📍Coming soon: Building the Post-Pandemic University

I’m excited this project I’ve been working on with Hannah Moscovitz, Michele Martini and Susan Robertson will be released soon. It’s the main outcome of the Post-Pandemic University project which we initiated in June 2020 and ran until late 2022. This is how we describe the project in the introduction:

This book is the result of colleagues coming together to engage with the questions we have posed above. While our vision with this volume is geared towards the future, and how the university might be re-imagined, we are also keenly aware that such an exercise requires an understanding of the defining issues percolating presently within universities. Put differently, between ‘imagining’ the features and contours of a post-pandemic university and generating ideas for its ‘materialisation’, is a much-needed discussion on the contentious politics (Tilly and Tarrow 2006) which mediate between them.

It’s a substantial volume with 15 chapters as well as a foreword from Michael Peters and an introduction and conclusion from the editorial team. In it we argue that keeping our memory of this crisis alive is going to be crucial to the possibility of a new settlement in higher education:

Rather than a state of deliberate amnesia, can the memory of the unfolding trauma of Covid-19 bring into constant view the various ways in which small and large acts of kindness, caring and creative solution-making which characterised the pandemic university, become a defining feature of the post-pandemic university? This means downsizing the neoliberal university of its hyper-individualism, competitivism and entrepreneurialism in favour of a different set of values and moral compass as a way of being in the world.

We’ll be organising an online event for the launch. Watch this space! We’ve had some extremely generous endorsements of the book:

‘Building the Post-Pandemic University is one of those rare scholarly achievements consolidated at a time of considerable transformation both in global political cultures and in the way we comprehend “crises” in and through Higher Education (HE). How are universities meant to re-imagine and respond to multiple political crises, both manufactured and real, and most particularly after a global pandemic? This collection, edited by a very fine set of transdisciplinary scholars seeking to comprehend HE, crises and transformation, represents a one of a kind account of the university seeking to rebuild itself in the face of a global pandemic. Its many contributions sound out the complexity of such an unexpected task and elicit creative scholarly ways to imagine such a thing called the post-pandemic university. It is timely, absorbing and provides a genuine contribution to Sociology, the Humanities, the Arts and to all those interested in how to comprehend the very notion of a university in a post-pandemic world. This book will not disappoint.’
– Jo-Anne Dillabough, University of Cambridge, UK

‘This book is as important as it is timely. For higher education sectors to move forwards – and take their workforces along with them – the contours and legacies of the pandemic need to be much better understood. The contributors to this sensitively curated volume bring insight and evidence about what really happened to higher learning during Covid. The collection is more than the sum of its chapters; it goes beyond critique to offer a shared blueprint for what might come next. The neoliberal university embraces individualism and entrepreneurialism in the name of competition; this collection prompts us to advocate for a new settlement based on fairer and more humane values.’
– Steven Jones, University of Manchester, UK

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