Fifty years on from the legendary protests of 1968, and the student occupations which sought radically to contest the nature of the university, we are holding a conference to extend the questions of this moment into today’s context by exploring of the institution of the University. Recently, the emerging field of Critical University Studies has provided a discursive framework for critique of the University, and has paid particular attention to its economic status within the neoliberal market. This, and other issues such as free speech in universities and their payment of staff come to regular prominence in public discourse. We aim to contribute to these discussions by asking how large-scale structures have impacted upon the embodied and local workings of institutional life, and how such dynamics might map onto or deviate from these larger political structures, and to bring new disciplinary vocabularies into dialogue with the field of Critical University Studies, highlighting in particular the following three approaches. Firstly, historical research, especially that of local, surprising or otherwise underrepresented areas; secondly, how “lived” descriptions of current experience may situate our understanding of the tensions and contentions of the contemporary moment; and finally, in explorations of the unconscious aspects of the University.
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