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Nowadays, policymakers, university administrators and higher education scholars are involved in academic and political debates about the future of the university. What defines these discussions is the noticeable dominance of a particular globalist perspective that seems to have seized power over how we envision the future of higher education.

This globalist perspective finds reinforcement in neo-institutionalist theories focusing on universities within a global knowledge economy, the widespread adoption of university rankings globally, and the accompanying rhetoric promoting excellence and the concept of world-class universities. What is striking is that this globalist perspective has not only laid claim to the imagination of the university's future but also to the narration of its past.

The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate how the globalist perspective aligns with a particular Eurocentric account of the emergence of the contemporary higher education landscape, while overlooking historical dynamics of power. The assumption is that more situated accounts of various histories of the university will engender different imaginings of its future that are perhaps more desirable than the ones propagated under the banner of globalism. 

Speaker: Hans Schildermans

Dr Hans Schildermans works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Education at the University of Vienna. He is the author of Experiments in Decolonizing the University. Towards an Ecology of Study (Bloomsbury, 2021).

Currently, he is working on a research project about how the future of the university has been imagined in the past in a variety of postcolonial contexts. He is interested in developing an empirical philosophy of higher education. 

This event was part of the CPPR Lunchtime Seminar series.