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Speaker: Professor Ron Barnett (University of London) - Title: Understanding the University

In this seminar, I want to explore the matter as to what it is to understand the university.

This is an important matter since, unless we have a sound and full sense as to what it is to understand the university, the university will fall short of realising its potential. Prompted particularly by the Critical Realism of Roy Bhaskar and the Hegelian-inspired thinking of Slovoj Zizek, I shall try to sketch an argument along the following lines. I want to break with any sense that the university is an institution that, as it were, lies before us, open to straightforward empirical inquiry. I even want to break with simply seeing the university as institution and the university as idea polarised (against each other). More positively, I shall argue that we should understand the university as situated on four planes, both going down into its deep structures but also rising onto planes both of its imaginary possibilities and (thence) to a growing penumbra of universals. Being a university and understanding the university, is not thereby a relativist or postmodern free-for-all.

Event details

Professor_Ron_Barnett.pdfProfessor Ron Barnett's Biography and Abstract (201K)
Professor_Ron_Barnett.pdfProfessor Ron Barnett's PowerPoint presentation (335K)


Baring Court 114