[-empyre-] engineering the university

Hamilton, Kevin kham at illinois.edu
Wed Mar 18 01:41:13 AEDT 2015

To Johannes and Murat -

Just a heads up that next week we'll be hearing from Bogota with guests
Tania Perez and Fabian Prieto Nanez, with some direct address of
transnationalism, translation, and the differing experiences of research
labor across North and South. This is a topic that came up a great deal
last spring at the HASTAC Digital Humanities conference held in Lima,
Peru, where we saw aspirations to new forms of research labor common to
many academic conferences in the north collide with the heterogenous
realities of nation states looking to identify with new technologies as
part of large-scale multinational trade partnerships, and village
librarians working to keep basic access to information alive in a time
when most free technologies come with the price of surveillance.

I think the list would be interested to hear more from either of you on
the specific experiences you have witnessed of navigating dynamics of
labor and learning in repressive states. My own scant experience in that
regard tells me, for one, that a systematic approach of "re-engineering"
is probably an unfeasible model. Improvisation, tactics, survival is
probably the name of the game in such hostile environments. But maybe
that's also what's happening in safer spaces to, by another name. It's by
no means a foregone conclusion of this discussion that "engineering" the
university is the best way to surviving it, stewarding it, or even leaving


On 3/17/15 8:07 AM, "Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>yes, indeed Kevin,
>and my comment had implied as much of course, namely that you
>and I, or the graduate students, and whatever campus,  and those who
>graduate into the corporate business world, are part
>of the racialized state but (in the US or european campuses of
>the former West) perhaps the implications of that, and of
> living in war states, are not witnessed enough.  I still also think
>it would be helpful if the discussion were widened and Murat's comments
>included, post-Enlightenment and all. You were not only wondering about
>future employment, but also how modes of producing values & knowledge,
>and power, shift, and how war stages dispossess us of material culture
>and access to learning (ISIS changed the way primary school education in
>the Syrian
>and Northern Iraqi territories it controls is managed).
>with regards
>[Kevin schreibt]
>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.
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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