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Contents – The Idea of the University (Issue 29)

Contents - The Idea of the University (Issue 29)

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Contributors

Contributors - The Idea of the University (Issue 29)

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Guest-Editorial: What ‘Use’ is the Liberal Ruse? Debating the ‘Idea’ of the University

By Debaditya Bhattacharya
With the recent electoral rise of the Hindu Right in India, the sustained assault on public universities in the name of their being ‘anti-national’ or ‘seditious’ spaces is an accurate instance of how transnational economic designs are executed under the guise of an aggressive cultural nationalism. It is no paradox that universities are being used as a site of manufacturing a certain hegemonic consensus, because that has historically been its function as part of a bourgeois public sphere.

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The Commoditization of Education

By Prabhat Patnaik
One of the most striking features of the current Indian scenario is the commoditization of education, which means not only that the labour power of those who are the products of the education system becomes a commodity, but that the education itself that goes into the production of this commodity becomes a commodity.

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Neoliberal Savagery and the Assault on Higher Education as a Democratic Public Sphere

By Henry A. Giroux
Hyper-capitalism or market fundamentalism has put higher education in its cross hairs and the result has been the ongoing transformation of higher education into an adjunct of the very rich and powerful corporate interests.

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Shadow-Images of a Factory: The Contradictions of the University as a Service Industry

By Nandini Chandra
With the privatization of higher education, the expertise learnt in the university is no longer a means of improved subsistence and social mobility, but an embodied end, which paradoxically arrests the flow of labour to the other industries. In other words, the fashioning of education as a service industry attempts to turn wage labour into goods, supposedly for improved efficiency.

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Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy: Staking a Claim Against the Macrostructural Unconscious

By Peter McLaren
The tendrils of capitalism’s poisonous vine are spreading into all the spaces and virtual spaces of potential capital accumulation and we need cadres of teachers to speak out and to create spaces where their students can assume roles as razor-tongued public instigators for the social good. Globalized finance capitalism is the most widespread authoritarian structure in the history of civilization, giving the rich even greater riches and forcing the dispossessed to set up markets on moonlit streets to augment their exiguous incomes.

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What if, the University is a Parrot’s Training?

By Anup Dhar
Why did Tagore in the first instance set up Shantiniketan? Was it a rejection of the then existing University of Calcutta, set up largely by the British, by the colonizer? Was it a rejection of the university (system)? What was wrong with the extant idea of the university that Tagore had to reject it? Was it simply because the idea of the university was always already coloured with colonizing intentions? Or were there deeper critiques?

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Sectoral trappings

By Debarun Sarkar
a sectoral bridge
forever expanding
expanding, retires
into sublime nothingness
of your mind’s trap

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Is there a Calling on the Left?

By Prasanta Chakravarty
Let me try and elaborate a historically charted moral vector that could decide at any given point of time the sway, pull, reach or eventual demise of student movements and determine their life outside of the academe. I shall speculate on a notion of calling and place its coordinates alongside the very notion of the university in contemporary India.

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Don’t Study, Be Happy.

By Vijay Prashad
A new order emerged. Higher education should no longer be free. If social goods are free, they are abused. Everything must be paid for – including education. How does one ensure that educational institutions are not merely for the rich? By giving opportunities to those who have no spare money – opportunities of scholarship and of debt.

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In Support of Students’ Political Activism

By Anand Teltumbde
The entire humanizing ethos of education is lost under the neoliberal juggernaut making it an investible opportunity to reap maximum return. Academics thus becomes examination-centric with little to do with learning or grooming critical faculties in children. The competitive ethos which took roots in the urban middle classes has now infected even the rural poor, who have also begun seeing education as the only ladder for their children to scale up in life.

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Converging Struggles and Diverging Interests: A look at the recent unrest in universities

By Hany Babu
The crux of my argument is that the phenomenon that makes anti-reservation groups look at the provision of reservation as violating the principle of equality and liberals look at freedom of expression as a paramount principle stems from the same underlying inability to temper liberal principles with social realities.

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The Crisis of the Public University

By Supriya Chaudhuri
The situation in India appears in some respects the reverse of the global picture. Elsewhere, universities are struggling to sustain programmes and departments in a climate of funding cuts, smaller colleges are closing down, students are crippled by debt and unable to make their degrees count, while in India, both central and state governments periodically announce the creation of new universities and institutes of technology, resolve to increase the gross enrolment ratio, and encourage private and foreign players to enter the market.

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Of Utopias and Universities

By Ania Loomba
In decolonized India, the laudable ideal of public and affordable higher education was not accompanied by sufficient rethinking of the content and structure of colonial education, or of imagining what a decolonized pedagogy would look like. Nor did we ask how universities would actively redress historical inequities, especially those of caste.

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Academic Freedom and the Ownership of Knowledge

By Lawrence Liang
In 2011, three publishers – Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Taylor, Francis and Routledge – sued Delhi University and a photocopy shop on its premises for unauthorized distribution of course packs to students – claiming $100,000 (6 million rupees) in damages.

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Audit Cultures and the Indian University as Credit-Capital

By Rina Ramdev
This concurrence of state control and market driven codes and conduct is already in the present moment blurring the boundaries between public and private. And in a deferential nod to its demands, universities are changing their structure as also their modes of functioning.

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The University in Question

By Ari Sitas
Whereas the fiscal assault attempted to treat the University as a corporate entity and to instill managerial structures that enforce productivity and a peculiar notion of excellence, the political assault originated from movements and parties of authoritative restoration, trampling over areas of dissent and diversity. The key problem has been that the struggles have been reactive and defensive and that they lack an alternative vision of what a University ought to be in the 21st century.

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Lineages of the Modern Public University: Perils and Prospects in a Comparative Perspective

By Mushahid Hussain
The colonial origins of the modern university in South Asia followed a different historical trajectory while retaining its consistency in terms of a similar operational logic and its objectives at different levels. British imperial expansion in South Asia and the specific modes of its (re)incorporation into the capitalist world-economy as a colony faced complexities quite different from the contexts of sub-Saharan Africa.

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Of Feudal Intellectual Capital: The History of the New Provincial Universities

By Debaditya Bhattacharya
It merely alerts us that no matter how many of those in these lesser-known and still-less-written-about Indian universities participated in hashtag campaigns of #WeAreJNU earlier this year, there is precious little in the history of our universities that approximates to what has severally been termed “the idea of JNU”.

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The Idea of a University and the Invention of Culture in Colonial/Post-colonial India

By Mosarrap Hossain Khan
This essay is a brief attempt at understanding the ways in which the idea of the university has evolved in India and the role of the university in inventing an Indian national culture since colonial times. Owing to colonial subjugation, the transplanted modern European university evolved very differently and served a very different function in India than in the West, where the modern university emerged in the eighteenth century in the wake of Enlightenment.

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The Presidential Transition

By Paramita Banerjee
It is perhaps ironical that the autonomous status of a university was granted by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya just about a year before his party and its allies were to lose power in the state after thirty-four long years of Left Front rule. Was it being in power that allowed this shift of position, or was the CPI(M) always in tacit support?

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University: The State’s Kitchen?

By Akanksha Ahluwalia, Ishan Mohan and Sagar Sachdeva
The university, as an object-out-there for the dreamy-eyed student just out of school, therefore, transforms into a lived space of relations with time. And it is in this living, that the abstraction the University is, gets felt in concrete relations with fellow students, professors, administrations and so on, within the campus-space and beyond.

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Living and Learning at the University: Studentspeak

By Saiyem Iftekhar
Why is it that university education today focuses disproportionately on the development of cognitive and vocational skills, to the exclusion of critical practices of learning altogether? Why is it that the affective domain of human personality remains untouched to a large extent, and university education only becomes a factory for turning out individuals who become a tool in the hands of corporate elites for perpetuation of socio-economic disparities?

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