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Global Universities, Global Challenges: Perspectives from the Humanities

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A series exploring how universities can better conduct their global activities and be positive agents of change

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What does it mean to be a global university at the present time, generating world-class research and educating global citizens? This lecture and discussion series presents research-led viewpoints from the humanities to reflect on how universities can better conduct their global activities and be agents of positive change.

The climate emergency, Covid-19 and Brexit are challenging existing models of academic partnership, mobility, financing and community. Adaptive ways of working are being sought, coopting the digital and the virtual, whilst purposefully articulating the value of face-to-face exchange and the physical experience of relocation. Effective new responses are required to the rise of authoritarian nationalism, the weakening of transnational organisations, shifting patterns of migration, and growing inequality. Simultaneously the Black Lives Matters movement is prompting radical change within academe: this requires honest appraisal of the colonial legacies that underpin globalisation agendas, and greater awareness of how, as scholars and students, we engage with the world and each other.

Times of uncertainty bring the opportunity to reset and rethink agendas. Seeking ways forward, the series explores intersections between humanities research, pedagogy, community-building, strategy, partnership and engagement.

Global University Lectures 

What does it mean to be a global university? This lecture and discussion series presents research-led viewpoints from the humanities to reflect on how universities can better conduct their global activities and be agents of positive change.

  1. Tuesday November 17th (6:30pm) – Clare Corbould (Deakin University) ‘Slavery and Public History inside and outside Australian Universities’.
  2. Tuesday December 1st (4:30pm) – Joao Florencio, ‘COVID-19: Pandemics, Care and Communities’.

Register for lectures by selecting the appropriate date(s) and following the Zoom links below on the day:

Topic: Slavery and Public History inside and outside Australian Universities by Clare Corbould

Time: Nov 17, 2020 06:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 999 2805 4662

Password: 078381

About: In this talk, Clare draws on histories of people’s courageous efforts to change how we think about the past. Specifically, she examines successes and failures from the long struggle to introduce Black studies in United States universities. Clare considers how those lessons might inform debates right now about public history—at least insofar as it comprises commemoration and the naming of institutions and organisations (e.g., the former Colston Hall). In discussing present-day struggles, she will concentrate on examples from the United States. Concluding with debates in Australia about the history and legacy of forced labour, including the life of Alfred Deakin, for whom the university where Clare works is named.

Clare Corbould (pictured below) is Associate Professor of history at Deakin University, Melbourne. She is author of Becoming African Americans: Black Public Life in Harlem, 1919-1939 (Harvard University Press, 2009) and co-editor of Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History, and Nation-Making from Independence to the Civil War (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013). Recent publications examine the Australian legacies of slavery.

Topic: COVID-19: Pandemics, Care and Communities by Joao Florencio, Sascia Bailer, Edna Bonhomme and The Care Collective

Time: Dec 1, 2020 04:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 951 0585 6802

Password: 790853

About: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has posed severe challenges to economies and health systems around the world, leading universities, funding bodies, and pharmaceutical companies to engage in what could arguably be described as the largest and most concerted wave of international research activity in living memory. Yet, amidst the understandable focus on the related biomedical research, the Humanities have are also seeing an exponential increase in COVID-19-related research, from projects investigating the rhetoric of public health responses to projects that focus on the cultural and social dimensions and repercussions of pandemics past and present. Rather than being a mere supplement to scientific research, Humanities work on historical and present-day pandemics plays a fundamental role in foregrounding the cultural and historical dimensions of global health events and of our governments’ and health authorities' responses to them, whether we’re talking about the so-called “Spanish Flu” of the early 20th-century; the ongoing HIV and AIDS crisis, lived very differently by different communities and across different parts of the world; the various outbreaks of Malaria, restricted as they are to tropical and subtropical regions of the so-called “Global South”; or the new COVID-19 pandemic and its associated deployment of age-old rhetorics of national immunisation against foreign invasion, or the ways in which it has once again brought to the fore the material reality of a social and economic model build on exploitation, colonialism, inequality, political distrust, and planetary resource extraction. In this roundtable event, Dr João Florêncio (University of Exeter) will be joined by The Care Collective (Professor Andreas Chatzidakis, Dr Jamie Hakim, Professor Jo Littler, Professor Catherine Rottenberg and Professor Lynne Segal, UK), and Dr edna bonhomme (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin) to, through an intersectional lens, look at the differential impact of COVID-19 on different communities around the world and to discuss the ethics of care that ought to sustain the ways in which we relate to one another throughout and beyond the pandemic.

João Florêncio is Senior Lecturer in History of Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter.

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