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Paulina Mihailova

The article investigates how university lecturers taking part in the compulsory teacher training at Stockholm University (SU) conceive of the effects of standardised and formalised training on their teaching. The study explores the emotions and responses evoked among academics when everyone is required to embrace the same pedagogic philosophy of constructive alignment (Biggs 2003), adopt the language of learning outcomes and assign the same standards to diverse academic practices. The article attempts to shed light on different conceptions of the quality of teaching and learning in higher education and the interplay between the lecturers' values of academic freedom, collegiality and disciplinary expertise and the university leadership's values of efficiency, accountability and measurability of performance. The article considers how these conceptions coexist and are negotiated within the university as an organisation.

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Jeroen Huisman and Alan Scott

Joyce E. Canaan and Wesley Shumar (2008) Structure and Agency in the Neoliberal University

Review by Jeroen Huisman

Roger Brown with Helen Carasso (2013) Everything for Sale? The Marketization of UK Higher Education

Review by Alan Scott

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

Welcome to this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences.

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Patricia G. Boyer, Lorna Holtman, Carole H. Murphy, and Beverley Thaver

The downturn of the global economy requires universities worldwide to do more with fewer resources. These conditions have presented an opportunity for two universities, the University of the Western Cape and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, to collaborate on a research course offered to postgraduate students. The purpose of this article is to outline the overall administration, management and structure of an innovative research programme between two countries. The aim is also to share the experiences and challenges of this research partnership, to explain how the parties involved navigated policies, to demonstrate what expertise the two educational institutions gained from the collaboration and to recount the benefits received by students and faculty from working internationally.

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Kevin Carrico

How can we as educators address complex and controversial topics in the social sciences without encouraging simplistic responses and self-reproducing binary oppositions? Drawing upon an ethnographic analysis of a first-year writing seminar on the history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, this article proposes novel approaches to overcome instinctive reactions to contentious topics. Arguing that the experience of controversy produces self-reinforcing binary oppositions that become autopoetically abstracted from the actual topic of discussion, I build upon specific seminar experiences to propose two novel and practical concepts for the pedagogy of controversy: (1) deidentification, which refers to a process of disengagement from the binaries and thus identities that structure and reproduce controversy, and (2) humanisation, which refers to a process of moving beyond abstractions to reidentify with the fundamentally human experience of contentious historical moments. The pedagogy of controversy, I argue, must teach against our conventional identificatory responses to controversy to promote a more nuanced understanding of inherently complex issues.

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Laura Spielvogel and Christian Spielvogel

In this report, we introduce our digital e-textbook web platform with an integrated role-playing game, which has been created for 'introduction to anthropology' courses. We believe that textbooks have the potential to do more to motivate students' pursuit of learning if their material (topically organised chapters supported by leading theories, concepts and ideas in a discipline) is tied to an engaging role-playing narrative whereby students can access, analyse, critique and apply information as characters in a simulation. Thus, we have created a two-sided platform that allows students to flip between a macro context and a role-playing simulation. The macro context explores the challenges and rewards of fieldwork, the politics surrounding ethnographic representation and the contested theories of culture. These issues are typically covered in a print-based anthropology textbook but here they have additional digital features. These topics are then applied in a role-playing simulation, Marriage of Cultures, that allows each student anonymously to play a character in a three to four week, open-ended narrative structured around the imaginary wedding of a Japanese bride and her Italian-American groom.

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Stephen M. Lyon, Yasar Abu Ghosh, Pavel Himl, Tereza Stöckelová, Lucie Storchová, Robert Gibb, Jakob Krause-Jensen, and Veerendra P. Lele

The choice of interdisciplinarities

Stephen M. Lyon

Multidisciplinarity as a necessity and challenge: the Department of General Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague (FHS UK)

Yasar Abu Ghosh, Pavel Himl, Tereza Stöckelová and Lucie Storchová

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Robert Gibb

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Jakob Krause-Jensen

Response to Sluis and Edwards, 'Rethinking combined departments'

Veerendra P. Lele

Response from the authors, Ageeth Sluis and Elise Edwards

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Molly Scott Cato

Whilst the importance of mainstreaming sustainability in higher education curricula is now widely acknowledged, the challenge for educators at university level is to develop and maintain authority and confidence in an area dominated by limited knowledge and uncertainty. This article suggests that the most empowering and authentic response is to adopt an approach of shared learning, but with the pedagogue demonstrating expertise and inspiration. I suggest that this is an approach to learning and teaching more familiar in areas of craft learning, characterised by apprenticeship and learning-by-doing. The article relies heavily on the work of Richard Sennett in providing a sociological account of craft learning, which is then applied to the field of sustainability. I explore how his three modes of instruction – 'sympathetic illustration', 'narrative' and 'metaphor' – are being used in the field of sustainability education, and draw parallels from the craft of basket weaving in particular, to show how these approaches might be developed. I conclude by suggesting that sustainability education is best undertaken within a community and in place, rather than abstractly and in the classroom.

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Cris Shore and Miri Davidson

As an early pioneer of market-led institutional reforms and New Public Management policies, New Zealand arguably has one of the most 'neoliberalised' tertiary education sectors in the world. This article reports on a recent academic dispute concerning the attempt by management to introduce a new category of casualised academic employee within one of the country's largest research universities. It is based on a fieldwork study, including document analysis, interviews and the participation of both authors in union and activist activities arising from the dispute. Whilst some academics may collude in the new regimes of governance that these reforms have created, we suggest that 'collusion' and 'resistance' are inadequate terms for explaining how academic behaviour and subjectivities are being reshaped in the modern neoliberal university. We argue for a more theoretically nuanced and situational account that acknowledges the wider legal and systemic constraints that these reforms have created. To do this, we problematise the concept of collusion and reframe it according to three different categories: 'conscious complicity', 'unwitting complicity' and 'coercive complicity'. We ask, what happens when one must 'collude' in order to resist, or when certain forms of opposition are rendered impossible by the terms of one's employment contract? We conclude by reflecting on ways in which academics understand and engage with the policies of university managers in contexts where changes to the framework governing employment relations have rendered conventional forms of resistance increasingly problematic, if not illegal.

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Linda Hose and E.J. Ford

Based on personal experiences garnered through years of adjunct instruction, the authors explore the challenges associated with working in academia without the guarantees of a long-term contract or tenure. Further, adjuncts are desperate to accept any position that is remunerative and this willingness undermines contract negotiation leverage of every member of the academic teaching community.