Old Dog, Old Tricks?

To kick off this project, it would seem useful to consider the issues that will be dealt with at EduFactory! in some sort of historical context. Recent developments across campuses in Australia have incited a call to arms against the coming of the neoliberal degree factory, as though subordinating tertiary education to the demands of the market is a new trick. But the old dogs of university management (and indeed other sections of the elite) have treated the institution in this way for decades, as this speech by Mario Savio on the steps of Sproul Hall, UCBerkeley in 1964 attests..

Arguably this speech – adorned as it is with all the rhetorical tropes of contemporary student alarmism – should make the historical, political and economic character of the university a central focus for anyone looking down the barrel of the current crisis. Without trying to understand it, there can be no coherent response to the intransigence of the university’s management, its lack of federal support or its corporatisation. But if the university has long been tied as a mass institution to elite economic and political interests, students in search of an education free of such corrupting influences are faced with a difficult question: can it be taught new tricks? How? If not, why? And where does that leave us?

EduFactory! is an attempt to get to the bottom of these questions and more. Click here to register.

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