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Catherine Prendergast

This article reports on the multi-year collaboration between the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) at the University of Illinois and the University's Rhetoric Program, a required first-year writing course. I argue that this collaboration was successful in large part because the goals of writing programmes in American higher education settings – teaching the process of research, inviting students to see themselves as producers of knowledge and fostering collaboration between peers – are highly consonant with principles of EUI. Indeed, my own history with EUI reflects the parallel commitment of Writing Studies and the methods and goals of EUI. I suggest that EUI can serve as a powerful model for universities if they seek to place undergraduate student research writing at the core of their mission.

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Susanne Bregnbaek

This article is based on anthropological fieldwork undertaken at two elite universities in Beijing. It addresses the paradoxical situation of the many instances of suicide among Chinese elite university students in Beijing, which constitute a public secret. The pressure of education weighs heavily on the shoulders of China's only child in each family, known as the generation of little emperors and little empresses. Since the 1980s, the suzhi jiaoyu reforms (education for quality) have involved various attempts to reduce the pressure of education. However, simultaneously the aim is to increase the competitiveness of individuals. Drawing on existential and phenomenological thought, I suggest that the discourse seems to objectify and quantify a concern for well-being, rather than recognising its intersubjective character. Finally, I argue that the suicides are controversial since they are seen as a form of social criticism.

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Decolonizing Cambridge University

A Participant Observer’s View

Keith Hart

When I read about the petition to ‘decolonize’ Cambridge University’s English literature syllabus, my first question was, ‘Why are they using the term for independence from empire preferred by the departing colonial powers?’ Then, ‘Why is a

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The university and the common

Rearticulating the third mission from the bottom up

Hans Schildermans

Today, the relation between university and society is again topic of debate due to increased attention to the ‘third mission’ of universities ( Arbo and Benneworth 2007 ; Laredo 2007 ; Schuetze 2012 ; Zomer and Benneworth 2011 ). In their

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Community–University Health Research Partnerships

Challenges and Concrete, Plain Language Strategies for Community Engagement in Research

Janet Page-Reeves and Lidia Regino

has also come from the people who participate in research studies who want to be involved as more than just research ‘subjects’. Community organisations, community members, and patients see potential benefits to community–university health research

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UK University Initiatives Supporting Forced Migrants

Acts of Resistance or the Reproduction of Structural Inequalities?

Rebecca Murray

This article reports on an in-depth mapping of a decade (2008–2018) of initiatives led by UK universities to create pathways for forced migrants to acquire accredited higher education (HE) qualifications. 1 This research builds on scholarship

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The Puzzle of The University on Air

A Story of Media and Academia in Israel, 1977–2013

Hagai Boas and Ayelet Baram-Tsabari

The Israeli military radio station Galei Zahal has often been viewed as an Israeli oddity ( Almog 1993 ; Naor 2014 ; Soffer 2015 ). This station’s academic program, The University on Air ( Ha-Universita Ha-Meshuderet ), appears even more

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Sarah Amsler

questions underpinned struggles to democratise the modern university throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and have again assumed strategic importance for reformers in the twenty-first. As Anglo-American models of the liberal and public

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Susan Wright and Davydd J. Greenwood

Universities have been subject to widespread change in recent decades. Reforms have ranged from the World Bank aiming to create ‘World Class Universities’ ( Salmi 2009 ) to ‘Entrepreneurial universities’ (in Australia and New Zealand

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Spatialising university reform

Between a centre and a periphery in contemporary Finland

Sonja Trifuljesko

This article investigates contemporary attempts to reform the institution of the university according to neoliberal ideological influences and oppositions to them. It employs Doreen Massey’s concept of space to focus on relations and separations made in the process. My ethnography of the University of Helsinki’s 375th anniversary celebration, which turned into a public spectacle of various visions of higher education, constitutes the main empirical material. Finland’s ambivalent position in the world renders the spatial work of forging connections and disconnections particularly conspicuous. It enables specific neoliberal aspirations (such as to be among ‘the world’s best universities’ amidst global competition) to become very strong but also allows additional trajectories, like the one about higher education as public goods, to present themselves as legitimate alternatives. The centre-periphery relations are therefore critical sites for analysing the contemporary university transformation, since they appear to be key drivers of the reform but also the primary source of resistance to it.