutions, and History at the University of Bologna. He is a member of the editorial board of WorkingUSA, and the collectives Edu-factory and Uninomade and a regular contributor to Il Manifesto. He is the author of Intelligenze fuggitive: Movimenti contro l'università-azienda, and co-author (with Guido Borio and Francesca Pozzi) of Futuro anteriore: Dai "Quaderni Rossi" ai movimenti globali: Ricchezze e limiti dell'operaismo italiano.

For a Review Copy, please contact:

Temple University Press

Phone: 215-926-2154

Fax: 215-926-2141

Email: Gary Kramer

Wednesday, August 3, 2011



Dear Colleagues,

As detailed below, Greek public universities are in danger of being demolished by the new higher education bill the government will propose to Parliament for voting within the next couple of weeks. Please help us stop the voting of the bill by signing the petition.

If you agree with the call that follows, please sign the petition and forward it to as many colleages as possible.

Judith Butler, Slavoj Zizek and Noam Chomsky have signed it, among others.

with many thanks and best wishes



To the international academic community

PUBLIC Greek Universities in Danger

In the last few years, a wave of ‘reforms’ within the European Union and throughout the world has subjected Higher Education to the logic of the market. Higher Education has increasingly been transformed from a public good and a civil right to a commodity for the wealthy. The self-government of Universities and the autonomy of academic processes are also being eroded. The processes of knowledge production and acquisition, as well as the working conditions of the academic community, are now governed by the principles of the private sector, from which Universities are obliged to seek funds.
Greece is possibly the only European Union country where attempts to implement these ‘reforms’ have so far failed. Important factors in this failure are the intense opposition of Greek society as well as the Greek Constitution, according to which Higher Education is provided exclusively by public, fully self-governed and state-funded institutions.
According to the existing institutional framework for the functioning of Universities, itself the result of academic and student struggles before and after the military dictatorship (1967-1974), universities govern themselves through bodies elected by the academic community. Although this institutional framework has contributed enormously to the development of Higher Education in Greece, insufficient funding and suffocating state control, as well as certain unlawful and unprofessional practices by the academic community, have rendered Higher Education reform necessary.
The current government has now hastily attempted a radical reform of Higher Education. On the pretext of the improvement of the ‘quality of education’ and its harmonization with ‘international academic standards’, the government is promoting the principles of ‘reciprocity’ in Higher Education. At the same time, it is drastically decreasing public funding for education (up to 50% decrease) which is already amongst the lowest in the European Union. New appointments of teaching staff will follow a ratio 1:10 to the retirement of existing staff members. This will have devastating results in the academic teaching process as well as in the progress of scientific knowledge.
The government proposals seek to bypass the constitutional obligations of the state towards public Universities and abolish their academic character.
  • The self-government of Universities will be circumvented, with the current elected governing bodies replaced by appointed ‘Councils’ who will not be accountable to the academic community.
  • The future of Universities located on the periphery, as well as of University departments dedicated to ‘non-commercial’ scientific fields, looks gloomy.
  • Academic staff will no longer be regarded as public functionaries. The existing national payscale is to be abolished and replaced by individualized, ‘productivity’ related payscales, while insecure employment is to become the norm for lower rank employees.
  • Higher Education will be transformed into ‘training’ and, along with research, gradually submitted to market forces.
The government proposals have been rejected by the Greek academic community. The Council of Vice-Chancellors and the Senates of almost all Universities have publicly called the government to withdraw the proposals and have suggested alternative proposals which can more effectively deal with the problems of Greek Universities. Despite this, the government proceeds with promoting its proposals, in confrontation with the entire academic community.
We appeal to our colleagues from the international academic community, who have experienced the consequences of similar reforms, to support us in our struggle to defend education as a public good. We fight, together with our British, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and other colleagues, for the respect of the academic tradition of the European universitas in current conditions.

We ask you to send electronically the appeal below, signed with your name and indicating your academic status and institutional affiliation, to the Initiative of Greek Academics ( or sign online at

The support of the international academic community will prove invaluable for the upcoming developments not only in Greek Universities but in respect to public European Higher Education as a whole.

Initiative of Greek academics

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No confidence in the policies of the UK Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts

The following is from the ‘Campaign for the Public University’:

1) Both the Oxford and Cambridge campaigns for higher education have been in the news over the last week for their proposals for a vote of no confidence in the policies of the Minister for Higher Education, David Willetts. Oxford has also asked for national support for this campaign. You can join the campaign by following the link below and going to the 'Join Us' page. Their vote will take place on Tuesday 7th June and it would be helpful to get as many people signing up in support before then as possible.

2) Online petitions have also started at the Universities of Warwick and Goldsmiths. If there are any other petitions happening at other institutions, please get in touch with the Oxford campaign.

3) News emerged today of a new private institution established by the philosopher A. C. Grayling together with, what seem to be, a number of venture capitalists. This is the New College of the Humanities which will offer a predominantly humanities curriculum and will start admitting students in 2012-13. It is planning to charge £18,000 per year.

4) For a number of critical weblogs on this news, see the following articles:

Ginsberg vs. NCSU. Support for Ginsberg sorely needed

We have mentioned this case before (here). This time, we decided to reproduce the full letter from Terri Ginsberg and her Legal Team, as they urgently need support.
UP webmaster.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As you know, I have been involved over the past three years in waging a lawsuit against North Carolina State University (NCSU). The lawsuit contests the University's decision to dismiss me from my teaching position after it suppressed my speech and retaliated against me for my teaching and scholarship critical of Zionism and Israeli policy and supportive of the Palestinian liberation struggle. Since my dismissal from NCSU, I have sought redress from the University, first by exhausting all on-campus and local remedies, then by filing a constitutional lawsuit against NCSU and the larger University of North Carolina system of which it is a part.

I am writing you today, with great appreciation for your prior support, to ask you once again to help me continue my struggle. My case has been long and arduous. As of this writing, its combined Record runs more than 500 pages. As outlined on my case blog (, the lawsuit entered litigation in December 2009. In May 2010, the parties underwent a mediation hearing mandated by the State of North Carolina; the University offered me a ridiculously small sum and no reinstatement, whereupon no settlement was reached. A week of depositions followed. When the discovery period ended, the case underwent a Summary Judgment hearing on October 25, 2010, for which the case was dismissed summarily, perfunctorily, without reason; the judge, Shannon Joseph, simply issued a boilerplate "decision" that basically "just says no."

In fact, NCSU admitted during deposition hearings that it suppressed my speech critical of Zionism and supportive of the Palestinian liberation struggle while I was under its employ as a visiting professor, and that it chose not to interview or hire me for a tenure-track position because of my scholarship focusing on Palestine/Israel, the Middle East, and the „Jewish.‰ Amazingly, the University claims that it has the right to suppress, refuse and reject on the basis of these considerations! Notwithstanding this admission and the fact that my attorneys presented a mountain of circumstantial evidence and were able to rebut NCSU's stated reasons for its actions against me, the judge ignored it all without explanation. By thus dismissing the case, Judge Joseph essentially decided that academic speech critical of Zionism and supportive of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim perspectives is not protected by the free speech provision (Article I, section 14) of the North Carolina Constitution.

In a few short weeks, my legal team, headed by Rima Najjar Kapitan (, will file an Appellate Brief with the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and an Appeal Hearing will be held subsequently, most likely in late August or early September. This appeal process is extremely important, for here is our opportunity to expose and contest Judge Joseph's irrational refusal to allow my case to be properly heard by a jury of my peers. We aim to ensure that I be given the fair hearing I deserve and that is my rightful due.

However, I cannot move forward without your continued support. While my legal team has been more than generous with their time, and firm in their commitment, litigation fees are unfortunately non-negotiable. Furthermore, since leaving NCSU, I have been un(der)employed and continue to seek gainful employment in the field of higher education. Under the circumstances, and recognizing the many other pressing issues which face our communities and require urgent support at this time, I must now ask once again for your help as we approach this crucial moment of our struggle.

If you are able to give, please kindly make your check payable to Kapitan Law Office, with "Ginsberg vs. NCSU" written on the comment line. The funds will be held in a client trust account until they are needed for litigation costs. All unused funds will be donated to a worthy Palestinian organization. Checks should be mailed to:

Rima Najjar Kapitan, Esq.

Kapitan Law Office, Ltd.

300 South Wacker Drive

Suite 1700A

Chicago, IL 60606 USA

Thank you in advance for your efforts, generosity, and continued support.

In appreciation and solidarity,

Terri Ginsberg and her Legal Team

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Necessity, Choice and the Future of Universities

by Tim May*

Conflicting strategies that internalise ambiguities are being perpetuated in universities. Academics receive communications from central management concerning the importance of engagement and knowledge transfer activities, whilst also being urged to target a narrow list of journals in ever more rapid timeframes in order to meet the next round of evaluation exercises.

Communications become disjointed. Tensions dominate in the translation of strategic direction through faculty and institutional structures to individual academics; all ably assisted by universities collecting enormous amounts of information that has no bearing upon the capacity for creating intelligence.

Wholehearted embrace of the current crisis as an opportunity is a familiar route. Along with a new modus operandi come disparaging backward glances at those who do not understand the apparent self-evidence of the new realities, as if history had no bearing upon the present. Within the context of the university as a whole, the effect is to further uncertainty concerning its social, economic and cultural purpose.

The potential to identify the distinctiveness of the university as an institution then diminishes and along with that goes its long-term viability. Paradoxically, in these seats of learning, there is little active engagement that challenges pre-conceptions and limited hierarchies of knowledge are perpetuated. Given the important role of universities in society as a challenge to short-termism, learning is the casualty.

The contemporary climate surrounding universities, defined by the idea of the free market and its penetration into knowledge-based institutions, has led to a significant shift in values. These have been exemplified in corporate re-branding, institutional restructuring and strategic orientation, as well as attribution of high value to particular forms of knowledge.

These shifts have re-cast what has been traditionally recognized as the university. However, just as there is no single history of the university, there is no single present. A variety of strategic responses exist that refract and mediate external values and lead to particular effects for the work that is performed within them.

University managers construct views of the position of their institutions and then mobilize differential resources to secure their reproduction. That, in turn, leads to an embrace of particular conceptions of what is required for ‘moving forward’. The apparent choice that comes with occupying such positions then evaporates in the face of necessity.

In wholesale translation of current conditions, we see higher education institutions subject to centralisation. The result is to sever, even more, the connection between purpose and process through a growing pre-occupation with organisational control for its own sake.

These external necessities are increasingly judged in terms of ‘business performance’ through extended regulatory systems, performance indicators and so forth, but not by reference to a public service ethic or set of well articulated and defensible professional values. Overall, institutions then move away from accountability based on common understandings of purpose, to narrow indicators of process-based performance.

The consequence is a separation between the production and dissemination of knowledge in its context through a whole series of attempts to determine the ‘how’ of practice through modes of surveillance that include workload balancing models. The overall result is that the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of knowledge is subsumed within the narrow confines of the measurability of ‘what’: external income generation, citation indexes, staff-student ratios; league tables and types of publication.

With full-scale translation we see universities increasingly modelling themselves in the images of businesses and operating as significant economic actors in their own right. Estates are then managed with profit and optimisation in mind, rather than the provision of places to furnish and support the institution’s cognitive requirements. New buildings are celebrated through allusion to ‘iconic’ status, but the reasons for their existence and the distinctive nature of the practices that will take place within them becomes of secondary consideration.

The external generation of finance is a tool to supplement reduction in the balance sheet, replacing any notion of civic responsibility, whilst economic output is translated into intellectual property and commodified through new organisational units that are designed to undertake activities called ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘engagement’.

Practices are created which represent only highly selected facets of what an institution actually does on a daily basis. In terms of divisions of labour from the core functions of teaching, research and third mission activities, the efforts of making connections become an afterthought displaced within the organisation as a whole.

An analysis of different forms of values in these processes would require a degree of institutional reflexivity that is rare. Why? Because that would require a confidence among university managers in their capacity to engage in debate that is actually aimed at meaningful change based on recognition of constituent groups. Managerial prerogatives would then be open to contestation. Instead, we typically see ‘external’ individuals, usually consultants, brought in to advise on appropriate models for success, even though the knowledge they produce is actually based on learning from individuals within the organisation itself.

In the absence of a developed understanding - requiring recognition that the direct relation between position and control is a fantasy - the link between positioning and representation of the institution lies in a relationship between recognition, reward and promotion criteria as judged by those who do not have direct acquaintance with practice and its consequences.

Strategic managers – everyone is now ‘strategic’ - seek to represent universities in terms of economic relevance, but their internal dictates miss their mark without a clear understanding of occupational cultures, why they exists and how they operate. Yet to embark upon a sustained examination of this type means recognising that the object of control might just be the subject of institutional distinction.

Demands for flexibility then sit alongside those of standardization. Engagement between disciplines and between disciplines and institutions and the outside world is directly informed by structural and bureaucratic lines of accountability and management. Vertical (managerial control) and horizontal deadlock (professional cultures) emerge that limits the capacity for innovations to emerge out or across institutions, whilst preserving their sense of purpose and confidence in an otherwise fluid world.

Whilst there is no doubt that universities are facing profound changes, alternatives do exist to the narrowness of current thinking. The weight of effort is towards silencing these as if they were ‘idealistic’. The fear and anxiety that saturates these institutions is not well served by this myopia. An enlarged body of civic interests need to be involved in their futures and these are voices which have historically been excluded. Without this in place, we will return to a narrow elitism based on nothing more than a retreat to the past.

*) Tim May is Professor and Director at Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures (SURF), University of Salford, Manchester.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rouge Forum 2011 (Chicago): Call for Proposals

The Rouge Forum 2011: Call for Papers

Education and the State: A Critical Antidote to the Commercialized, Racist, and Militaristic Social Order

The Rouge Forum 2011 will be held at Lewis University. The University’s main campus is located in Romeoville, IL, which is 30 minutes southwest of Chicago, IL. The conference will be held May 19-22.

Proposals for papers, panels, performances, workshops, and other multimedia presentations should include title(s) and names and contact information for presenter(s). The deadline for sending proposals is March 22. The Steering Committee will email acceptance or rejection notices by April 1. The proposal formats available to the presenters are as follows:

Bringing together academic presentations and performances (from some of the most prominent voices for democratic, critical, and/or revolutionary pedagogy), panel discussions, community-building, and cultural events, this action-oriented conference will center on questions such as:

  • Transforming the notion of “saving public education” to one of creating education in the public interest, what does teaching and learning for a democratic society look like?

  • How do we educate the public and our youth to understand the implications of “saving public education” through corporate and militaristic practices, such as standardized examinations, zero-tolerance policies, charter schools, and corporate donations?

  • How will educational initiatives supported by the Obama Administration and many other politicians impact teachers, students, and communities across the US?

  • What does education for liberation look like compared to the more socially reproductive/dominating education we see in many of our nation’s schools?

  • What debts will future generations, including the students we may teach, carry because our financial, governmental, and military endeavors have not been concerned with public goods?

Proposal Formats

Individual Proposal: (45 minutes)
The Rouge Forum welcomes individual paper proposals, with the understanding that those accepted will be grouped together around common or overlapping themes, Presenters will have approximately 45 minutes to present or summarize their individual papers. Individual paper submissions will be considered for panels with the same topic/theme. If you would prefer to present your paper/research individually you should consider the alternative format proposal. A 300-500 word abstract of the paper will be peer reviewed for acceptance to the conference.

Symposium Proposal: (90 minutes)
Presenters are also welcomed to submit proposals for a symposium. A symposium is typically composed of a chair and discussant and three to five participants who present or summarize their papers. Each symposium is organized around a common theme. Each participant will have between 15 and 45 minutes to present their papers, depending upon the number of participants involved in the symposium. A 300-500 word abstract of the symposium will be peer reviewed for acceptance to the conference.

Panel Proposal: (90 minutes)
A panel discussion is another venue available presenters. A panel discussion is typically composed of three to six participants who discuss their scholarly work within the context of a dialogue or conversation on a topic or theme related to the conference theme. Typically, each panelist is given 10-15 minutes to discuss the topic, present theoretical ideas, and/or point to relevant research. A chair should be identified who introduces the panel and frames the issues and questions being addressed. In addition to the chair, we encourage (but do not require) organizers of panels to include a discussant who responds to the comments of the panelists. Individual proposal submissions will be combined into panels with the same theme/topic. A 300-500 word abstract of the panel discussion will be peer reviewed for acceptance to the conference.

Alternative Format and Special Interest Groups (90 minutes)
Alternative proposals that do not fit into the above categories, such as workshops, performances, video and multimedia presentations, and round-table dialogues, are encouraged. We also welcome proposals for the organization of special interest groups. A 150-250 word abstract of the panel discussion will be peer reviewed for acceptance to the conference.

Email proposals to conference coordinator Brad Porfilio, by March 22, 2011.

Additional information on Rouge Forum 2011 is available at