Saturday, September 19, 2015

Critical Pedagogy Vs. Capital: Reigniting the Conversation



4th Annual Conference 2015
November 6th & 7th 2015
Location: West Chester University, 700 South High Street, West Chester, PA 19383, USA
Two Days of Discussion and Music!

Opening Conference Keynote:  Bill Ayers
Professor Ayers is a Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired). He is a member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society. Dr. Ayers has taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. To learn more about Dr. Ayers and his work please visit his webpage at:

Closing Conference Keynote: Dave Hill
Dave Hill is Research Professor of Education at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, England, and Visiting Professor of Education at the Universities of Athens, Greece, Middlesex, London.  Dave is a Marxist academic and political activist in different countries, in particular with trade unions and left / socialist / Marxist groups in Greece, Turkey and Ireland as well as England. His academic work focuses on issues of neoliberalism, capitalism, class, `race’, resistance and socialist education/ education for equality; critical pedagogy/critical education. He founded in 2003 and chief edits the free online peer-juried journal, the Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies,, a free online, scholarly, peer-juried international journal that has had nearly a million downloads in 10 years.

Musical Artists: Marcel Cartier, Magik, and Squid Brothers Inc.

Call For Papers
The 4th Annual Conference on Critical Theories in the 21st Century aims to reinvigorate the field of critical pedagogy. The primary question driving this conference is: What is to be done to make critical pedagogy an effective educational weapon in the current struggle against capitalism and imperialism?
There is no doubt that we are at a critical juncture in history in terms of the limits of nature’s vital ecosystems, the physical limits of the progressive accumulation of capital, and the deepening reactionary ideology and scapegoating that exacerbates the oppression of youth of color. If critical pedagogy is to play a significant role in intervening in the current context, then a sharpened sense of purpose and direction is needed.

Some examples of possible topics include:
·         * Marxism
·         * Post-structuralism/post-modernism
·         * Anarchism
·         * Challenging the unholy trinity of state, capital, and religion
·         * Class and the capital-labor dialectic
·         * Identity and economics
·         * Hierarchical and vertical forms of organization (i.e., vanguards versus networks)
·         * Reform versus revolution
·         * Socialism, communism, & democracy
·         * Affect theory and the new materialisms
·         * The knowledge economy, post-Fordism, and “cognitive capitalism”
·         * Critical geography

While this conference will include important presentations and debates in critical pedagogy, it will not be limited to this focus. In other words, as critical theory becomes more inclusive, global, and all encompassing, this conference welcomes more than just academics as important contributors. That is, we recognize students and youth groups as possessing authentic voices based on their unique relationship to capitalism and will therefore be open to them as presenters and discussion leaders.
While this conference will include important presentations and challenging discussions based in critical pedagogy, it will not be limited to this focus. In other words, as critical theory becomes more inclusive, global, and all encompassing, this conference welcomes more than just academics as important contributors.
Please submit abstract proposals (500-1000 words) to: Curry Malott (
Proposal due date: September 27th, 2015

Conference website:

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:
Posted here by Glenn Rikowski
Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: 
Ruth Rikowski @ Academia:

Ruth Rikowski at Serendipitous Moments:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Crises, Commodities and Education: Disruptions, Eruptions, Interruptions and Ruptures

Glenn Rikowski


Dr. Glenn Rikowski
RiCES @LincsCritEd
University of Lincoln
School of Education
Brayford Pool, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK
Thursday November 19th 1.30-4.00pm in room BH1201:
Dr Glenn Rikowski, Independent Scholar
Crises, Commodities and Education: Disruptions, Eruptions, Interruptions and Ruptures
After a brief analysis of the concept of crisis (drawing on the work of Roitman, 2014) and following an outline and critique of some previous work (Rikowski, 2014) – on the Classical Theory of Education Crisis (in the light of Sarup, 1982) and philosophical perspectives on education crises – Rikowski explores the notion of crisis in relation to phenomena pertaining to the social forms of capitalist education. Starting out from Marx’s analysis of the ‘two great classes of commodities’ (following Adam Smith), Rikowski charts what ‘crisis’ might mean, and could be, in terms of the two commodity forms pertaining to educational processes in capitalist society. The final part of the paper explores actual and possible empirical manifestations of these crises of the commodity form in terms of the notions of disruption, eruption, interruption and rupture. It is argued that last two of these forms of crisis pose particular problems for the continuance and development of capitalism in general and the national capital and capitalist education in particular.

Note: A paper will be produced prior to the event and posted to Academia. Meanwhile, it would be useful for those interested in coming to the seminar, or for those reading the paper on Academia, to read in advance the following paper (which is on Academia). This is because Rikowski’s paper prepared for the RiCES Seminar builds on and goes beyond this paper:

Rikowski, G. (2014) Crises in Education, Crises of Education, A paper prepared for the Philosophy of Education Seminars at UCL Institute of Education, 2014-15 Programme, 22nd October 2014, 20 Bedford Way, London, online at Academia: 

For further information contact Dr. Cassie Earl at:
Research in Critical Education Studies (RiCES) blog:

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:
Posted here by Glenn Rikowski
Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: 
Ruth Rikowski @ Academia:
Ruth Rikowski at Serendipitous Moments:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ruth Rikowski @ Academia

Ruth Rikowski


Ruth Rikowski is now a member of Academia and a collection of her published papers and articles can now be found there.

Ruth Rikowski at Academia:  

Ruth Rikowski is a Visiting Lecturer in the Business School at London South Bank University, UK. She is also a Freelance Editor for Chandos Publishing, Oxford, UK.  Ruth is an Associate of the Higher Education Academy (AHEA) and a Chartered Librarian. Ruth Rikowski is the author of Globalisation, Information and Libraries (Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2005) and editor of Knowledge Management: Social, cultural and theoretical perspectives (Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2007) and Digitisation Perspectives (Sense Publishers, 2010). She has written numerous articles in journals such as Business Information Review, Policy Futures in Education, Information for Social Change and Managing Information and given many talks and presentations, focusing in particular on globalisation, knowledge management, information technology, Marxism and feminism. She is currently engaged in writing a series of novels.

The Rikowski website, ‘The Flow of Ideas’ can be found at  and Ruth’s blog, ‘Serendipitous Moments’ is at

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Abolition of the University

The Open Library of Humanities (OLM)
Deadline: 1st November 2015

In 1968, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and his colleagues at the University of Nairobi called for the abolition of the English department. They attacked an enduring colonial legacy and envisioned an intellectual renaissance in Africa. In 2012, at the University of Glasgow: “Forty years after Ngũgĩ and his colleagues argued for it in Nairobi, the abolition of the Scottish Department was achieved by managerial diktat in Glasgow.” Two institutional interventions: the first driven by the desire to liberate education from epistemological and pedagogical domination; the second, by the neoliberal business model. This special edition seeks to consider the chequered history of the westernised university, to diagnose its embattled present, and to imagine its future.
In recent months, academics, non-academic staff, students and their allies across the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, Albania, Finland, Colombia, Mexico and elsewhere, have staged protests against neoliberal reform of universities. Wendy Brown argues that the evolution of neoliberalism from a set of economic policies into mode of reason imperils not just liberal institutions but democracy itself. Education across the board is jeopardised by the corporate university model. The liberal arts face multidirectional threats, of extinction and irrelevance. Yet as Gayatri Spivak suggests, if the humanities is the ethical healthcare of society, what resources can we summon to reform, destroy, transform, or re-create the university? Or less innocently, as Bill Readings suggests, simply foster a space where academics (and students) can “work without alibis” in acknowledgement that radical possibilities are constrained by the societies in which universities are situated.
This special edition calls for a cross-disciplinary response, from the humanities and social sciences to all critical, creative and deviant positionalities. Diverse submissions are encouraged from policy reform to short stories. In particular, the edition reaches out to those who traditionally or purposefully find themselves outside the ivory towers: those not included and unassimilated.

Contributions will be considered around (but not limited to) these themes:
  • ·         The western / imperial history of the university
  • ·         Literary / creative representations of the university
  • ·         Epistemologies / pedagogies of possibility
  • ·         Western imperial humanism and the humanities
  • ·         The co-option of postcolonial / Black / queer studies and ‘minority’ / transnational / diasporic literatures
  • ·         Education in an age of neoliberalism / neo-colonialism
  • ·         New models for higher education, including cooperatives, free schools etc.
  • ·         The pedagogy of debt
  • ·         The ‘Student As Producer’
  • ·         Accelerationism and competition in the university
  • ·         Activism: Strike / Occupy / Transform (In / Against / Beyond)
  • ·         Resistance through radical poetics / humanisms

The special collection, edited by Lou Dear (University of Glasgow, and Martin Eve (Birkbeck, University of London,, is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (ISSN 2056-6700). The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.
Submissions should be made online at: in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as [“The Abolition of the University,” SPECIAL COLLECTION]. Innovative submissions that do not clearly fit the submission guidelines are welcome and we encourage authors to contact the editors to discuss this. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received.


‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:
Posted here by Glenn Rikowski
Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: 
Ruth Rikowski @ Academia:

Discussion on the Education White Paper for England and Extensions of the Commodification Process on Libraries and Schools

Ruth Rikowski


This, rather long title, pertains to the only paper / article written by us (Ruth and Glenn Rikowski) jointly. It appeared in the winter 2005/06 edition of Information for Social Change, Issue 22. We were both mightily concerned with processes and policies relating to the commodification of public services at the time, with Ruth focusing on libraries and Glenn on schools in England.

Furthermore, at the time, both of us were interested in the international dimension to the commodification of public services. Specifically, we were concerned with the likely impact of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). This joint interest brought us together in a practical political sense too, when we became members of Attac London in 2000 and along with others organised a conference on the commodification of state services.

Of course, these topics have gained renewed importance with the current development of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Maybe the halting of significant advances in the WTO’s GATS process since Seattle 1999 in some way precipitated this development.

It is a shame that we have not written more together, and this is something that we aim to rectify in the future.

Meanwhile, this ‘Discussion’ piece can now be found at Academia:

For Ruth, it is at:

Glenn Rikowski’s papers and articles at Academia can be viewed at:

Ruth Rikowski’s papers and articles at Academia can be viewed at:

Ruth and Glenn Rikowski

September 2015