Skip to main content

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

This project has emphasized students' participation at the borders of academia and the public realm. It underlines 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. It is commited to fostering 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 has involved 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 resulted in the creation of a new model for cooperative doctoral workshops. It will also result in the creation of a new critical theory course on the university and its publics, new translations,  and the creation of a bibliography on critical theory and the public role of the university.


Marisa Belausteguigoitia is Professor in the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She received her Ph.D. in Ethnic and Gender Studies from the University of California Berkeley. Her work analyzes the construction of new pedagogies at the borders of cultural studies, visual culture, and gender studies. She examines relationships among gender, race, identity, and culture in Latin America, identifying processes by which justice and resistance, as well as exclusion, are accessed. She also studies the function of art, especially visual and literary narrative, which she analyzes as staging a kind of speaking-up, constructing discourses of resistance and human rights. She was Director of the Gender Studies Program at UNAM from 2004 to 2013. Currently she is Director of the project Spiral Women: Juridical Systems, Gender Perspectives and Pedagogies in Resistance, an academic and activist initiative that fosters women’s access to real justice, through practices of pedagogical, juridical, and artistic intervention in prison. She has recently been granted the prestigious Andrés Bello Chair in Latin American Cultures and Civilizations at NYU for 2019.

A résumé of the central concepts and themes of Professor Belausteguigoitia's philosophy of pedagogy, compiled by Northwestern Philosophy graduate student Carmen De Schryver, is available here.

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.

Consulting Faculty

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






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.

Background Viewing

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:

News & Events




Back to top