Reimagining Our University Preconference at the 2019 IAMCR Conference
Date and time: Sunday July 7, 2019, 9:00am-4:30pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Proposal deadline: April 6, 2019 (11:59pm MST)
At the upcoming 2019 IAMCR Conference, we will be gathering to engage the role of communication in fulfilling the Preamble of the Paris Declaration (UN, 1948), which states that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world".
This commitment must begin within our own institutions. However, contemporary universities are undergoing a process of the so-called “neoliberalization”, in which students are called “customers” or “users”, and faculty and graduate students are reduced to labor force or “service providers”. In this context, the contemporary University’s commitments to financial viability often undermine and prevail upon the collective attempts of faculty, staff, and students to cultivate a community of knowledge.
It can be tempting to call for a return towards the origins of the university, for a restoration of its initial commitment to the Humanities and the development of thoughtful citizens. However, even if the university was not always as commercially driven, the university has never been committed fully to the dignity and rights of all members of the human family. It has always been exclusionary in some form, and the university participated actively in the European colonial project.
Instead it is necessary to begin with a blank slate and imagine the modern university from the ground up, as we need it to be. What purpose should the university have in today’s society? For whom should the university be designed? How should coursework be structured? How should the tenure process function? Can we design financially stable institutions without structuring such institutions around financial viability and market interests? These are massive questions with which we must wrestle, and we must wrestle with them together.
Reimagining Our University aims to cultivate solidarity and collaboration by bringing emerging scholars together to discuss our concerns with the contemporary university and brainstorm solutions to some of these questions. We are the future of the university, and we can either choose to accept the university as it stands, prioritizing our personal success within market-driven structures, or we can choose to develop transnational networks of emerging scholars committed to supporting one another as we develop and cultivate visions of what the university might become.
The preconference will be divided into two parts: (1) three conference-style roundtables in which individuals share ten-minute provocations, followed by open discussion; and (2) carefully designed workshops aimed at targeted brainstorming and goal-setting in response to previously identified key areas of concern.
Call for Proposals:
Faculty and graduate students at all levels are encouraged to apply. Though this preconference is sponsored by the Emerging Scholars Network and emphasizes the collaboration and contributions of emerging scholars, we value the insights and perspectives of experienced academics who also wish to reimagine the university as it exists today.
For the first session, we request interested participants to submit an author bio and a 300-word abstract outlining their brief ten-minute provocations that offer insights, challenges, calls to action, or other reflections in response to the central question of this preconference: how must we rethink and reimagine the university today?
For the second session, we request interested workshop organizers to submit a CV and one-page proposal outlining their idea for a workshop related to the theme of this preconference.
Potential topics for provocations or workshops could include:
• Decolonizing the university
• Rethinking the publishing model
• Public scholarship and the university
• The future of finances within the Academy
• The tenure-track process
• University infrastructures
• The university’s responsibility to the environment
As this pre-conference will function as a workshop, involving the active participation of all conference attendees, all in attendance may request a letter to their home institution, in which we advocate for their merit to receive travel funding, regardless of whether they are one of the speakers presenting a provocation.
The Emerging Scholars Network is the key organizer and sponsor of this event. ESN (http://iamcr.org/s-wg/section/emerging-scholars-network-section/home) is a section dedicated to the work and careers of emerging scholars in the field of media studies and communication. The ESN organizes emerging scholar panels and joint panels with other sections. Emerging Scholars panels provide a comfortable environment for the presentation of theses and works in progress, where emerging scholars can receive feedback from colleagues also at the beginning of their careers and from senior scholars who act as respondents to individual papers.
Please send all proposals and queries to Rachel Lara van der Merwe (University of Colorado Boulder) at email@example.com no later than April 6, 2019 (midnight MST).