How To Survive the Neoliberal University?

A NICA Atelier

Convenors: Yolande Jansen and Jeroen de Kloet
Date: January 25, 2012
Time: 13.00-17.00
Location: Potgieterzaal, University Library, Singel 425
Registration: Please email Eloe Kingma (


  • René Boomkens (Professor of Social and Cultural Philosophy, University of Groningen)
  • Jan Masschelein (Centre for Philosophy of Education, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
  • Maarten Simons (Centre for Educational Policy and Innovation/ Centre for Philosophy of Education, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)

Over the past decade, universities worldwide have changed profoundly. Some have referred to the new University as the corporate university, others as the neoliberal university. It is often claimed that the university has become a place that is driven by output and profit making and ever increasing levels of competition. This competition is a globalized one, with English as its lingua franca. Simultaneously, academic jobs have become precarious, in particular for junior faculty members, who often shoulder the heaviest workload on the basis of unreliable short-term contracts. What role, then, does the university play today in forming and distributing knowledge and critical thinking, and what role could it play in the near future? In this workshop, we will, together with authors who have published extensively on the role of the university, reflect upon these questions. We want to search, together with the participants to the workshop, for possible ways to engage with the changing university, ways that secure the university as a place for creative, intellectual exchange and debate, ways that help us navigate amidst the educational and professional changes that are taking place today. Participants are expected to read the articles in a reader that will be provided to them in advance. The number of participants is limited and registration is required.

Reading list:
1. ‘Breaking the Silence: The Hidden Injuries of the Neoliberal University’ in Roisin Ryan Flood and Rosalind Gill (eds.), Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process: Feminist Reflections, London: Routledge, 2010: 228-244.
2. Yiu Fai Chow, Jeroen de Kloet et Helen Hok-Sze Leung, ‘Towards an Ethics of Slowness in an Era of Academic Corporatism’,, Actuel, 12.07.2010. Zie:
3. Jan Masschelein and Maarten Simons (2009) ‘From Active Citizenship to World Citizenship: a Proposal for a World University’ in European Educational Research Journal Volume 8 Number 2, 236—248.
4. Jan Masschelein, Joris Vlieghe, Maarten Simons and Mathias Decuypere (2011) ‘Curating the European University; On Experiments, Roundtables and Containers’ in Curating the European University, Leuven: Leuven University Press. p. 5-8.
5. Jan Masschelein and Maarten Simons (2011) ‘Universitas Magistrorum et Scholarium; A Short History of Profanation’ in Curating the European University, Leuven: Leuven University Press, p. 81-88.