Annotations


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Henry A. Giroux and Kostas Myrsiades, eds., Beyond the Corporate University: Culture and Pedagogy in the New Millenium (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001)

This collection of essays by education theorists takes Bill Readings's book The University in Ruins as its point of departure and attempts to offer strategies for reconceptualizing the role of the university in the era of global capital.

Readers can obtain a reliable sense of this provocative collection just from the title of Giroux's introductory essay: "Critical Education or Training: Beyond the Commodification of Higher Education." Writing against what the editors characterize as "the current onslaught to vocationalize higher education," the 16 essays gathered here attempt to analyze the "crisis in higher education … in terms of wider configurations of economic, political, and social forces that exacerbate tensions between those who value such institutions as public goods and those advocates of neoliberalism who see market culture as a master design for all human affairs" (5).

Refreshingly, the editors acknowledge the necessity for faculty to link their analyses of culture with their pedagogy:

The leap from teaching to policy is important and complex and [this collection] attempts to support such a vital connection. At the same time, we want to extend this insight by arguing that the call for academics to link their work to social policy remains too abstract unless it engages the crucial role of pedagogy in developing and enabling forms of political agency among both teachers and students that make such a connection both attractive and viable. Without a viable notion of political agency, such calls for linking theory and practice become empty and elide the crucial importance of making the pedagogical more political (5).

The majority of the contributors currently teach in universities in the US; one is at the University of Toronto and another is from the University of Sussex. Their fields are mostly in the humanities (English, education, media studies and cultural studies), although their approaches are multidisciplinary and draw heavily from social science research.

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