Critical Studies <=> Critical Methodologies
Call for Journal Manuscript Proposals
Title: Higher Education in Neoliberal Times
Guest Editors: Gaile S. Cannella & Mirka Koro-Ljungberg
Higher education around the world is under assault from the practices and politics of neoliberalism, which have succeeded in regulating, commodifying, and restructuring the university. This we see manifest in a multiplicity of ways, including: accountability metrics; annual faculty reports; rebranding campaigns; dismantling and/or downsizing existing programs; furloughs; conservative attacks on academic freedom; conservative attacks on science; economic ties to the military-industrial-entertainment state; for-profit universities; ever-shrinking numbers of tenure-track positions; journal impact factors; research funding scores; the philosophical redefinition of the public university.
Consider, in just the last year, we have witnessed: governors of US states (such as Wisconsin, Arizona, Illinois, and Louisiana) propose slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from state funding for its university system; universities (such as the University of Illinois) engage in politically-expedient and legally dubious actions to restrict extramural political speech on the part of its faculty (see, e.g., the case of Steven Salaita); governing bodies voting to discontinue or close research centers whose work focuses on poverty and social change (see, e.g., the actions by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors); and the continued decrease in the number of tenure-track faculty positions across the spectrum in favor of adjunct professors.
More generally, the act of knowledge creation itself has become redefined within a corporate model. As Mitch Allen notes, large publishing conglomerates (e.g., Elsevier, Springer, etc.) now control a large swath of the materials we use for teaching, research, and knowledge dissemination. Knowledge (i.e., articles in journals; reports; etc.) and teaching materials are increasingly being aggregated into large databases that are bundled and sold to our university library systems and back to the customers (authors and scholars). In the same breath, the peer review system is under attack from all sides; journal impact factors and the attainment of grants continue to play inordinate roles in faculty promotion and tenure cases; and the logics of the free-market increasingly dictate research funding by federal granting agencies. In many ways, knowledge has become content (a commodity) to be sold by another form of media company to willing consumers.
In this special issue, we are thus soliciting manuscripts that help us to (re)think our way out of, and around, these practices and politics as related to the variegated assaults on higher education--to engage with the pain of understanding, the pain of hope, and the possibility that the future will be a better place for the free exchange of ideas. Further, we encourage articles that literally provide examples illustrating productive spaces of resistance within neo-liberal institutions of higher education.
Moving in multiple directions at once, we seek to consider (at least) the following as they relate to the changing practices and politics in the academy, as well as broader global debates related to academic freedom and labor:
a) The commercialization of higher education;
b) The racial and gender logics of the academy;
c) Media coverage of higher education;
d) The politics of the academy (i.e., publishing; promotion & tenure, etc.)
e) The politics of higher education (i.e., attacks on tenure; attacks on science; decreasing federal & state funding; etc.)
f) New forms of activism/protest within the academy
g) Places and spaces of productive resistance
h) Othering and exclusion in the Academy
We will consider manuscripts from within or against the inter-/anti-disciplinary divides related to the above topics, especially in terms of race, gender, social class, mass media, sport, politics, education, violence, prisons, performance, history, social work, economics, and the arts (as well as others not listed here). We encourage creativity, experimentation, and theoretical multiplicity.
More specifically we are looking for two kinds of contributions:
1) Article Manuscripts that are due by January 1, 2016, with a word length of no more than 6,000 words inclusive of references, endnotes, and so forth. Those interested in contributing articles to this special issue should also submit a 500-word abstract (including proposed title) by June 15, 2015.
2) “Escapes” that illustrate an example of productive resistance in higher education. “Escapes” can be (as examples) textual, visual, fictional, actualized, experienced, visioned, fragmented, partial, liminal examples of productive spaces. An “Escape” should illustrate a specific example/ event/vision of resistance. Escapes are due by December 1, 2015 for review, with a word length of no more than 1,000 words inclusive of references.
All submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for review.
Critical Questions in Education
3rd Annual Special Theme Issue: CALL FOR PAPERS
Critical Inquiry for the Social Good:
Methodological Work as a Means For Truth-Telling in Education
Aaron M. Kuntz, University of Alabama
Austin Pickup, Aurora University
Special Issue Proposal
We propose a special issue of Critical Questions in Education (CQIE) dedicated to new understandings of critical methodologies in education. Importantly, we situate inquiry generally—and methodological work more specifically—within two overarching philosophical concerns of truth-telling and practical wisdom. Specifically, we assert that critical work necessarily situates inquiry within an assumed responsibility for the public good: one thus engages in inquiry practices in order to promote a more socially-just society. This alignment of inquiry with social-justice work productively challenges the use of critical, a term all-too-easily (and simplistically) invoked in contemporary educational discourse. To be critical one must work towards truth-claims that disrupt the normative flow of common-sense; critical work cannot replicate what is already known. As such, critical inquiry is necessarily radical, critiquing the existing status quo even as it envisions possible alternatives to the contemporary moment. This, we propose, provocatively challenges methodological work within the contemporary academy: how might inquiry be differently (and, we might say, more progressively/usefully/productively) “critical” if we begin from a notion of truth/the good (as opposed to moving away from it or ignoring such notions)? This special issue is thus driven by our collective interest in how scholars might re-envision “critical work” when they have to take a stand on truth/the good.
Given our above assertions of what it means to be critical, much work in educational scholarship that invokes the term might be interpreted as critical in name only. “Critical” methodologies disappointingly remain at the level of the procedural, offering only inquiry techniques as the means through which to engage in critical work. Yet, such technical formations can never intervene in the incessant production of the status quo: situated at the level of procedure they remain governed by the very rationalities that implicate our contemporary moment. Additionally, the postmodern moment, while offering a useful deconstruction of grand narratives, has perhaps left us in a state of scholarly paralysis when it comes to possibilities of repair or even renewal. Though the proliferation of “critical” scholarship within various traditions (critical race, critical Latina/o, critical feminist, critical disability studies, etc.) has worked to challenge existing hegemonic norms within the educational landscape, this scholarship often remains hesitant to move toward its own notions of truth or the good. But, is it enough to challenge the status quo only to find ourselves groundless? Can we move toward a critical praxis which takes on positive notions of truth and the good while still holding to contextual understandings of these same notions? What answers do the various critical traditions provide about socially-just education and how might these answers intersect or depart from one another? In response, we ask educational scholars to consider a more engaged sense of critical work, one that orients towards the production of truth-claims surrounding the common good. Critical methodologies would, in turn, establish orientations towards meaning-making that are profoundly political, challenging not simply normative claims, but the very means by which such claims are made. In this way, critical work intervenes simultaneously on epistemological and methodological levels.
This issue begins with a philosophical grounding regarding critical work as an important point of departure. We offer two overlapping orientations towards criticality and methodology: 1) Foucault’s sense of parrhesia (or truth-telling) and 2) Aristotelian notions of phronesis (or practical wisdom). For Foucault, truth-telling involves recognizing and speaking a truth that is not otherwise made visible by normative ways of knowing or coming to know. Thus, in order to engage in parrhesia, one must break from the past in order to imagine a yet-to-be-realized future. Similarly, Aristotle’s notion of phronesis is grounded in a deliberative judgment of the present in order to know how to act in an unforeseen future. As such, both orientations towards knowing and doing involve: an engaged analysis of the past; a recognition of how historical ways of knowing and being implicate the present; a determination to point a way forward towards a more socially-just future; a contextually grounded sense of value rationality. Consequently, parrhesia and phronesis offer select challenges to “critical” methodological work. No longer can someone claim the critical mantle solely by critiquing what is (this would be equivalent to saying the educational system is broken, throwing one’s hands up, and moving along). Instead, critical work involves a great degree of risk—requiring as it does a commitment to work for some unknown future in the name of social justice or the social good.
With this in mind, we propose a special issue that invites articles that provoke the term critical specifically in relation to methodological work. Given the above assumptions about engagements with notions of truth and the good, what might a critical methodology look like? How might it be enacted? What does it require of the critical methodologist? How might these engagements be different (or similar) within the various traditions of critical inquiry?
Proposal Format: Please email a 500-1000 word, excluding references, proposal for review in a word document to Dr. Aaron Kuntz (contact information below) by June 15th, 2015. This proposal should include a list of key references that will be utilized in the chapter, as well as 3-4 keywords. Also, please include a brief author bio (200 word limit) and all relevant contact information.
Final Manuscript Formatting
Call for papers: April 15, 2015
Proposals Due: June 15th
Accept/Reject: July 1st
Draft Articles Due: November 15th
Feedback to authors: January 15th, 2016
Final Drafts Due: March 15th
Published: Summer/Fall 2016
5th Annual International Conference on Education and E-Learning, Bangkok, Thailand
The use of technology in education has revolutionized learning. Shifting beyond traditional mode of education, the integration of technology has become an advantage for students with specific needs. E-learning brings forth a flexible and accessible mode of education. Further the use of technology also bridges the gap of learning across borders.
With e-learning, students can have the access to other universities and academic resource materials from other countries, thereby broadening the knowledge base of students. Given these advantages, it is pivotal to deliberate upon the development of technology use in education.
For more information, visit: http://e-learningedu.org/
Join us Tuesday, April 28th at noon for our first ever Qual Community Potluck. We will meet in the Carmichael Rotunda (3rd floor).
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