Beyond the University: Autonomous Education Initiatives (II)
Mike Neary (University of Lincoln) Social Science Centre, Lincoln (UK)
Social Science Centre, Lincoln (UK): An ‘Institution of the Common’
The Social Science Centre (SSC) is a not-for-profit, co-operative model of higher education, based in Lincoln in the UK. The Centre is managed by its members: academics, students, administrators, educators, activists, on the basis of democratic, non-hierarchical, dynamic self-organisational principles. Students will pay no fee to become a member of the Centre, but can make a subscription based on their income. Academics involved in the Centre will not receive any remuneration. Students will leave the Centre with an award that is at the level of graduate, or post graduate degree, accredited by the members of the centre. This talk will describe the political and policy context out of which the Social Science Centre has emerged, the process by which it has been set up, as well as some of the challenges and difficulties that it is facing. The paper will also situate the project within a range of other similar projects that are being set up in the UK. By attending the conference members of the Social Science Centre hope to make contact with activists, academics and students working on creating other ‘institutions of the common’ ( Roggero 2011). For further information on the Social Science Centre, see http://socialsciencecentre.org.uk
Dean of Teaching and Learning; Director of the Graduate School; Director of the Centre for Educational Research and Development
Greig de Peuter and Christine Shaw (Toronto School of Creativity and Inquiry)
Debriefing: Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry
The call-out for this gathering invited debriefings from a variety of struggles, contexts, and places. This presentation will address a local autonomous education project, the Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI). Between 2005 and 2010 this collective, of which the two presenters are members, put on several public forums, reading groups, art exhibitions, and free lectures. The purpose of this presentation is to describe this project. It will situate TSCI in a larger wave of alternative education initiatives that have proliferated since 2000. The presentation will conclude by beginning to consider some concepts–slowness, exhaustion, friendship, prefiguration, and stalling–to reflect on this project, to assess some of the challenges confronted by such institutions, and, perhaps, to imagine it anew.
Brian Holmes, Malav Kanuga (16Beaver)
Organizing and Aggregating the Common: Toward an Autonomous Network of Space, Knowledge, and Subjectivity.
A relatively dense set of alternative practices and solidarities within and beyond the university already exists, and more are emerging. They have been important in our collective attempts to amass knowledge for our struggles in a new militant context. We seek to reflect and build upon the experiences of people and projects currently undertaking the work of plotting, planning, and scheming autonomous networks of space, knowledge, and subjectivity. We therefore pose the question of organizing and aggregating the common. So that we may think more clearly about what it means to organize our cooperative networks beyond the borders of the knowledge economy, we pose the following lines of inquiry:
With what forms and through what practices does a network become organized into a common? Upon what bases, principles, and politics, do we coordinate militant research, develop new knowledges, reappropriate time and resource, and de-individuate our work and social lives? How to organize a network loose enough to hold many adventures with different goals, languages, local roots, ideologies and temperaments—yet tight enough to encourage collaboration and create desire? How to organize networks of flight from the institutions that capture our common intelligence, work, and social relations (e.g. universities and museums) and how to reappropriate resources, time, and relationships in the process?
This is a conversation that we will begin in Toronto and continue at 16 Beaver in NYC the following weekend.
I (Malav Kanuga) live in Brooklyn, NY where I am editor and programmer of the publishing imprint/event series Common Notions/This Is Forever (www.commonnotions.org). I also research value, urbanism, and surplus populations in postcolonial India as a doctoral student in the cultural anthropology department at the CUNY Graduate Center. I often coordinate autonomous education initiatives at 16 Beaver as well as at the CUNY Graduate Center (where our self-organized seminars have been for credit), and am beginning to work on issues of archiving autonomous knowledges with Interference Archive (http://interferencearchive.org/)
Social Struggles in the Crisis of Canadian Public Education
Adam Lewis (Queen’s University)
Decolonize the Neoliberal University
As neoliberal and capitalist modes of oppression and further encroach on public spaces of resistance, such as the university, oppositional movements continue to grow. Despite attempts to push back against this capitalist onslaught, resistance within the university (and in broader struggles) has been slow to take stock of the colonial residues that permeate both the university as an institution and movements of resistance.
In this presentation I name colonialism, and more specifically settler colonialism, as a system of oppression and privilege that needs to be challenged in the university and beyond. I aim to look at some of the ways in which colonialism operates as a system of privilege for settler academics and activists, and seek to engage possibilities for working as allies to Indigenous struggles within and outside the academy. More specifically, I probe, following Regan (2010) and Barber (2010), how we might as settlers seek to “unsettle” colonial privileges and engage in processes of decolonization. I suggest that both political solidarity (Scholz 2008) as well as the historical and continuing relationship between Haudenosaunee peoples and Dutch/British settlers recorded as the Two Row Wampum present opportunities for thinking about how to engage differently as academics and activists. I seek to raise questions that explore what might solidarity and decolonization mean. What does this look like in the neoliberal university? In social movements that push back against further capitalist intensification? What might it mean to be a settler ally in these contexts? Overall, I aim to argue for a decolonizing and anti-colonial academic practice that seeks to challenge colonialism and support Indigenous struggles in the academy and beyond.
Adam Lewis is an anarchist activist working towards settler decolonization in social movement and academic contexts. He is currently working to finish his MA thesis in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University on anarchist engagements with Indigenous struggles of resistance and the possibilities of developing anarcha-Indigenism as a form of anti-authoritarian and anti-colonial politics. He was one of 20 people arrested on conspiracy charges from organizing against the G20 in Toronto in 2010. In November
2011 he and 5 others accepted a plea deal to a lesser charge of counseling that resulted in charges being dropped for 11 others, and as a result is currently serving a 3.5-month jail sentence.
Gary Kinsman, Laurel O’Gorman, Tyler Horton, Danielle Beaulieu, and Melanie Durette (Laurentian University)
The Struggle Within, Against and Beyond Neo-Liberalism at Laurentian University
We would like to propose a joint student/faculty workshop/panel at the conference on “The Struggle Within, Against and Beyond Neo-Liberalism at Laurentian University.” Laurentian University is located in Sudbury, Ontario. This session will include a number of presentations from students and faculty at Laurentian that develop a critical analysis of how neo-liberalism is being implemented at Laurentian University against workers, students and faculty as well as the possibilities for resistance and struggle. This mapping out of the local social relations of struggle against the neo-liberal and capitalist university will include the attempt to undercut academic standards through delivering university programs through a community-college setup in Barrie; the impact on support staff including the partly successful strike by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM); the specific impact on francophone programs; the impact on student services and tuition fees; the impact on the humanities and social science programs in particular; and the shift from full-time core faculty to sessionals and precarious workers. The workshop/panel will also make visible contradictions and map out the possibilities for resistance and transformation (including the participation of some of the campus-based activists in the occupy movement) that can be very useful when brought together with other local analysis to develop a broader overall analysis and way of moving.
This session/workshop relates to the following themes outlined in the call for submissions: mapping the terrain of campus struggle, waged and unwaged labour in the university, the university and the occupy movement, the death of the humanities, the economics of the neoliberal university, University and student governance, and the undergraduate experience of neoliberalism.
Laurel O’Gorman is a queer single mother with two young children. She is currently finishing her MA in sociology in Laurentian University’s Sociology program. Her research focuses on access to education for single mother students and she also works with feminism and queer theory. Laurel sometimes enjoys causing a rukus to expose power relations in her role as the president of CUPE local 5011 representing graduate teaching assistants at Laurentian University, and as a community activist working on issues like LGBTQ rights, student issues, anti-poverty work, union organizing, and women’s rights. Right wing pundits are put off by (or, possibly terrified of) her anti-oppressive and anti-capitalist views; recently, her work with the occupy together movement caught the attention of an op-ed writer for nationally recognized paper who named Laurel (as a single mother, liberal arts student, and union activist) of being a main cause of the economic recession.
Gary Kinsman is a long-time queer liberation, anti-poverty, and anti-capitalist activist and is a member of the new Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP). He is the author of The Regulation of Desire: Homo and Hetero Sexualities, co-author (with Patrizia Gentile) of The Canadian War on Queers: National Security as Sexual Regulation, and editor of Whose National Security? and Sociology for Changing the World. He teaches sociology at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, on the historic territories of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek nation.
Carolyn Sale (University of Alberta)
Disclosing the Foreclosed University
Taiva Tegler (University of Ottawa), Dillon Black(Carleton University) and Quinn Blue
Pass the Dildo Please: Radical Queer Pedagogy to Deconstruct, Rebuild, and Transform Our Spaces of Learning
For actors at the front lines of activism in the academy community collaboration and partnership(s) play a critical role in challenging the institution; concurrently, the institution can provide support and resources to community social justice work. My research is rooted in the perspective that pedagogy is at the heart of transformative struggle and plays a pivotal role in engaging with critical thought that lays challenge to oppressive forces existing within our institutions of knowledge production (namely the Academy). First, I will draw from an in-depth semi structured interview with a social justice, queer-identified, community-based educator on the subject of radical sex-education contributing a Post-Secondary feminist classroom. The analysis and outcomes provide comprehensive pedagogical tools that may be mobilized in transformative ways to intervene in and challenge the Academy, as well as develop further links between community social justice organizing and feminist academia. In the second stage, I draw on lessons from my own experiences – highlighting specific examples – as a social justice organizer, radical militant activist, student union executive, sexual assault support worker and feminist educator to speak to the contradictions, complexities and possibilities in the spaces between activism and academia. Finally, I conclude with a look at the role radical pedagogy can play as a tool of activists and educators to rework our places of learning and contribute to strategies of resistance.
Taiva Tegler is a radical, queer, activist, student and anti-violence support worker – her work is bound up in (un)learning power, privilege and decolonization. Her passions manifest in radical queer pedagogy and its role in transformative struggle within systems of education and as a tool of intervention. Taiva is currently a student union executive, a support worker with the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa (SASC) and a community activist with a number of groups including Under Pressure! a direct action anti-poverty collective.
Dillon Black is a trans/gender-nonconforming anti-violence activist and social worker who uses radical activism as a means of challenging systems and structures of power. Dillon is passionate about youth centered initiatives and building capacity for community as a tool to educate and transform and has a particular interest in the intersections of race, queerness, disability and transembodiment. Dillon is active in anti-violence work locally, and transnationally and sees anti-racist, decolonization, and decriminalization organizing as central to the work they do and pivotal to breaking down borders and binaries of all kinds. Dillon sits on the National Youth Advisory Board for Sexual Health and HIV, partnered with the Native Youth Sexual Health Network and is studying Social Work with a double minor in Indigenous and Sexuality Studies at Carleton University.
Quinn Blue is a queer trans student anti-violence activist. Quinn strives to integrate learning and unlearning into every aspect of his life, and works to deconstruct systems of power and privilege. Quinn passionate about reproductive justice, consent, sex positivity, and building a world we want to see through education, learning, and unlearning. Quinn is currently a student, a coordinator at a Women’s Resource Centre, a member of the Youth Advisory Committee of Project Acorn, a sexuality educator for youth, and a grassroots activist.
Taiva, Dillon and Quinn currently reside in Ottawa, Ontario: Turtle Island.