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The Neoliberal University

April 20, 2016 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

With unprecedented levels of income inequality, a student debt crisis prompted by exorbitant tuition fees, and the increasing contracting of teaching labor to underpaid adjuncts, concerns over the corporatization of the university are reaching a fever pitch. Meanwhile, universities continue to appoint more and more administrators. How did we get here? This panel will endeavor to explore this trajectory.

How do para-departmental institutes affect traditional departmental structures and academic freedom? How does administrative language and logic trickle down into the framing of courses and academic thought? What should we make of the shift towards the “global” university? What do these trends have to do with the legacy of liberalized economic policies and the financialization of the economy? Asking these and other questions, we hope to grapple with what it means to attend and work at the neoliberal university.

The talk will bring together speakers from the worlds of academia, journalism and activism.

Lindsey Berger, Grassroots Campaign Activist: Since graduating from Missouri State University in 2009, Lindsey has been supporting students across the country in launching and running strategic grassroots campaigns. She has recently taken an interest in issues of higher education, co-founded UnKoch My Campus at the start of 2014, working to stop billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and his donor pals from being able to advance their political agenda at the expense of academic freedom and faculty governance.

Reinhold Martin, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, and a partner in the firm of Martin/Baxi Architects, concentrates on two related areas: the material, architectural, and urban history of knowledge infrastructures, and thinking the contemporary city under globalization. He approaches architectural history as a form of media history, governed by networks, systems, technical infrastructures, and biopolitical processes. Currently, Martin is working on a history of the nineteenth century American university as a media complex.

Michael Massing, former Executive Editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and writer at the New York Review of Books, writes about the press and the influence of wealthy philanthropists. Recently, his series about the 1% has called for a directory of institutions that receive significant support from prominent donors.

Presented by Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism.  Co-sponsored by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life.



April 20, 2016
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Fayerweather Hall, Room 313