Academic Life in the Measured University: Pleasures, Paradoxes and Politics

Event Details

Academic Life in the Measured University: Pleasures, Paradoxes and Politics

Time: June 29, 2016 to July 1, 2016
Location: The new law school, the University of Sydney
Street: Camperdown Campus, Eastern Avenue
City/Town: Sydney
Website or Map:…
Event Type: conference
Organized By: Tai Peseta and Simon Barrie
Latest Activity: Mar 8, 2016

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Event Description

The University of Sydney is the venue for the 5th International Academic Identities Conference in 2016. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land - the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that The University of Sydney is built. We also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within the Aboriginal Custodianship of Country.

Building on previous conferences in Central Lancashire, Strathclyde, Auckland and Durhamuniversities, the 2016 Sydney conference explores contemporary academic identities and practices in all their complexity and multiplicity. While the theme points most obviously to the imposition of measures upon those who labour in the university – both staff and students – it also examines the ways the university itself (and the academic practices it encourages) has become transformed by measurement. It asks whether the university is still an environment for developing engaged, disciplined, and critical citizens who take responsibility for the world. In one sense, the ‘measured university’ implies a state of caution, a sense of restraint, blandness, even automation. In another, it establishes a new rationality, offering something of a certainty that academic life and decision-making proceeds on the basis of ‘evidence’. The theme opens up questions about whether the university is realizing and standing up for its distinctive potential under the pervasive conditions of measurement. What can be done to act both with, and against, the drift, scale, and reach of the measured university? Is it possible (or even desirable) to redirect the measured university to different ends? If so, what might those ends be and how shall we go about it?

Since the conference is located in Australia’s first university, we are especially committed to surfacing Indigenous peoples’ experiences and perspectives of academic life. Not only that, we are interested in how the measured university might be more productively understood, theorized and engaged with in the intersections offered by Indigenous and western knowledge systems.

We welcome submissions - empirical, theoretical, and creative - that critically interrogate the full spectrum of academic identities, activities, practices and contexts that comprise the measured university. While this includes describing how the gaze of measurement impacts on the identities of academics, students, universities, and the practices they participate in, we are equally interested in proposals that reclaim the possibilities of measurement or that transcend ideas about the measured university.

The journal Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) will run a parallel Special Issue (SI) dedicated to the theme of the conference to be published in 2017. Read the call for papers here (pdf). While you may wish to use the conference as a platform for testing your ideas for a SI piece, the SI itself is not intended solely as a publication vehicle for presentations made at the conference. It will be open for submission by anyone, and subject to the journal’s usual double-blind peer review process. 

Submissions to the conference have now closed. We look forward to welcoming you to Sydney and to what we hope will be a rich and provocative conference.

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