[-empyre-] Engineering the University - Closing Week Two

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Tue Mar 17 12:34:41 AEDT 2015

Kevin, I am aware that Chad most probably was seeing those expectations of
the state under a more benign light. But it is impossible (at least
extremely difficult) to draw line. When I referred to medreses, besides
culturally and geographically trying to widen the perspective of our
discussion, I wanted to point out that those expectations may be very
severe. States and religions tend to see their needs (what their
expectations are) in absolute terms. Left to their own devices
(particularly when joined), they acknowledge no red line (ISIL hammers to
pulp with glee thousands year old sculptures, material of art and history,
etc., etc.) . Then the question becomes --that is what we are doing here--
who/what does the resisting.


On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 1:44 PM, Hamilton, Kevin <kham at illinois.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Chad, Ned and all,
> I'm so grateful for the span of ideas and scales that came up this week
> through Ned and Chad's exchange. I heard in it some important insistence
> on the co-presence of several lines of thought sometimes left
> over-delineated and organized into disparate domains.
> Through Ned's prompts Chad led us to examine how claims to "newness" in
> the form of crisis or abundance impact both the conditions of our work
> (the imagined shape of knowledge accrued, or not yet discovered) and the
> ways we orient our bodies within those conditions (the tasks that bind our
> attention). In inviting us to see the university as the medium wherein we
> engage knowledge of a particular scale through unique temporal habits,
> Chad challenges our tendencies - as did Mimi last week - to fall back on
> structuralist critique of our institutions.
> We see in stories at University of Virginia and here at Illinois where the
> consequences of reliance on structuralist analysis are social and ethical
> - we stand to end up divided from one another, from the world, and from
> our bodies, with little to stand on in debates over such matters as
> academic freedom (a topic Fish has taken on directly). In place of, or
> next to, structural critique, Chad asks questions about what we desire,
> alone and together.
> Given that we've been talking about Enlightenment, it's probably no
> accident that we find ourselves here in a picture resonant with much
> de-colonial or post-secular critique, which consistently shift attention
> back to desire, bodies, and values over structure and causation logics. In
> struggling to get out of what seemed some lock-tight traps here at
> Illinois of approaching our own debates over academic freedom, for
> example, I found some respite in the work of Talal Asad, who in discussing
> free speech and blasphemy calls out the often unacknowledged constraints
> on which differing freedoms depend. (More here if you're curious :
> http://medium.com/@complexfields/avoiding-the-issues-48022e77bd3f)
> I find in Asad's work some more helpful paths to addressing institution as
> "medium." Asad, like Murat in his questions to us, rightly identifies that
> where religions and the state intersect is often one of the best places to
> understand the shape of our current states. (I think, Murat, that Chad's
> reference to Humboldt there wasn't so much a statement of expectation that
> universities would always respect the state, but that in universities one
> might always be addressing or even producing state demands through the
> mediation or modulation of contingent discovery and fixed norms.)
> I'll be back later today to introduce this week's turn of the topic. But
> for now, I wanted to warmly thank Ned and Chad for their generosity, and
> the important markers laid for future conversations, praxis, and design.
> - Kevin Hamilton
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20150316/16f413ad/attachment.html>

More information about the empyre mailing list