Traces 5: Universities in Translation
The Mental Labour of Globalization
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
Title Page, Copyright
Statement of Purpose
List of Editors
This volume contains a series of short essays on the contemporary university contributed by scholars who work at diverse sites in Asia, Europe, and North America. Most authors are based at public and private universities in their respective national settings; some work at research institutes or collectives located...
By Way of a Preface, Whither Intellectuals?
A Presentiment of the Death of Intellectuals in Korean Society
Early in 2006, a government report was released describing the future of Korean society as “a global leader in the reconstruction of knowledge” and was highly praised by President Roh Mu Hyun. Together with the “rise of China,” and the “opening of Korean society to the world,” the report named “transition to a...
Humanities Across the Borders: A View from the Periphery
Let me begin by stating the trivial or, at least, what is generally acknowledged: our time witnesses a growing gap between the humanities and the so-called public sphere. It is precisely this gap that generates discussions on the “usefulness” of the humanities: if there seems to be increasing disinterest in the field, then...
Part 1. University Reform and Its Ironies: Globalization as Rhetoric
Academic Capitalism: Toward a Global Free Trade Zone in University Services?
In truth, I had not expected a substantial alteration of this state of affairs in my lifetime. The central problem of the ancien regime had been its lack of an idée directrice — that is, of a normative and institutional minimal consensus among groups responsible for the university about the identity and future of...
The Oxymoron of Higher Education: Neoliberal Restructuring and the Incorporation of Japanese National Universities
Any serious theorization of the restructuring of higher education in the English-speaking world has an essential point of reference: The University in Ruins by Bill Readings. The text of The University in Ruins was translated into Japanese in 2000, but unfortunately was quietly published in the “Universitas Library” series...
The Accountologist: An Emerging Form of Anthropological Life in Mexican Universities
In this paper I look at the current transformations in a Mexican university from an anthropologist’s point of view. As an anthropologist, I explore and recognize the ways in which local transformations, practices, and discourses enact, intersect, and are conditioned by global processes. This is a complex process whereby...
Of Forms and Re-forms in French Higher Education: The Ecole normale supérieure
In the name of the globalized world, the French systematic form of higher education is changing. Many of these changes are not as essential as it is being claimed that they are, but on the other hand, some details in the process may have more consequences than initially expected. This is especially the case when...
From Elitism to Populism: The “Industrial” Model and Chinese Higher Education
In recent years, higher education has time and again become a focal point of intense public discussion in China. Debates over the objectivity of entrance exams, equality in the admissions process, regional disparities in acceptance rates, and the possibility of abolishing the existing admissions system altogether have...
Part 2. University Reform and Bildung: Subjective Technologies, Language, and Colonial Legacies
Once Again, Reinventing Culture: Singapore and “Globalized” Education
Singapore is now in the midst of yet another cultural makeover to better be a part of the global Information Economy. What the 1997 Asian economic crisis revealed was that, for the former “Miracle” and up-and-coming Southeast Asian Newly Industrialising Economies (NIEs), there indeed may be less and less of an...
Redefining “Liberal Education” in the Chinese University
As a founding institution of modernity (and modernization), the modern university in China is historically a transplant from the West. For more than one hundred years, modern Chinese higher education looked to Japan, Germany, America, and the former Soviet Union as its models. Among these, the Soviet...
Articulation, Not Translation: Knowledge-Production in an Age of Globalization
The process of knowledge production in a university has always taken place within the closed system of the academic community, thus separating itself from the broader social life and real world. Instead of engaging in, and reflecting upon real life, academics read journals or other published work to formulate their...
On English as a Chinese Language: Implementing Globalization
Taken as a topic in critical theory, “globalization” has a curious capacity to detach academics imaginatively from our worldly situations as university employees. As Simon Marginson and Mark Considine point out in their study of executive leadership in Australian public higher education, universities are...
The “Age” of the University in Asia
Before beginning, however, I will have to ask you to pardon a kind of disturbance in my use of the personal pronoun “we.” It will refer in my remarks at times to “Asians,” at times to “Japanese,” and at times to a more neutral instance of “one.” I shall never, in this presentation, master this anomaly, this irregular...
Neoliberal University Reform and the International Exchange of Intellectuals
The single most persistent demand universities in South Korea have faced over the last decade or so may be summarized as “Reform or perish!” The momentum arose in 1995, when the Presidential Committee for Education Reform of the Kim Young Sam government enforced the ultra-legal Education Reform Act. This...
Part 3. Thought and Resistance
The University Without Wall: Jewish Studies, Holocaust Studies, Israel Studies
Invoking the circumstances of a Cornell lecture he gave on the subject of the University, its pupils, and “the principle of reason,” Jacques Derrida recalled in a belated footnote one question among others, which he had raised and found neither possible nor desirable to erase. “Must barriers be built?” Derrida asked...
How Many Ward Church ills: Organizing Against Racism, Empire, and the Neoconservative Assault on the University
I was invited here to discuss the latest developments in the Ward Churchill struggle at the University of Colorado in Boulder. As someone who has helped lead the faculty organizing effort on the ground in Colorado from the beginning last January, I’d like to update you about what has happened, and raise some hard...
Academic Freedom and Political Change: American Lessons
The spread of neoliberalism around the globe since the end of the Cold War has fueled intense pressures on universities, which house both a gold mine of exploitable intellectual resources and some of the most vocal critics of unfettered capitalism. American universities, while substantially better insulated from such...
The Discourse of the University: Modern and Postmodern
I first gave a version of this paper under the title “The Discourse of the University: The Critical Place of Language in Social Action” at a conference titled After Postcolonialism, Beyond Minority Discourse: Postcolonial, Ethnic, and American Studies, held at Cornell University in November of 1999, four years before...
Faculty Governance in the “University of Excellence”: Comments
Several presentations in this volume have touched on issues that I explore in my own research focusing on the impact of recent corporatization trends on academic freedom of faculty and on the public mission of the university. I also deal with these issues in my active participation in faculty governance at Cornell...
The Conditions of Theory
The dream of a critical theory without conditions is receding today in the university, and particularly in the North American university. Some of us thought for a time, and we may just still believe it, that everything thinkable is precisely thinkable, and that there are no conditions for our work that must or...
Part 4. The University and the Emancipatory Project: Limits and Possibilities
Cognitive Capitalism and Education: New Frontiers
However, in following such a line of thinking, one quickly faces a paradox. In Europe, for example, neo-liberalism seems to be a force that is attacking the state’s commitment to education as a branch of public service. By imposing new regulations (a form of governance) on education, neo-liberalism has certainly...
Cognitive Capitalism and Its Discontents
In analyzing a globalized society and economy, the paper identifies a third stage of capitalism coming after the mercantile and the industrial stages, which it terms cognitive. Cognitive capitalism is adapted to “the appropriation of knowledge and to the continuous production of innovations” (7). It stresses work geared to...
Comment on Yann Moulier Boutang’s “Cognitive Capitalism and Education: New Frontiers”
Instead of predicting the retreat of the university and the loss of the autonomy of public education under the onslaught of neo-liberalism, Professor Yann Moulier Boutang recognizes an imminent opening towards a certain sense of equality and some possibility of democratic sharing of knowledge, in the midst...
Imagined Networks: Digital Media, Race, and the University
Although very different, the term “digital media” also poses definitional difficulties. Given that most media is now produced or stored using computers, what is not digital media? Furthermore, how applicable is the term media? Is there a difference between technology and media? media and text? media and...
Very Much a Midnight Child: Software and the Translation of Times at the University
I was truly happy to hear they had grasped the main ideas of the book, until they told me that they were determined to use it as a sort of manual to keep themselves in check, so as to conform as much as possible to normalcy and be able to get good jobs. I could not believe this, and could not refrain from telling...
How an “Intellectual Commune” Organizes Movement: A Brief Report on the Experiment “Research Space Suyu Nomo”
Looking around, you can see universities all over the place. Their facilities have become much better. Nearly all have devoted themselves to remodeling their facilities. Moreover, today there are no students who simply ignore their grades, hanging around in the Student Union all day the way students in the 1980s did...
Traces Editors Recommend ..... The Edu-Factory Machine: Transnational Politics and Translational Institutions
The old institutions are crumbling — from central banks to political parties, from museums to newspapers, from broadcast television to schools. They cannot cope with the continual rollout of crises one after the next. Nor can they adapt to the encroachment of networks on their borders. Most are trying to brand their...