Monday, 22 June 2009

AHA Presentation

Next week I am giving a paper entitled "Knowledge and intelligence: why ASIO thought university knowledge would kill democracy,1968-1973"

Here is a link to the draft written paper.

This is a link to my powerpoint presentation.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Gramsci on the (popular) university

"The directors of the Popular University know that the institution they run has to cater for a specific category of people who have not been able to follow regular studies at school. And that it all. They are not bothered about how these people might be drawn most effectively to the world of knowledge ... They do not consider that the state universities are a natural point of arrival of a whole activity of previous work; they do not consider that when a student arrives at university he [sic...and sic for all the ones hereafter] has passed through the experience of high school and this has disciplined his spirit of research...he has been through a process of becoming, he has been made alert gradually and gently, falling into error and pulling himself up, taking wrong turns and getting back on course. These directors do not understand that bits of knowledge, plucked out from all this previous activity of individual research, are nothing other than dogmas, absolute truths. Thy do not understand that the Popular University, as they run it, is reduced to a form of theological teaching ... where knowledge is presented as something definitive, self-evident and unquestionable.

Not even the universities are are like this. There is now a common conviction that a truth os fecund only when one has made an effort to master it, that it does not exist in and for itself but has been a conquest of the spirit, and that each individual must reproduce in himself that state of anxiety which the scholar passed through before arriving at it.


It [the history of their subject] forms the scholar, it gives his mind that elasticity or methodological doubt which makes an amateur into a serious person, which purifies curiosity (in the popular sense of the word) and turns it into healthy and fecund stimulus towards ever increasing and more perfect knowledge"

Antonio Gramsci, Avanti 29 Dec 1916, in Gramsci Reader pp. 65-66

Noam Chomsky on universities

"The basic ideological institutions are the university-based academic professions and the mass media" p. 29

"Under capitalist democracy the situation is considerably more complex. The press and the intellectuals are held to be fiercely independent, hypercritical, antagonistic to the "establishment" in an adversary relation to the state ... Reality is a little different. True there is criticism, but a careful look will show that it remains within narrow bounds. Basic principles of the state propaganda system, the propaganda apparatus does not merely stake out a position to which all must conform - or which they may privately oppose. Rather, it seeks to determine and limit the entire spectrum of thought". p.31

"Those who may be concerned about unemployment for intellectuals need to worry too much, I believe. Under circumstances such as these, there should be considerable need and ample opportunity for the secular priesthood."p.37

Noam Chomsky, Intellectuals and the State, 1978

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Weber on universities

"The result of such a castration of the freedom and disinterestedness of university education, which prevents the development of persons of genuine character, cannot be compensated by the finest institutes, the largest lecture halls, or by ever so many dissertations, prize-winning works and examination successes"

Max Weber, Academic Freedom of the Universities, 1909

It somehow reminds me of this:

"There's plenty of money out there. They print more and more every day. ... Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?" (Grandpa George, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)