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ERIC Number: EJ769243
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-1071-4413
Canadian University, Inc., and the Role of Canadian Criticism
Milz, Sabine
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v27 n2 p127-139 Apr 2005
In this article, the author seeks to address the present function of Canadian criticism by undertaking a meditation on the contemporary Canadian university and stating his own position as a critic of Canadian literature in this institutional framework. The author asks: What are the connections between neoliberalism and cultural nationalism in Canadian political and academic discourse?; and What does it mean to teach and study a "national literature" in a university environment that sees education and scholarship primarily as economic commodities and commodifiers? The author contends that it does not suffice today to reclaim the university as a public sphere of responsible leadership. It is insufficient to argue, as Heather MacIvor (1997) does in "Castles on the Cortex," that as academic intellectuals "we have deliberately . . .abandoned our responsibility to lead and shape public debate. We speak in tongues, deliberately making ourselves incomprehensible to anyone without a Ph.D.---or, indeed, to anyone with a Ph.D. from another discipline. We have squandered our social mission" Not only is MacIvor's assumption that the gulf between the Canadian university and society once was much narrower doubtful and nostalgic-sounding, it also falls short of recognizing that people need to scrutinize the very notion of the modern academic subject's "social mission" in a state structure of elite-representative democracy. People need to radically reconfigure this very understanding of elite-representative social agency and leadership as an issue of equal access to and participation in particular sites of power. The author argues that the key task of contemporary Canadian critics is not to create a greater public presence for human sciences researchers and scholars, but to recover a sense of "the public" from decades of commercialization, privatization, and de-democratization. This paper suggests that a fundamental level of contemporary political struggle is the struggle over thelegitimacy of concepts such as "liberal education," "the public," and "the democratic nation-state." Critical theory can and does function as an important tool in this struggle, as it does in the struggle over the role of the scholar vis-a-vis broader public issues that arise under the current logics and structures of global power. (Contains 11 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Equal Access