Preliminary Notes on the Charter of the Invisible University

12 Dec

Yesterday we posted ‘Four Thesis on the Invisible University‘, below are some notes towards a ‘charter for the invisible university’. Both are taken from the author’s blog here:

I. Community

As I am fond of pointing out, the word university comes from universitas magistrorum et scholarium, a community [guild] of teachers and scholars. Community here stands in opposition to factory. It is a redefinition of the relationship between those who make up the university (student, faculty, and staff). It also underscores that the university is the people in it, not the buildings or even the institution.

II. Autonomous

Medieval universities struggled to find a place for themselves between the competing powers of the church and king. Then in the 19th century they were colonized by the imperial project. And now, they have become firmly inscribed in the flow of (military-)corporatism. However, universities have always required a degree of autonomy in order to function. It is this that has made them, time and again, hot beds of radicalism and change.

III. Open

Both wikileaks and the fee hikes speak to the issue of access and openness. From journals that cost and arm and a leg to insular fields that disdain the uninitiated the university has increasingly turned its back on outsiders. But not only should access to information and learning be free (gratis and libre) but there should also be openness at the input side, an openness to subaltern epistemes.

IV. Invisible

Invisible in that I don’t want to build yet-another-institution. Invisible the way a guerrilla movement melts back into, and is, part of the landscape. Many of the tools and spaces for such an undertaking already exist (twitter, aaaaarg, the local park down the streeti), and combining everything into a monolithic website or structure would miss the point. Invisibility is ultimate an insistence on quotidian praxis.


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