The University and Its Publics: North, South, and in Between
A Linked Inter-University Teaching Cooperation between Rutgers, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Northwestern
Our project emphasizes students' participation at the borders of academia and the public realm. It intends to underline those projects that involve students in the activation of knowledge, making the classroom and specific pedagogies into a center and mechanism of operation to breach academia towards social urgencies. Our project seeks to foster an inclination to theoretical activism and collective action through the construction of an expansive classroom that works transnationally to cultivate creative thinking.
Latin America and México specifically have developed historically strong political movements derived from the critical and active involvement of public universities in social urgencies. This activation of knowledge has been propelled through the creative relation of academic, pedagogical, and artistic practices working at the border of academia and social urgencies. Student collectives such as Mexico’s Escuelita Zapatista, Colectivo de Diversidad Igualitaria (CODII), and Colectivo Agua de Horchata, Columbia’s Colectivo Rosario, and Argentina’s Colectivo Gaucho, to name a few, seek social cohesion and forms of protest that include critical thinking, critical pedagogies and artistic practices. The visit of Mexico City-based Colectivo Las Penélopes, an undergraduate critical pedagogical project, to Fordham University’s “Hacer Escuela/Inventing School” Workshop in April of 2018 represents precisely the kind of breaching of the academic world toward its fringes, and the turning and tilting of academic and disciplinary thinking, that our project aims to inspire.
This project involves a collaboration between Mexican critical theorist Marisa Belausteguigoitia and US-based scholar Andrew Parker, in consultation with Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel and Ben Sifuentes-Jáuregui. The project includes cross institutional cooperation with the Hacer Escuela project, and participating graduate students at Northwestern University, Fordham, Rutgers, and UNAM. The collaboration will result in the creation of a new critical theory course on the university and its publics, new translations, the creation of a bibliography on critical theory and the public role of the university, and cooperative doctoral workshops.
For more information on Professor Belausteguigoitia, her background, and her work, please click here.
Andrew Parker is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Rutgers. His research concerns the history and practices of literary theory, especially post-war theory in France and its world-wide dissemination. His most recent book is The Theorist’s Mother, which attends to traces of the maternal in the lives and works of canonical theorists from Marx and Freud to Lacan and Derrida. He was the editor and co-translator of Jacques Ranciere’s The Philosopher and His Poor, and has co-edited five other collections of essays. A new book project, “Ventriloquisms,” explores interactions between body and voice across different literary traditions and media forms.
Yolanda Martínez San-Miguel (Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, Rutgers) | Website
Ben Sifuentes-Jáuregui (American Studies and Comparative Literature, Rutgers) | Website
Participating Graduate Students
- Carmen De Schryver (Department of Philosophy)
- Taylor Rogers (Department of Philosophy)
- Zorimar Rivera Montes (Department of Spanish & Portuguese)
- Alicia Núñez (Department of Spanish & Portuguese)
- Nictexa Ytza
- Anaid Martínez
- Tania Gisel Tovar Cervantes
- Tania Gisel Tovar Cervantes (Latin American Studies)
- Alonso Alcaron Mugica (Art History)
The Critical University - Background Reading
Bousquet, Marc. "Introduction: Your Problem Is My Problem." In How the University Works, 1–54. New York: New York University Press, 2008.
Brown, Wendy. "Educating Human Capital." In Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution, 175–200. New York: Zone Books, 2015.
Castro-Gómez, Santiago. "Decolonizar la universidad: La hybris del punto cero y el diálogo de saberes." In El giro decolonial: Reflexiones para una diversidad epistémica más allá del capitalismo global, edited by Santiago Castro-Gómez and Ramón Grosfoguel, 79–91. Bogotá: Siglo del Hombre Editores, 2007.
Derrida, Jacques. "Mochlos, or The Conflict of the Faculties." In Eyes of the University: Right to Philosophy 2, 83–112. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004.
"Gonzalo Portocarrero y Víctor Vich." In En Torno a los Estudios Culturales: Localidades, Trayectorias y Disputas, edited by Nelly Richard, 31–37. Buenos Aires: CLACSO, 2010.
Moten, Fred and Stefano Harney. "The University and the Undercommons: Seven Theses." Social Text 22, no. 2 (2004): 101–115.
Readings, Bill. "Introduction" and "The Idea of Excellence." In The University in Ruins, 1–43. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.
Richard, Nelly. "The Academic Citation and Its Others" and "Antidiscipline, Transdiscipline, and the Redisciplining of Knowledge." In Cultural Residues: Chile in Transition, translated by Theodore Quester and Alan West-Durán, 85–106. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
Sabrovsky, Eduardo. "Universidad de la excelencia y política cultural." Papel Máquina: Revista de cultura 1, no. 2 (2009): 105–119.
Terranova, Tiziana and Marc Bousquet. "Recomposing the University: Discussion of Bousquet, How the University Works." Mute 1, no. 28 (2004): 72–81.
This bibliography was compiled for Transformations of Critical Theory, the inaugural workshop of the Critical Theory in the Global South Project, held at Northwestern University from November 10–13, 2017.
For an extensive list of Critical University Studies resources, containing references to books, articles, videos, and websites, and compiled under the aegis of the ICCTP, please click here.
Belausteguigoitia, Marisa. "Tilting Pedagogies as Utopian Intervention: Outrage, Desire and the Body in the Classroom." Keynote presentation at "The Scholar and Feminist 2013: Utopia" conference at Barnard College on March 2, 2013. | Video
Mbembe, Achille, Judith Butler, Wendy Brown, David Theo Goldberg. "The University and its Worlds: A Panel Discussion with Achille Mbembe, Judith Butler, Wendy Brown, and David Theo Goldberg." Panel discussion at University of the Western Cape on May 26, 2016. | Video
The 'Errant Syllabi' Workshop
In October 2019, the CTGS project hosted the 'Errant Syllabi' workshop, a culminating event in the 'University and Its Publics' subproject. Faculty and graduate students from Northwestern, UNAM, and Rutgers gathered on Northwestern University's downtown Chicago campus for a three-day series of presentations and collaborative meetings, with the goal of producing innovative academic syllabi in the field of Latinx and Latin American Gender Theory. The following links provide access to materials produced in preparation for, and as an outcome of, this inventive collaboration between our group of scholars:
- Workshop Program
- Workshop Precis (written by Northwestern PhD candidate Carmen De Schryver)
- Workshop Bibliography (produced as an outcome)
News & Events
- February 2020 | Northwestern
On February 25, 2020, project participants Zorimar Rivera Montes and Alicia Núñez will be presenting their research at the Latin American and Carribbean Studies (LACS) program's third LACS Grad Workshop.
- October 2019 | Northwestern
Over the weekend of October 18-20, 2019, the Critical Theory in the Global South project convened the 'Errant Syllabi' workshop, a series of collaborative meetings organized with the purpose of undertaking innovative critical maneuvers in syllabus production for academic courses taught under the rubric of Latinx and Latin American Gender Theory. The workshop, which took place on Northwestern University's Chicago campus, included the participation of UNAM's Marisa Belausteguigoitia, Rutgers' Andy Parker, and Northwestern's Penelope Deutscher, as well as several graduate students from each of those institutions. A detailed precis of the workshop events and outcomes, written by Northwestern PhD candidate in Philosophy, Carmen De Schryver, can be found here. The workshop schedule can be found here.
- November 2018 | UNAM
From November 19-23, 2018, scholars from UNAM, Northwestern, and Rutgers gathered in Mexico City for a workshop on the topic of critical and decolonial pedagogy, especially as it relates to issues of feminism and gender. Two questions that guided the week included: How is a critical/decolonial classroom/university constructed? How is a critical/decolonial curriculum constructed? In seeking out answers to these questions, scholars actively observed how teaching must accommodate everyday violence in precarious contexts such as the prison and public universities during times of civil unrest (particularly in México regarding the contemporary tragedy of mass violent disappearances of young women). Activities focused on the role of the body and the role of art, two pedagogical resources often under-utilized in less precarious settings. In preparation for the week, scholars read a number of texts on critical pedagogy, and were asked to engage with contemporary issues of violence in México through other readings and videos.
Participants joined in several planned activities. Perhaps most notable, they attended Santa Martha Catitla, an all-women’s prison outside of Mexico City, in order to learn about “Mujeres en Espiral: sistema de justiciar, perspectiva de género y pedagogías en resistencia” (Women in Spiral: The Justice System, Perspectives of Gender, and Pedagogies of Resistance), a project led by Marisa Belausteguigoitia of UNAM. The project centers on visual art as an ineliminable pedagogical method within precarious learning settings such as prison. Other activities included: a workshop entitled “Dissidence, the body, and critical thinking” in which scholars were asked to explore movement and dance as critical pedagogy, a special symposium from Marisa’s undergraduate students who paired theory with their own experiences of violence in México, and a seminar on curriculum from the global south. At the end of the week, scholars developed ideas for further collaboration, such as jointly generating syllabi, translation projects, and applying insights gained from the week into their own classrooms, and/or into non-academic contexts they might be involved with.
- September 2018
Carmen De Schryver, a doctoral student in Philosophy at Northwestern, researched and wrote the résumé of Marisa Belausteguigoitia's pedagogical concepts available above. Carmen's research focuses on deconstruction, phenomenology, Africana philosophy, and post-colonial theory. She is particularly interested in meta-philosophical issues pertaining to the nature of philosophy, the drawing up of disciplinary boundaries, and the geographical localization of philosophical thinking.
- August 2018
In November of 2018, Professor Parker will travel to UNAM to work with Professor Belausteguigoitia on their collaborative syllabus. He will be joined by two graduate students from Rutgers (Rafael Vizcaíno and Paulina Barrios) and two from Northwestern (Carmen De Schryver and Taylor Rogers). During their visit they will meet with Colectivo Las Penélopes.
- April 11–14, 2018 | Fordham University
Professor Belausteguigoitia and Colectivo Las Penélopes, a UNAM-based feminist collective comprising Nictexa Ytza, Anaid Martínez, and Gisel Tovar, visited Fordham for the inaugural meeting of the Hacer Escuela/Inventing School workshop series. During their visit, Las Penélopes participated in a session on Philosophical Outreach, delivering a presentation entitled "The Formation of Collectives in a Critical University: Pedagogies of Resistance, Gender Perspectives, and Artistic Practices."
Colectivo Las Penélopes delivering their presentation "The Formation of Collectives in a Critical University." From left to right: Nictexa Ytza, Gisel Tovar, and Anaid Martínez (and in the background, Jason Wozniak)
Northwestern and Fordham graduate students interviewing Marisa Belausteguigoitia and Las Penélopes concerning their pedagogical work at UNAM and in prisons in the Mexico City area. Clockwise from left: Jesús Luzardo (Fordham), Anaid Martínez, Nictexa Ytza, Gisel Tovar, Taylor Rogers (Northwestern), Regina Hurley (Northwestern), and Professor Belausteguigoitia.
- November 10–13, 2017 | Northwestern
Professors Belausteguigoitia and Parker participated in Transformations of Critical Theory, the inaugural workshop of the Critical Theory in the Global South Project. On the final day of the workshop, Professor Belausteguigoitia, together with Professor Evan Mwangi, chaired a teach-in for graduate students on the theme "The Transnational Routes of Gender: Global South Reading Strategies and Critique in Feminist Theory." Professors Parker and José Medina offered responses.
"The Transnational Routes of Gender: Global South Reading Strategies and Critique in Feminist Theory" teach-in
Professor Belausteguigoitia chairing the teach-in