Friday, September 26, 2008

Academic Micro-Round Up

Given that I'm under the delusion that certain chocolate chip cookies brought to certain faculty gatherings may be related in the uptick in reader interest in posts related to academe, I present the following academic micro-round up including the New School's Social Research conference Free Inquiry at Risk and a CBC Radio program on the impact of paranoid politics on the university. P.S. There's new eduslang too!

First, if you're going to be in New York City October 29th through 31st, consider swinging by the New School's Tishman Auditorium for the Social Research conference Free Inquiry at Risk: Universities in Dangerous Times. At least click on the link to learn more about our eduslang of the day, "massification." Per Bob:

I had to look up massification, which is an insane word but it does describe a critical concept. It means "the democratisation of higher education", by the way, and I keep the funny "s" in democratization because I had to Google it and get an Economist article to actually find out what it means. Maybe "massification" is an unAmerican term.
Other than "massification", the conference seems to be about "the real problems universities in horrible places have", to make us all feel guilty about bitching about our universities where hardly anyone dies or anything.

Second, if you'd like to have more fodder for bitching about your own university where hopefully hardly anyone dies or anything, please head to CBC Radio One's Ideas program from September 22, The Suspect Society, Part 2. This second part of a three-part series discusses how the surveillance society has distorted higher education. It includes the story of a lecturer dismissed for answering a student's question regarding Zionism and the story of the artist/academic who was investigated by the FBI due to his exhibit on germs. Generally it fills in all the blanks in the story of the erosion of academic freedom after 9/11. If you're interested in this from an earlier point in the academic life cycle, I highly recommend Part 1 of The Suspect Society series which covers everything from day care surveillance cameras to Pre-Junior ROTC starting with 11 year olds and covers much in between.

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