[-empyre-] engineering the university

Hamilton, Kevin kham at illinois.edu
Tue Mar 17 08:46:31 AEDT 2015

Johannes, one thread your questions suggest for me is to discuss the ways
in which the structures of attention to which we devote ourselves in
academic life can guide us away from attention to the the racialized
spaces of our own campus and campus-towns. Though I'm not familiar with
the work you are citing, many of us are increasingly aware of how
university economies depend on only on racialized labor, but on the
policing of spaces based on race.

Precarities sit against other precarities where graduate students wonder
about their own futures, but the space created for that wondering itself
depends on others with uncertain futures. You might be interested in the
work of the Counter Cartographies Collective to this end, a group I'm not
sure is active anymore but who were doing a great deal to encourage more
witnessing in the states in which campuses are embedded:

Such work doesn't get to Murat's specific context, but I offer these
thoughts to suggest that racialized states are as much a part of secular
spaces as any.


On 3/16/15 12:47 PM, "Johannes Birringer"
<Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>dear all
>I think the question Murak posed, about the demands of the state, and the
>demands of the university's corporate management in many first world
>institutions, was  a very good one,
>deserving of more debate, also after what Edward posted on the weekend:
>"Now You See It" frames the relentless current emphasis on multitasking
>as stemming from our investment in digital technologies. This, of course,
>has direct ramifications on scholars as they work through different
>vocational boundaries and social identities. But Davidson also discusses
>how industrial efficiency dictates the structure of educational settings
>and how curricula must now promote bodies of knowledge that apply to
>digital production. This latter point is another way in which the utility
>of the university gets emphasized over its ideals toward the pursuit of
>It's not just an investment in digital technologies; it the increased
>compromises and deprecations of selling knowledge, and how it's now
>spelled out, namely as employment "skills,"   for students who face
>precarity and a harsh global capitalist market and a racialized state and
>war-State (first world), and who will enter the postindustrial world in
>heavy debt already or with no assurance that their creative knowledge (in
>the arts and humanities, for example) is of relevance or needed.
>This also, one would suspect, affects older models of reproduction, no?
>>> The university reproduces itself by producing scholars who in turn
>>>produce the conjunctures by which we construct the stability of the
>>>university over time.> [Edward]
>what stability then?
>Murat's question about the demands of theocracy or fundamentalist
>nationalisms is a fascinating one, as are experiences that I was told,
>for example, by artists and teachers who work in occupied territories and
>conflict zones; a former MA student just wrote me that she is trying to
>run a small theatre program in a Turkish university near the Syrian
>border, and she's developing a participatory form of devising that had
>been practiced in Boal's theatre pedagogy or in some verbatim theatre
>projects that rely on witnesses (the "temporalities" of war, Edward).
>The first week discussion between elizaBeth  and Mimi did not directly
>address the politics of witnessing but brought up "self-care" under
>"neoliberal management.'  What if you extend that to the racial-State
>war-State managements* under which most of us live?
>Johannes Birringer
>* (my terms are partly adapted, here,  from Marina Gržinić and Šefik
>Tatlić ferocious and timely critique in Necropolitics, Racialization, and
>Global Capitalism: Historicization of Biopolitics and Forensics of
>Politics, Art, and Life
>Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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