Critical University Studies - ACLA 2015 Seattle (March 26-29, 2015)

full name / name of organization: 
Ian Butcher, Duquesne University
contact email: 

With the increased prominence of movements like the New Faculty Majority and the MLA Subconference, along with the sensational cases of Margaret Mary Vojtko and Mary-Faith Cerasoli, criticism on the social, political, and economic factors which shape the processes of higher education has emerged as an urgent and vital component of the contemporary humanities. A growing body of scholarship has placed labour issues, student debt, the job market, education funding, and resource allocation among the fundamental elements which condition the production and distribution of knowledge in not just the humanities, but the university as a whole. This seminar seeks to contribute to this field by considering a number of questions:

  • How might literary/comparative literary studies contribute to Critical University Studies (both in terms of scholarship and pedagogy)?
  • How might other critical paradigms--like Feminism, Queer Studies, and Ethnic Studies--shape Critical University Studies going forward?
  • How might Critical University Studies promote conversation between the humanities and STEM disciplines on the value of knowledge, the ethics of its production, and the idea of the contemporary university?
  • What conditions--disciplinary, institutional, regional--inflect issues of labour and debt and how might understanding these local conditions inform larger action?
  • What role might Critical University Studies play in core curricula, general education programs, and courses which reach large portions of the student body, like freshman composition?
  • How might the scholarship produced under the aegis of Critical University Studies be transformed into praxis beyond calls for unionization?
  • 250-300 words abstracts and short (50-100 word) bios to by August 22, 2014.