The Marxist sociologist, Erik Olin Wright, has called on progressives to envision “real utopias” which are “clear-headed, rigorous, and viable alternatives to existing social institutions that both embody our deepest aspirations for human flourishing and take seriously the problem of practical design” (in Contexts 10(2): 37). At the same time, the Marxist cultural theorist, Slavoj Zizek, has argued that the conditions of the 21st century call for nuanced, accessible interpretations of changes taking place in our social, cultural and political institutions that reveal how these changes intensify our present subjugation to global capitalism. This session calls for papers that do one or both of these things in the context of the Canadian university. That is, papers will offer accounts, real or potential, of imaginative social experiments or ongoing struggles within/around our universities that could transform the social relations of academic work toward progressive social purposes. Additionally or alternatively, they offer thoughtful and nuanced interpretations of how current conceptions that circulate within the corporatized university, such as those regarding the value of various kinds of academic work or the social purpose of the university more generally, align with the needs of capitalism. The overarching aim of this session is to encourage faculty and others to think critically and creatively about both our ideas and approaches to transforming the university, so that we don’t merely reproduce ongoing problems, but find conceptual or practical ways out of them. Thus, short papers that offer opportunities for discussion and interaction among presenters and audience are particularly welcome.
This is a joint session co-sponsored with the Society for Socialist Studies.
Session Organizers: Janice Newson, Department of Sociology, York University, email@example.com; Herbert Pimlott, Department of Communication Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Claire Polster, University of Regina, email@example.com
This session has been divided into two sub-sessions.
Subverting the Corporatization of Canada’s Universities I
Session Code: Edu3-A
Session Chair: Jamie Magnusson, OISE, University of Toronto
Subverting the Corporatization of Canada’s Universities II
Session Code: Edu3-B
Session Chair: Claire Polster, University of Regina