homo_academicus_nettimiensis on Fri, 11 Mar 2005 05:46:13 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> fundigest [rosler, hopkins]

Re: <nettime> de/fund/ed digest
     martha rosler <navva@earthlink.net>
     John Hopkins <jhopkins@uiah.fi>

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Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2005 00:41:35 -0500
From: martha rosler <navva@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> de/fund/ed digest

  Coco and I are in complete accord. Even in my backwater U, there are 
occasional stirrings of the profit motive in our department, but the 
art school dean has apparently turned his sights on creating a 
stand-alone documentary "film" unit to serve the interests of the NJ 
pharmaceutical industry, which presumably will serve as its chief 
funders, so the pressure is off our fiscally useless selves.

>I have colleagues who have been hired and
>who passed professional reviews BECAUSE they brought
funds into the department through private donors.

yes, we've got that as well. And on the strength of that, they have 
also sucked institutional funding away from other disciplines within 
the department. And, Coco, I will pause to express shock that this 
sort of crap happens at YOUR institution, one of the nation's premier 
(private) ivies.

Andwe can observe that not only digital media departments--which 
after all can be said to serve a demand, just as graphics divisions 
do, on the part of both students and parents for marketable 
skills--but also the rash of digital media exhibitions, prizes and 
hoopla in major museums are traceable to the late, lamented tech 
boom, as you know. (And as we have agreed, graduate art departments 
ideally now are simply routes to immediate market presence and thus 
have become academies in which the search for "knowledge" is 
denigrated and even the scientized language of experimental modernism 
is forsworn in favor of business logic or more appropriately, 
silence.) (MAs in many disciplines have long functioned as cash cows, 
the terminal degree for those not quite  PhD-worthy. Maybe this has 
received some recent ramping up.)
  The selling of the university has been detailed in many books, 
especially in relation to the politicization of research, but many 
also track its relation to industrial demands. Radical historians and 
sociologists produced many critiques of this trend starting in the 
60s. David Noble has been a longtime chronicler and critic of the 
commercialization of universities, and the relationship to 
technological imperatives. His_ America by Design_ took on the 
shaping role  of the demands of capital on engineering and science 
faculties, and thus on entire universities. Some relatively recent 
books are _How Harvard Rules_ and _Universities and Empire, and _ 
Sigmund Diamond's _Compromised Campus_. Speaking of Columbia, the 68 
strikers' pamphlet was called _Who Rules Columbia?_ Many commentators 
have pointed out that medical faculties are beyond being compromised 
by pharma funding.
Even Chinese universities are now seeking corporate support.

But I don't want to shift the ground of argument here.

How could someone simply teaching German get ANY kind of donation?
That has still not been answered.

Aileen, the "point" of a university education increasingly  is 
economic.  Long gone is the idea of  liberal education, promulgated 
at mid-century by the University of Chicago and, famously, Clark Kerr 
and his doctrine of the multiversity (the technocratic nature of 
which led to Berkeley's Free Speech Movement in maybe 1964, which in 
great part led to the birth of the entire student movement in the US 
and perhaps Europe, at least as a proximate cause). Student "unrest," 
and the general "ungovernability" of the Western democracies (Samuel 
P. Huntington) led to the determination by the start of the 1970s to 
convert the telos of higher education from "cultivation" of the self 
and the production of the "well-rounded individual" (read: informed 
citizen) to job training tout court.
Thus, the answer to "why bother" is, because you want to retain your 
foothold in the ownership society. You might as well ask, why bother 
to go to school at all--and maybe in the near future, we won't.

>If university teachers are under pressure to devote more attention to
>fundraising than to teaching, as I have heard from several people now, and

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Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2005 09:11:01 +0100
From: John Hopkins <jhopkins@uiah.fi>
Subject: Re: <nettime> de/fund/ed digest [rosler, hopkins]

Hallo Martha --

>wait, this is not really an answer.
>i really would like to know HOW someone teaching in the humanities is
>expected to find money to support their research.

maybe it IS impossible, but ...

>   It makes no sense because there is nothing to motivate funders.

... that's the point...

>the above is in reference  to donations to a general fund, not monies
>gone after by individual faculty members such as happens in the
>Unlike you, i seem to think it makes NO sense because it cannot
>work--who would fund language teaching (German, not chinese)? In the
>60s the DOD funded language RESEARCH because of its interest in AI
>and related technical developments, but even they did not fund
>language teaching. The army teaches in its own schools, such as the
>monterey linguistic institute or whatever it is called these days.
>   So please enlighten me if I am wrong.
>I teach, by the way,as a full-time nonadjunct.

Making sense shouldn't be something to look for in egocentric 
power-mongering neo-cons caught up in the maelstrom of new globalism 
and old militarism...

It seems to me that it is exactly the policy an increasingly 
conservative market-focused social milieu is happy to implement -- 
choking off all possible pathways or interstitial spaces for 
alternate (unpleasant) voices.

Of course there is a serious long-term social downside (like the 
downside on basic R&D in science of the US Homeland Security 
implementation -- scaring off huge percentages of foreign graduate 
students in the last couple years).  But it seems that Otherness is 
not something that the majority wants to deal with unless the Other 
is a seller, and the Self is a user.  (this downside can be read as a 
positive thing for the world in that the hegemony of US 
technology/military will start to slip much faster...)

And yes, of course it won't 'work', but in the short term, which 
seems to be the present time scale of bureaucrats, administrators, 
and politicians, it at least functions to fullfil the policies of 
appeasement (primarily, reducing taxpayer support of 'liberal' higher 
education).  And, as well, again, it puts some annoying critical 
voices out of the picture.

Actually people working in engineering and hard science are also very 
familiar with the cyclic 'popularity' of many disciplines. 
Aerospace, petroleum, mining, materials, and many other quite defined 
'careers' were subject to the whims of global markets and national 
(defense) policies.  These 'business cycles' are merely expressions 
of the Military-Industrial machines' changing need for human 
resources and the physical dislocation of the companies/governments 
who happen to be involved in production.

Art (and art education) was never 'popular' in the US, it may never 
be, in the 'classic' sense.  It is simply not necessary in the 
apocalyptic Military-Industrial complex's vision of the world.

Get over the surprise (I''m surprised that you are surprised!), 
establishing an alternate to all this requires undivided attention 
and focus away from the policy noize.  keep engaging the Other in 
direct dialogue...


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