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  • Globalizing Knowledge: Intellectuals, Universities, and Publics in Transformation by Michael D. Kennedy
  • Christine Isselhard and Bryan Gopaul
Michael D. Kennedy. Globalizing Knowledge: Intellectuals, Universities, and Publics in Transformation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2014. 424pp. Paper: $34.95. ISBN: 9780804793438

Globalizing Knowledge: Intellectuals, Universities, and Publics in Transformation is a call to action to intellectuals, institutions, and networks to explore the tensions and possibilities of global public responsibility. Michael D. Kennedy introduces the challenge of global connectivity and recognizing critical differences to globalizing knowledge. In the interest of a global-public well-being, a judicious and pragmatic interrogation of globalizing knowledge is imperative. Further, the text serves as an examination of how knowledge actors shape, and are shaped by, various global flows and contexts. In subsequent chapters, Kennedy addresses issues of public engagement versus scholarly excellence, the criticality in distinguishing publics and knowledge in global contexts, the importance in recognizing and articulating global flows and knowledge networks, and contemporary challenges to intellectual responsibility and meaningful knowledge share. This text examines individual and collective relations as well as various power structures that inform our understanding of higher education. Fundamentally, this examination is tied to notions of knowledge and change and the responsibility of knowledge agents for the public good. Kennedy revisits history by presenting case studies in Poland, Kosova, Ukraine, and Afghanistan and moves to contemporary issues such as the energy crisis, Pussy Riot, and the Occupy Movement, among others, to document the need for a better understanding of how globalizing knowledge affects positive change. [End Page 315]

To start, Chapter 1 interrogates the structure in which knowledge exists. Kennedy identifies critical tensions within higher education that relate to global interests. Specifically, he argues for systemizing internationalization to disseminate knowledge instead of prioritizing capital actors. A pervasive tension exists amid the public and private interests within universities; he argues that knowledge is put to the service of capital and authority. Here, he identifies the complicated strain of private and public benefits related to higher education. Kennedy’s emphasis is on recognition, translation, and articulation of knowledge transformation considering publics, contexts, and flows. Priority in globalizing knowledge for higher education institutions should be grounded in knowledge dissemination versus sources of capital. The challenge, Kennedy proposes, is in global connectivity and recognizing critical differences.

If we are interested in global well-being, we need a better understanding of the kinetics related to globalizing knowledge. Kennedy promotes a broader articulation of globalization given critical differences in its agents, audiences, objects, networks, and power. Relationally imposed, globalizing knowledge refers to “the process by which distant regions’ knowledgeabilities are implicated in the particular cultures fusing those understandings” (p. 9), and the form will differ dependent upon historical and institutional contexts that contour learning. The focus is on the agent, how different kinds of knowledge actors – intellectuals, knowledge institutions and networks – impact and are affected by various streams of global flows and contexts through their public and private engagements. Further, the author emphasizes the importance of discourse related to validation and legitimization of knowledge and argues for increased reflection about how knowledge actors engage.

Embedded in struggles, fields, and specializations, individual intellectual responsibility is overlooked in discourse related to globalizing knowledge. Consequently, intellectuals lose sight of “checks and balances” to inspiring and facilitating change. Chapter 2 addresses Kennedy’s articulation of global intellectuals in theory and practice – an individual’s “practice has a certain consequence derived from distinctive knowledge, and such consequence is independent from other kinds of power” (p. 41). Further, within recognition, translation, and articulation of knowledge is an implied capacity to recognize intellectual distinction. Intellectual distinction depends on qualifications of the intellectual and cultural capital of the audience. Globalizing knowledge is often difficult to recognize in cosmopolitan reality and, as a result, not easily referenced in grounding intellectual responsibility in worldly theory and practice. According to Kennedy, intellectual practice is identified as a series of intellectual resources (cultural capital, refinement of intellectuality, autonomy of practice, cachet, and articulation of other forms of power), profiles of intellectual activity (organization of intellectual associations, mobilization of intellectual movements, etc.), and intellectual goods (scholarship, social movements, exhibitions, and lectures, etc.). Intellectual and institutional responsibility in globalizing...


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