The Paradox of Degrowth in Academia

I study degrowth – a critique of capitalism’s growth imperative and agenda for equitable downscaling of production and consumption in industrialised countries (Schneider et al., 2010). Beyond a scholarly project, degrowth encompasses a utopian vision of the future, an activist undertaking, and a policy agenda to achieve environmental sustainability, social justice, and well-being (Demaria et... Continue Reading →

Beyond the North/South divide

Image by fikry anshor on Unsplash From the 2000’s onwards, the term ‘global south’ has become extremely popular, both in political discourse and in academia. With growing calls for the diversification and decolonisation of the curriculum, the inclusion of ‘southern scholarship’ has also gained significant traction, and research on the exotic ‘south’ seems to be receiving increasing attention... Continue Reading →

Democracy in the university estate

During the current wave of UCU strikes, the slogan ‘People, not buildings’ came to prominence on the picket lines. To those of us who are on strike, it is concerning that universities tend to consider buildings as their ‘poster children’ more often. When capital is channelled into the estate, it happens at the cost of... Continue Reading →

ChatGPT: The case for technological pessimism

The conversation around ChatGPT in higher education has gone straight to a discussion of university assessment methods and whether Chat GPT and other Large Language Models spell the death knell for the academic essay. Many universities have been quick to assume that ChatGPT will be a problem for higher education by making it more difficult... Continue Reading →

No grades for undergraduate students?

Teaching for the first time in a UK university in 2021 I noticed how focused my students were on assessments and grades. Many of the questions I get in lessons and office hours are not about the class material but about essays, exams and how to get a distinction. Having attended an undergraduate programme –... Continue Reading →

Orthodox Criticality: What Herbert Marcuse Cannot Tell Us About Teaching Outside Mainstream IR

Teaching IR487 “International Relations (IR): Critical Perspectives” last term, I discovered that the famously pessimistic philosopher Herbert Marcuse may, in fact, have been a romantic optimist. This discovery coincided with my counterintuitive realization that there may be such a thing as too much success in challenging a disciplinary mainstream. Marcuse believed that “diversifying” curricula would only... Continue Reading →

BAME: One Size Does Not fit all

In the UK Higher Education(HE) practices of inclusion, students, and staff who are non-white are often lumped together under the category of ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic’. BAME, the acronym, that gained currency in 2004, is used as a ‘modifying adjective’ or a noun, without defining it, and as shorthand for difference (Aspinall, 2021:107). This... Continue Reading →

In today’s university, who cares?

There is a crisis of care in UK universities.  Caring for others takes time. And, as the peculiarly Western, capitalist adage goes: time costs money. Yet, neither time nor money are in abundant supply for lecturers in Higher Education who, despite increases in workloads, have had real-term pay cuts of 20% since 2009 and nearly... Continue Reading →

Decolonising Mathematics: an oxymoron?

Much attention has been given over recent years to decolonisation in the context of higher education, including three recent posts in this very blog. For some disciplines, such as Art or Literature, it is clear why decolonisation should take place; after all, not all art was created by dead White men, despite what glancing at... Continue Reading →

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